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Cookin’ up a storm: a buyer’s guide to professional cookers
Professional cookers are amongst the most important pieces of equipment in school canteens. With all those hungry mouths to feed at lunchtime, you need reliable, efficient cookers that are up to the job.
The professional cookers you choose will depend on a host of factors such as power type, kitchen space and budget.
In this article, we’ll give you some advice on what to consider when choosing professional cookers for your school so you can feel confident in your decision.
What to look for in professional cookers for schools
We understand that choosing professional cookers can seem daunting. So, to help you out we’ve put-together an overview of the types of professional cookers and their key features.
Types of cooker
1) Range cookers
These have long been a staple in the professional kitchen – mainly due to their versatility. Ranges feature a large internal cavity to cook a variety of food types such as meat or pastries. They also include a gas or electric hob.
Whilst there are many types available, they generally fall into these categories:
- Gas open-top: Gas hob with four or six burners
- Gas solid-top: These allow the positioning of large pots and pans across the surface and come with a single or twin bulls-eye burner
- Electric hotplate: This consists of a combination of circular and rectangular hotplates
- Induction hotplate: These are less common than the other types, but incorporate induction technology for instant heat and quicker cooking
Range cookers are awesome options for school kitchens as they offer a high degree of flexibility due to the ability to cook in the oven and on the hob simultaneously. They’re also great space-savers!
2) Convection ovens
Convection ovens come in gas or electric configurations and are usually smaller than range cookers. They use an internal fan to distribute heat which reduces cooking time by around 25% as well as meat shrinkage. They also offer more even cooking due to the consistent temperature, irrespective of the shelf the food is on. The disadvantage is that they rarely come with a gas or electric hob.
3) Combination ovens
Known as combi ovens or combi steamers, these powerful appliances cook using steam, convection or a combination of the two. They can do the work of multiple cooker types in one appliance, doing away with the need to transfer pans between appliances as well as saving energy and time!
As they cook using steam, they generally need to be hooked up to a mains water supply and have an overhead extractor fitted to remove the steam generated in the cooking process.
Other things to consider
- Power type: Professional cookers can use up a lot of power, it’s therefore essential that your kitchen has sufficient capacity to keep your cookers running effectively. Gas options include liquified petroleum gas (LPG) or mains gas, whereas electric options come with a standard 13A plug or more powerful single-phase or 3-phase connections (which are hardwired to a power supply to allow safe transfer of large amounts of power).
- Extraction: A commercial kitchen canopy is an efficient way to channel and filter smoke, smells and grease out of the kitchen – making it a more comfortable working environment.
- Plumbing and water: Steam, combination and some models of convection ovens may need a mains water connection to function. You’ll therefore need to carefully position these appliances so they can reach a water connection.
At Utility Rentals, we offer a fantastic range of professional cookers through our flexible rental agreements – with no upfront costs and a host of other benefits. These include professional installation, testing and commissioning plus a parts and labour breakdown warranty for the full rental term on most appliances. So, keep your mealtimes in the canteen running like clockwork, and invest in professional cookers today!
For more advice on professional cookers for your school, call the friendly team at Utility Rentals.