COVERING EQUIPMENT BASICS
Every commercial kitchen must be able to safely store all types of foods, be able to prepare raw & cooked foods separately and cook & present foods efficiently. This guide introduces the set-up basics. Ultimately, its your food style and menu that dictate the equipment needed.
All catering equipment is modular, in that its free standing, to a point, to enable easy cleaning and changes in location. In 1982, I was part of the £5.5 million staff restaurant project for ICI’s prestigious staff and Directors restaurant & conference facility. In the first year, nearly all fridges and freezers changed location at least twice until we got the operational flow correct!
Your kitchen will need a way to store fresh produce, dry foodstuffs, and ready cooked food in a safe and hygienic manner. This will need to include chilled storage for raw fish, meat, eggs, and other fresh produce in commercial fridges or walk in cold rooms. Dry Goods Stores should be fitted with shelving units, so that different types of food can be stored on separate shelves. Racking can be bought quite reasonably priced. Avoid using fixed racking as it pays to be able to remove for scheduled cleaning.
There is much advice online about correct and safe food storage. A good practice is to use the first in first out process, ensuring food is turned over and always kept at maximum freshness & quality. Food storage records such as ‘date in and temperature control’ are required to minimise risks and hazards.
The ‘Cook-Line’ is the area where oven, frying and range cooking take place. Depending on the size of your restaurant, there may be separate stations for different line cooks, who will each handle different types of dishes, or there may just be one cooking station. This is the part of the kitchen where you’ll have ovens, fryers, ranges, char grills etc installed. Cooking pots, pans and trays — will usually be stored in this area, so it can be easily accessed when needed.
This is the area where the majority of cutting, chopping, and filleting of raw foods takes place prior to cooking. For maximum efficiency, food preparation areas are usually positioned between the storage area and the cooking area, as this allows the process to happen in one uninterrupted chain.
Keeping raw and cooked foods separate during prep is one of the most important aspects of good kitchen hygiene, so you’ll need to ensure that you’ve got a well-organised system for prepping raw meat and fish, vegetables, and cooked food in a sanitary way. Colour-coordinating your chopping boards and other preparation equipment is a clear, straightforward solution that will help to prevent accidental cross-contamination during busy shifts.
A full set of chef knives and any other preparation equipment will usually be kept in this area. Your cutting tools should be carefully chosen to suit the type of food being prepared.
The Pass or ‘Chef Pass’ is where Waiting Staff collect the finished dishes before serving them to diners. Depending on the layout of your venue, this can be accessed via a door or through a hatch in the kitchen. Chef will compose a plate of food then place onto a heated gantry to keep hot until collected by service staff.
Dish Washing and Food Waste Disposal
This section is where dishes, glasses and kitchen equipment are washed, and any waste food from customer’s plates is disposed of. Whether you use a dishwasher or industrial basin will depend on your budget and the space available in your kitchen.
It’s a good idea to position your dish-washing close to the area where your clean tableware is stored, as this will make it easier and faster to re-stock clean dishes. You’ll also need a well-organised waste disposal system in this area, including separate bins to allow you to sort waste and recycling.
Match your menu to the equipment needed.
While all professional kitchens will need the basic essentials outlined above, you should also think about whether you’ll need any additional equipment specific to your menu.
For instance, a steak kitchen will very likely require a char grill. A café may want a griddle to cook bacon and fried eggs, a kebab shop will require a vertical kebab grill, and so on. If you are unsure, ask for advice. Here at Caterquip, we have supplied to every type of kitchen operating in the UK, we have a broad depth and knowledge of every appliance we sell and can save you a huge amount of money supplying fully reconditioned second hand equipment.
Call me on 01733 286000 option 1 for an informal chat. There is no such thing as a daft question, so call us with confidence and we will be very happy to help you.