Basics of Commercial Ovens and Cooking Equipment
Go into the kitchen of an Italian restaurant that specializes in pasta dishes and then go into a sandwich shop whose specialty if hot panini sandwiches. No doubt their kitchens will have very different set ups and different cooking equipment. The Italian kitchen will have a sauté station, while the sandwich shop will have a conveyor oven. Commercial kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. They are as many unique commercial kitchens as there are restaurants.
The commercial oven is the hub of any restaurant kitchen. However, the type of commercial oven you buy will depend on your menu. Consider type of cooking will be done in the kitchen. Is there a lot of dished on the menu that require sautéing? Will you be baking your own bread and desserts? Are planning on offering gourmet pizza? Each of these menu trends uses a different type of oven or range. Just like ovens for the home, commercial ovens come in different brands, with different functions.
Commercial Ovens Includes:
• Good for even, quick cooking, ideal for dishes that need to be baked, such as lasagna or other casseroles.
• Combination Oven- Combines convection ovens with a steamer, which can cook large quantities of vegetables in a fraction of the time that boiling takes.
• Conveyor Oven- A conveyor belt moves the food through the oven, making it ideal for pizzas or hot sandwiches.
• Pizza Oven- A large oven that heats to high temperatures.
Not only can it be used for pizza, you can cook just about anything in a pizza oven, including large sides of beef or large pans of dessert.
Other commercial cooking equipment includes:
• Broiler- Cooks food with short bursts of heat. Good for melting cheese on soups and sandwiches.
• Grill- a grill can be either a flat top or char broiler.
Both are used to cook meats, poultry and burger patties.
• Fryer/Fryolator- Deep fries everything from French fries to chicken wings. Even desserts, such as cheesecake, can be deep fried.
Read more about stocking and staffing kitchen stations.
Top Brands of Commercial Oven
• Vulcan is the top of the line in commercial ranges. A gas range made by Vulcan can last forever with only minor repairs now and then.
• Hobart is another manufacturer of kitchen ovens. Their ovens are a good deal, especially if you can find one used.
• Viking ranges are increasingly found in home kitchens who want that industrial chic look. However, Viking is still a good choice for a commercial kitchen as well.
Stay Away From
• Electric Ranges- They take forever to heat up, they will drive your electric bill through the roof and they are always breaking. Stick with gas.
• Specialized Ranges- Brick oven pizza sounds delicious. However, a brick oven can cost you three, four, five times as much as a regular gas oven. You had best make sure that you are going to make your money back on all those pizzas before you plunk down that much money. Before you jump at buying any type of oven or range that is only good for a few types of food, consider whether you really need it, or if you can settle for something less expensive or a model that is more versatile.
• Heated (or refrigerated) drawers- While these kitchen drawers look like they would be very functional, especially in a busy restaurant kitchen, they are prone to breaking. They simply are not made for the wear and tear of a commercial kitchen. Reach-in warmers and coolers last longer.