Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

The Quarterly Product Q4 2018

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26 Q4 2018 THE QUARTERLY Refrigerated Chef Bases Refrigerated chef's bases hold cooking equipment, such as grills, griddles or ranges on top, while providing refrig- erated storage below for ingredients. These units are most often used to store burgers, chicken and steak for short periods prior to cooking on the griddle or grill atop the base. Refrigerated chefs bases are not recommended for long-term storage; rather, these are designated for cold storage of immediate use prod- ucts on the cook line. Generally, refrigerated chef bases are categorized by length. Kitchens vary in terms of the amount of cook- ing equipment that sits on top, so manufacturers offer multiple sizes that accommodate various formats. Still, all have basically the same configuration, and the height is critical for these cook stations. While the bases are about 21 inches, with griddles or charbroilers on top, the total height is about 32 inches. Depths range from 32 to 34 inches front to back and widths are 24, 36, 48 or 60 inches, depending on the cooking equipment used above. Typically, chef bases have all-stainless-steel fronts, tops and sides with a matching aluminum-finished back. These units consist of 6-inch legs or 6-inch seismic legs and a heavy-duty, 16-gauge stainless steel top. The standard is a marine edge or a raised angled edge around the top of the unit that helps keep cooking equipment from sliding off the top. The flat top is used if the leg of the cooking equipment requires an area around the bor- der of the top to sit on. Back splashes or guards can be bolted to the unit's back or sides. A digital controller or display is the preferred way of measuring this equipment's interior temperatures. Refrig- erated chef's bases are rated NSF-7 for open food. There are not many options for this equipment, other than alternative drawer configurations to hold different pan sizes. It's important to note that the cooking equipment sit- ting on top of these bases must have 4-inch legs installed. If the appropriate clearance is not provided, the heat from the equipment above could melt the foam on the top of the unit and affect temperatures inside. Purchasing Considerations When purchasing a refrigerated chef base operators need to weigh a variety of factors, according to Edward Arons, senior associate, Colburn Guyette Foodservice Designers, Rockland, Mass. These include: Environment: Chef bases can differ in durability, so consider if the operation requires something heavy duty or standard. Think of the environment: Is it high volume and fast paced with many kitchen staff? This may con- stitute a heavy-duty model. For a small operation with limited hours and staff, a standard-duty base may work. Next is the length required. How much product will be held? Will this unit be under a counter, built-in or require a work top? The number of equipment pieces on top will drive how long the base needs to be. Top Edge: Chef bases typically come with a flat edge or marine edge. If spills and drips are expected, then a marine edge might be the right choice. Those tight on space should consider the flat edge, which makes the best use of the top. Determine all of the equipment dimen- sions and look at the equipment leg configurations to allow for enough flat surface on top. Ventilation: Like all refrigerators, these units will exhaust warm air, and this needs to be taken into account. Ensure that the air flow around the base location will be enough per the manufacturer's recommendations and that the compressor is accessible for cleaning and mainte- nance. A feature offered by some manufacturers is a self- cleaning condenser device that will brush the condenser daily and keep it clean. This should add to a longer life for the chef's base, since it will be preventing any build-up on the compressor housing. If air movement or clearance may be an issue, another option is to remote the com- pressor in another location. Weight Limit: It's easy to overlook how much the chef's base can hold. Lightweight items don't require a heavy-duty base, but heavier items will need a unit with a higher weight limit. Also consider the unit's construction, how it's framed and the gauge of stainless steel. The more drawers, the easier to organize food types. Separate drawers minimizes flavor transfer between different items. Legs or Casters: Is a mobile base needed for ease of cleaning? If using high heat cooking equipment or hot liquids on the base, then non-mobile with legs may be a better option. If the unit is mobile, flexible gas hoses with a quick disconnect or longer electrical cords will be needed. Cleaning & Maintenance The refrigerated chef base helps provide convenient access to key ingredients on the cook line. In addition to storing ingredients, these units' construction helps provide sturdy, durable surfaces for fryers, grills and cooktop ranges. When cleaning and maintaining this equipment, operators should keep a number of things in mind. "Poor ventilation will cause the refrigerator to not reject heat

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