CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association, answers your kitchen equipment queries
How do you like your ice, sir? Most manufacturers offer machines which can produce clear ice
What's the difference between a grill and a salamander? We want a grill, but when we search online, grills and salamanders seem the same.
A In strict description terms, a salamander is a grill where the heat radiates downwards from either gas radiants or electric bars. They're usually stand-alone cooking units situated at eye level.
To kitchen equipment manufacturers a grill is a chargrill where heat radiates upwards, usually gas-heated with either lava rock or gas jets shrouded by steel protectors to prevent fat and food debris falling into the jets.
A contact grill is a compact hinged mini-grill with heat delivered both above and below when food is clamped between the two hinged halves, while a griddle is a flat heated steel surface where the food is in direct contact with the heated surface.
We need a larger ice-maker for the hotel bar than the old model we currently have and want to get clear ice rather than foggy ice as it looks more appealing in the glass. How do we get clear ice?
A In simple terms, there are two ways an ice-maker works. First, water can be deposited into a mould, it freezes relatively slowly and as it does the ice takes on the familiar cloudy appearance.
The second method is when water is sprayed upwards into little cup-like moulds to be rapidly frozen. This achieves clear ice because impurities in the tap water drop out before they can be frozen into the cube. This type of ice cube is also harder, making it last longer in a drink before melting. Most manufacturers offer machines which can produce clear ice.
Our restaurant has recently made a switch to local sourcing of fresh produce, particularly vegetables which we get from a really good local farm. The problem is that before, the vegetables came in ready-peeled, but now we have to peel them ourselves. We've hand-peeled so far, but this is taking too much time. We will buy a potato peeler but are there any machines which will peel other vegetables apart from potatoes?
A While potato peelers are normally associated just with potatoes, they can also peel other root vegetables such as carrots. The skill is in correct loading - usually not overloading. There are also different grit wheels that can be fitted on to the bottom. A lighter gritting should be used for new potatoes rather than old. Some manufacturers of peelers also offer soft bases which will peel onions. Restaurants which specialise in mussel dishes sometimes use a rubber base wheel to clean barnacles from dredged mussels.