Monthly archives of “September 2014

Blast Chiller 2
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How to Choose the Right Blast Chiller

When choosing the right blast chiller for your needs, there are many pieces of information that you need to take into consideration.  Footprint, cost, chill speed, and capacity are just some of the factors to consider. As with all restaurant supplies, the first question that you have to ask yourself is whether you need to purchase one in the first place.

Blast chillers are for:

  • Restaurants that have food surpluses, like buffets
  • Restaurant which have long-cook-time items that need storage
  • Restaurants which are concerned with health issues surrounding the preparation of their food.

What are the main things that you should look for in a blast chiller?

Footprint

Space is always at a premium in restaurants, and can be the main determining factor on whether you should get any piece of equipment.  The newer blast chillers, however, are getting smaller and smaller when compared to their older counterparts. A good chiller might take up only a 3’x3’ space, a pittance when compared to the space that a walk-in freezer occupies.

Cost

The costs of a blast chiller depend on the chiller’s capacity and power.  Your costs can range anywhere from $5300 to $21,000, with machines landing at all price points in between.

Capacity

The capacity of blast chillers are measured in the number of trays that they can hold at any one time.  If you have only a few items, look for technology that allows freezing of multiple types of food to avoid over-freezing.

Chilling Speed

Blast chillers drop their temperatures at different rates.  It’s necessary to take a look at the wattage of the blast chiller before making your decision.  Will it be able to get the food cold enough at the speed you desire?

The choice you make in a blast chiller can influence the efficiency of your kitchen.  The ability to chill things quickly is an important superpower to have in your kitchen. In the next segment, we’re going to talk about the care and maintenance of your blast chiller.

Blast Chiller
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Advantages of Blast Chillers

Blast chillers are wonderful tools. They can quickly freeze your food for later far faster than a standard freezer.  Chefs all around the country use blast chillers to freeze surplus food for later. By freezing prepared food in advance, it makes for an efficient use of product and reduces food waste.

  • When you chill items, you halt the bacterial growth process so the food itself is safe in storage. Blast chillers make an economical choice for buffet chefs who have leftovers from the buffet.  They can be reheated to perfection within one or two days.
  • A blast chiller can be used as a holding area for items which are coming off a buffet at the end of the day.  This can be important if the food is hot. Putting a lot of hot food into a cold refrigerator can raise the temperature enough to endanger the other food in there. By putting excess hot food into a blast chiller first, it won’t increase the temperature of your main freezer.
  • Many restaurant facilities are already chilling their food.  They will prepare items that take a long time to cook earlier in the day to simply reheat when the customer orders it.  This reduces some of the wait time that patrons need to wait for their food.

Having a blast chiller on site can make your cooking processes more efficient, thereby saving money. In tomorrow’s article, we’re going to talk about considerations that you need to make when choosing a blast chiller.

Dim Sum
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Dim Sum vs. The World

For me, dim sum is one of those rare treats that makes me smile.  For all of those who are in love with tapas bars, dim sum restaurants have them beat.  No, seriously.  If your area is lucky enough to have a dim sum restaurant in it, go there immediately for excellent food and culture exchange.

Starting in the later part of the 19th century, dim sum tearooms gave an opportunity for friends to enjoy an amazing diversity of food.  They would gather for hours while waiters would push industrial carts stocked with plates, steamer bins, and bowls of whatever the chef decided to prepare that day.

Dim sum is similar to tapas in that you are not served a whole meal, and that you are encouraged to share those little bites with friends.  The difference lies in the choices that you’re allowed to make.  In a tapas bar, you choose what comes to your table.  In dim sum, the food has already been prepared and you choose what you’d like to eat.

The dim sum experience is akin to the Brazilian steakhouse, where people are constantly asking if you would like to taste the goods.  The difference between dim sum and the Brazilian steakhouse (other than the food, of course) is that the Brazilian steakhouses will usually charge a set price like a buffet.  Each of the dim sum plates have a price.

Dim sum has a beautiful cultural heritage, one which is recognized in many portions of the world.  Now, every time I see a food service cart, I can’t help but smile because I think of steamed dumplings, sesame balls, or some other delight I’ve had at my city’s dim sum restaurants.

Crab Picture
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Today is Crab Newburg Day

There is always something to celebrate over here at Restaurant Supply, and today is no different.  Today is Crab Newburg day, which gives you the perfect opportunity to try out your seafood cooking skills on your commercial range top.

Crab Newburg is sometimes served over rice, toast points, or patty shells.  It’s a creamy dish with onion, butter, flour, milk and sherry or Madeira.  For those seafood-loving restaurateurs, this might be a great chance to cook something different as the daily special.

  • Crab Newburg Recipe from About.com
  • Crab Newburg Recipe from Cooks.com.  This one doesn’t have the sherry in it, but looks delightful just the same.
  • Here’s another Crab Newburg Recipe.  This one is from Allrecipes.  Sour cream is added, and it has both dry sherry and grated Parmesan.

Commercial kitchens are great places to explore and expand your palate.  On those rare slow days, you might want to try out this seafood dish in the pan.  Tinkering this way can keep your creativity up after cooking the same things all the time. That passion that you have for cooking will eventually translate into profits.

We’re quite fond of the soups, sauces, stews, and stocks here.  The transformation that can take place as a sweet, buttery and creamy sauce is met with impeccably cooked goodness?  Irresistible.  That means that it’s time to please your patrons with something a little new, a little off the cuff.  Crab Newburg might just do the trick.

Our thanks go out to Cosmorama on Flickr for the Creative Commons use of the picture. Much appreciated!

Booster Heater
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Do You Need a Booster Heater?

When it comes to sanitizing in commercial restaurants, you have two options: heat the water to 180 degrees F or expose those dishes to sanitizing chemicals.  The bacteria will be killed in either instance, so it comes down to your choice.

If you choose to heat your water, you need to get a booster heater.  A booster heater takes the normal tap water that you wash your dishes with and heats it up to the 180 degree mark. It’s like a mini water heater. A few special connections and a little bit of rigging and you can ensure that you have enough hot water at a high enough temperature for sanitation.

Using sanitizing chemicals in a low-heat dishwasher will kill off the germs, but you have to make sure that you have them on hand at all times.  It’s not simply a fire-and-forget sort of thing. Plus, you have to make sure they stay potent through the shift.

Pros of using a commercial booster heater

  • No terrifyingly effective chemicals need to be used on your dishes.
  • There is no training necessary, just attach it to your dishwasher, and you’re ready.
  • The heat removes food particles and debris from your dishes the first time.
  • No need to make space to store the sanitizing chemicals.

Cons of using a commercial booster heater

  • Usually a bit more pricy than the lower temperature dishwashers.
  • Takes up more room than low-temp dishwashers.
  • It’s possible to burn yourself on the booster heater.

If you’re installing equipment for a new restaurant, sanitation is just one of the things that you’ve got to keep in mind.  All of those back-of-house things like cleaning add up to make exquisite experiences for your guests. Don’t neglect sanitation, try a commercial booster heater on your dishwasher.