I know it seems silly to some of you that I would even need to write such an article on commercial equipment. For those of us who have Family and Consumer Science degrees or earned our degree many years ago, we may not have been exposed to a commercial kitchen. This is my second time trying to turn a home cooking type kitchen into a commercial kitchen to teach culinary curriculum. The task usually goes something like this, “well tell us what equipment you think you will need for your program…you know come up with a list.” Panic only slightly set in as I had never been in a commercial kitchen before and the task seemed daunting.
Here are some things you may want to familiarize yourself with:
- Induction Burners
- Combi Oven
- Convection Oven
- Deep Fryer Dump Station
- Gas Frialator ( gas deep fryers give you a quicker recovery time between batches)
- Utility Distribution System
- Wooden Tables (for baking & pastry classes)
- Trenching the floors
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Don’t Fall in these Commercial Equipment Pitfalls:
1. Never learning how to use the equipment
Of course if you are scared of using commercial equipment because you don’t know how then it won’t be much use purchasing it. One way to familiarize and become comfortable in a commercial kitchen is to ask a local restaurant if you could work there over the summer as an “internship.” Another option is to attend a professional development class like ones offered by the CIA or Johnson & Wales.
2. Purchasing equipment that you realistically won’t use
Depending on your budget and idealizations it is easy to over estimate what you will actually use. “It would be nice to get the 5 commercial waffle makers but will I really use them enough to justify the expense?” A commercial potato peeler is a super cool thing but do my students make enough meals using potatoes to justify it or will it just collect dust until Thanksgiving each year?
3. Not purchasing equipment that could make your life easier because you didn’t know it existed!
Make sure you explore your options. Go to several commercial equipment vendors and have them walk you around and talk to you about the different equipment they sell and what restaurant owners buy and use. I learned a whole lot from a young salesman that told me what I could really do without and what restaurants purchase but don’t really use.