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Kitchen Equipment - ‘Done in One’ rules the roost

Monday, December 11, 2017, 17:37 Hrs  [IST]

With technology marking its presence across various verticals, in terms of commercial kitchen space, it has particularly played a vital role with the advent of multi-tasking and intelligent appliances to meet its commodious needs. These appliances have benefited the kitchens in many aspects like - saving costs, time, space and much more. Akshay Nayak speaks to the industry experts to understand their views on how these multi-tasking appliances are transforming the commercial kitchen space.

Commercial Kitchens, a network of various elements like - kitchen appliances, cooking section, variable design, refrigeration section, etc., is a place which is now focused upon by the kitchen designers and kitchen equipment vendors with details, for the ultimate reason of – convenience of chefs and hassle-free operations of their time constricted daily schedule. A good commercial kitchen is designed chef-specific to incorporate their easy movement across the workstations, strategic placement of heating and cooling appliances, ventilation, reliable appliances, etc. Maintaining this directly reflects in

the food presented before the customer on various aspects like the quantity, quality, presentation, texture, freshness, etc.

In the recent years, multi-tasking and intelligent kitchen equipment like the combi-ovens are redefining the commercial kitchen space. Their use has resulted in integrated benefits both to the consumers and chefs for their vivid features - less time consumption, quick results, multiple operations at one time, and a convenient process than the conventional methods.

Effect of Multi-tasking Kitchen Appliances
With the time-bound routine of chefs, preparing food is a major task, but along with that various other tasks are to be taken care of which needs a lot of time and resource. Due to the advent of technology, commercial kitchen vendors quickly picked up the potential of technology and its application in kitchen equipment to produce multi-tasking kitchen appliances thereby reducing excessive stress on manual labour and saving time and space simultaneously.

Commenting on how multi-tasking machines are redefining the professional kitchens, Mohua Das, Business Development Manager South Asia, MKN says, “Multifunctional appliances as the MKN Combi steamers FlexiCombi and SpaceCombi or the innovative FlexiChef optimise kitchen processes with its customer benefits, particularly with regard to time and cost management. Space is often a big issue in professional kitchens and multifunctional equipment can be a very good solution.”

Sharing the benefits of the new-age kitchen appliances in the commercial kitchen space, Amithaabh Upadhyay, Vice President-Sales & Marketing, Carysil Group, says, “Intelligent machines are the need of the hour in the commercial kitchens. They are required for their multitasking aspects which lead to less manpower. It also cuts down the cost of buying additional equipment. These machines are compact hence it is helpful for easy movement in the constricted space that is provided in hotel kitchens. These intelligent machines have changed the way the commercial kitchens used to look and feel like. They have now become live kitchens, and the ease of their use and functionality has attracted serious investments.”

Speaking on the effect of the novel multitasking kitchen equipment, Sanjay Jain, Director, Elanpro, a company dealing in commercial refrigeration space, says, “I feel kitchen is the new place for gadget innovation. Intelligent technology has been redefining the professional kitchen space for a long time. However, multitasking as a concept is revolutionising machines now. ‘Done in One’ equipment is a trend because it utilises space optimally. It elevates the feel of the kitchen making it lighter. We can say that with the advent of these machines we are truly evolving from regular commercial kitchens to progressive, efficient and productive smart kitchen.”

Efficiency of Multi-TaTasking kitchen appliances

Multi-functional appliances are beneficial since they are convenient to handle, have higher efficiency, cheaper than investing on a number of machines and appliances for a different purpose, and occupy less space. Most of the food service outlets are now investing in these appliances to reduce expense and time consumption in the kitchens.

“The benefits of these equipment are indisputable; they can perform various cooking processes like roasting, poaching, grilling & baking with consistency in the result of every product delivered. These intelligent equipment have huge benefits because of their sheer versatility, they can help caterers cope with the need for multi-tasking, hence reducing the cost of hiring more human resource, the delivery of the final product or finished goods is also on time. There’s a huge saving on resources like water & electricity due to these machines. The Combi-Ovens/Steamers are one of the best examples of these intelligent & multitasking machines,” says Upadhyay.

Giving a wider and deeper perspective about the multi-functional appliances’ benefits offered by MKN, Das explains, “We offer SpaceClean- an automatic cleaning system for horizontal cooking technology thereby eliminating the time spent on manual cleaning of the pan, allowing the user to use their time to focus on other priorities, such as creating menus. We also offer the autoChef where this automatic operating programme allows chefs to cook professionally using just a few touches. Excellent cooking results can be reproduced constantly in 10 different cooking categories.”

Throwing light on the upcoming innovations in the commercial kitchen appliances space, Jain says that now, with most of the things being enabled and powered with Wi-Fi connecting ability these mobile-friendly appliances, these appliances can be personalised to the convenience of the Chefs for easier management of food preparation. “Globally, commercial kitchen space is seeing a growing number of innovations in the form of multi-function appliances, Wi-Fi and Internet-enabled equipment, mobile integration and all manner of tech-advancements that are helping kitchens to be more efficient and easier to manage. Such machines deliver quantity and quality as desired by the chef. These machines are an apt solution to the training and staff shortages apart from cutting down the running cost of an eatery.”

Latest innovative products
Understanding the vast commercial market in India, and the rising need of innovative and competent kitchen appliances for the commercial kitchens in most of the eateries, both international and domestic vendors have adopted aggressive Research and Development to transform the commercial kitchen space with their state-of-the-art aesthetics and exclusive features.

Explaining the many benefits presented by Carysil, Upadhyay said, “To help the caterers of the hotels and restaurants industry, we have introduced our new division of professional Kitchen equipment, and are striving to be a total solution provider. Amongst many of our multi-tasking & Intelligent machines, Carysil- Automatic Donut-making Machine, Carysil Combi-Steamer, Convection Ovens, etc. are one of their kinds. They can be operated both on Gas as well as electricity. In the donut machine, after putting the batter, an evenly cooked donut comes out automatically; one can also have different sizes of donuts. These machines save operational time & energy. Our ovens are huge savers of electricity & the resultant products are evenly cooked, be it- grilling, baking, roasting, steaming, boiling, poaching.”

Mentioning the exclusive features presented by MKN, Das says, “The MKN combi steamer, FlexiCombi Team, is a single appliance equipped with two cooking chambers. So, the user can work in an extremely flexible way with two cooking modes simultaneously. The appliance is operated using the intuitive MagicPilot touch control. Our SpaceCombi, where many professional chefs appreciate the multi-functionality and user-friendliness of a modern combi-steamer. With the space-saving SpaceCombi models, MKN offers a professional solution, which is specially geared to these conditions. The SpaceCombi is only 55 cm wide, yet still comparably equipped to larger models.”

Tapping the diverse market of cooling appliances in the Commercial kitchens, Jain talks about the unique features that Elanpro exhibits, “Right commercial refrigeration equipment is an integral part of a professional kitchen. Our commitment to provide innovative solutions for food preservation, we recently included Flexi Drawer to our product portfolio. A professional range of integrated refrigeration drawers with variable temperature option, Elanpro Flexi Drawer is a fridge and freezer model that fits underneath countertop in place of the cabinet. The product preserves the cold air providing unrivalled temperature control for the food items. A suitable product for refurbishment, these drawers do not allow condensation or dehydration of food products. A small footprint product, Flexi drawer has no visible grilles or hinges and hence it seamlessly merges with the décor and provides convenient storage solutions. The product is equipped with LED temperature display and an upgraded refrigeration system that enhances temperature control and cuts food wastage. Our new offering also uses eco-friendly hydrocarbon refrigerant, R290, which has a GWP (Global Warming Potential) of just three. It also features ‘green’ polyurethane insulation, which has an ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential) of zero.”

However, along with benefits, there are certain traits that technology brings to its varied areas of application, here too, if the appliances are not used to their appropriate potential, these hassle-free appliances can be next to the fuss-creating factor in commercial kitchens. This may happen due to lack of knowledge of the operation of these appliances, inappropriate use, loading the appliances with tasks more than its capacity signified by the manufacturer, and other unforeseen reasons like power fluctuation.

These automated machines do have their advantages, however, they are expensive and therefore should justify in terms of usage and business volumes. Says Sunil Khanna, Director of HotelConsult Orient, a consultancy company, and Director of Aster Technologies, which is into manufacturing of kitchen equipments for professional use. “Like in any other industry segment, new technology is a fact of life today. Automatic machines are expensive and therefore the volume of business should also justify that. If kitchens are using the services of a good chef, it requires less automation. But, where volumes are large and turn over time is less, automatic machines make sense. But, it should be remembered that a good pizza is never made on a conveyor oven. Similarly, a good kebab is made in a tandoor and not in a combi-oven. It all depends on the usage that one has.” Citing examples of the technology being used in American QSR Chains, Khanna adds, “In most of the American QSRs, cooking is de-skilled. They do not require a specialist chef but operated by a crew member. There, temperature, time, etc. are set, and you need to press a button to cook the food.”

However, the concept of connected kitchens is too far away, he says, and near to impossible to achieve, he opines. “Remote access has come into cold rooms and refrigerated equipment, fire safety, etc., that too through BMS system. But, till now I haven’t come across such systems in the kitchen equipment space which is completely connected and works from remote access. Kitchen equipment are not of such nature. Yes, there are certain equipment like combi-ovens and some other bulk cooking equipment where you can feed data through a USB and operate. But in general, remote access or control is not happening in the kitchen space. There is no need as well.”

Kitchen is the most important space and investment in a hospitality business and right design with right equipment is quite integral to make it work efficiently to deliver the right kind of experience to customers. Multi-utility machines are of course revolutionised the space and brought about change in the way commercial kitchen function. But these machines come at a cost, which needed to be justified by assessing its long term utility and return on investment.

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