As food is increasingly important, ingredients matter more than ever
AS food has become an increasingly important part of the offer in Scotland’s pubs and bars and operators look to distance themselves from their competition, the quality of ingredients and cooking materials has arguably never been so important.
Using the right cooking oil – and changing it regularly – can make a real difference to the finished meal, say specialist firms.
When it comes to choosing an oil, quality should always be king, according to Shaune Hall, product development chef at Falcon Foodservice Equipment.
It’s essential to use good quality oils and refresh regularly.
“The old adage of you get back what you put in is especially true in frying,” he said. “It’s essential to use good quality oils and to skim, filter and refresh oil regularly to remove any debris and impurities.”
And with so many bar and restaurant customers interested in the ingredients they’re consuming, healthier oils can be worth considering.
“Chefs should stay away from purchasing oils that are saturated (coconut oil, palm oil or containing animal fats) because although they are very good for frying they are very bad for your health,” said Tina Carter, marketing manager at Brakes Catering Equipment.
“They should be looking to purchase polyunsaturated oils (corn oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil) as these are good for frying with little taste transfer and are less harmful to health.
“Both of the [aforementioned] are normally mixed oils containing quantities of each so the content label needs checking.”
Versatility is one of the key qualities of any oil used in a commercial kitchen, according to Kate Mortimer, group marketing and communications manager at supply and collection firm Olleco.
Like Carter, Mortimer advised chefs to consider rapeseed oil.
“Rapeseed oil is a clear/golden oil that is neutral in taste so it won’t overpower delicate flavours,” she said.
“It is highly versatile which means it can be used for both deep and shallow frying and as it is high in monounsaturated fat it is the healthier alternative.
“Rapeseed oil is also GM-free so there is no need to declare it as a GM ingredient.”
Oil also needs to be regularly replaced in order to ensure the flavour isn’t compromised, said Stuart Hayes, sales director at Pantheon Catering Equipment.
“Oil that needs to be replaced will start to brown,” said Hayes.
“The lifespan depends on number of uses and temperatures selected.
“It is important to be vigilant and act as soon as this occurs.”
Hayes also reminded operators to ensure they dispose of used oil via a professional oil recycling company.
This was echoed by Steve Elliott, sales director for Valentine Equipment and Cuisinequip, who said used oil should be disposed of “responsibly, to a reputable collection service; never down the drain”.