CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association, answers your kitchen equipment queries
Our hotel is moving to plated cook-chill for weddings and banquets. We do a maximum of 120, so the cost of equipment has to be manageable. We have a combi-oven and a walk-in fridge, so the only thing we might need is a blast chiller, but the ones we've looked at are very expensive and we might have to leave that until next year unless we can find a cheap one.
No banqueting operation should move from hot cook-serve to cook-chill without a blast chiller. There are huge food safety risks through failure to cool food down rapidly after it has been cooked. A standard cabinet fridge cannot safely do it and neither could your walk-in coldroom. Blast chillers are very powerful items of refrigeration and the cost of purchase will soon come back through the benefits of cook-chill banqueting, which include hot food, portion control and plate presentation. Don't go cook-chill until a blast chiller has been installed.
We have a busy seafront fast-food business and "Southern" fried chicken is growing in sales. We currently use just a flavoured dusting before putting it in the fryer, but it doesn't deliver the same crunch and flavour as the fried chicken specialist take-aways. Our chicken supplier says we have the wrong sort of fryer.
The big fried chicken chains achieve the outside crunch and the inside moisture through a specialist type of fryer called a pressure fryer. Coated chicken is dropped into the cooking oil and the lid of the fryer is clamped shut. Moisture released from the chicken helps create a blanket of pressure. The pressure prevents further moisture being released from the chicken, which gives that very moist texture, and the pressure causes turbulence so that the tumbling chicken pieces cook quicker.
Can we get a non-stick griddle so eggs don't stick?
A If you mean an open-top commercial griddle of the type commonly used for production of breakfast food and burgers in professional kitchens, then you're very unlikely to find one with a Teflon-type coating. The problem is that the robust use of scrapers for flipping burgers and clearing away food debris would very soon cause scoring and the non-stick surface would be lost. Manufacturers' instructions on a new griddle usually give advice on how to reduce food sticking through "seasoning" of the surface, which is done by heating salt on the surface and then wiping away and smearing with cooking oil. Chrome-coated griddles are less prone to food sticking, but still benefit from seasoning.
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