Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

The Quarterly Product Q4 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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8 Q4 2018 THE QUARTERLY Combi Ovens For cook lines with limited space, combi ovens take the place of multiple pieces of equipment, including convec- tion ovens and steamers. These units also can replace cook-and-hold cabinets, proofers or slow cookers when used at low-heat settings. Combi ovens are suitable for use across all types of foodservice operations' cook lines, from white table- cloth restaurants to schools. Operators can use combi ovens to perform a variety of tasks, including roasting, steaming, sous vide, smoke, braise, bake, retherm and oven fry. These ovens balance humidity, convection oven capabilities and steam by combining hot air with heated steam. Because the air moves around the food item being cooked, and combis can introduce moisture, opera- tors have the ability to control foods' moisture levels and increase product yield. On the line, this cooking process helps maintain the flavor and nutrients of foods, while hot air and added moisture speed up the cook- ing process. Operators can choose from three sizes of combi ovens. Tabletop units have 6 to 11 shelves for half- size sheet pans and full-size hotel pans. Mini ovens have six shelves and can accommodate three to five pans. Floor models, the most common in cook lines, have 20 shelves for holding 20 sheet pans or 40 hotel pans. In terms of power, gas combis have Btus ranging from 45,500 to more than 170,000, while most electric units are 208V or 240V. Automatic electronic cooking controls include a humidity feature with digital instructions in multiple lan- guages. Optional programmable controls have memory capabilities for more than 200 cooking cycles with various cooking steps. For cooklines that prepare large amounts of proteins, combis with grease management options might be a good fit. These ovens pump excess grease out of the unit into a stand-alone canister for recycling. Innovative features include ventless hood systems that allow electric combis to be placed virtually anywhere; browning controls to add color to food; and smoking capabilities that use real wood chips. Models with UPC code scanner capabilities utilize preloaded cooking instructions to set oven controls automatically. Other units offer HACCP documentation with and without the use of kitchen management software. Purchasing Considerations Size represents a key consideration when choosing a combi for a cook line. "Combi ovens range in size from compact all the way up to large roll-in models," says Edward Arons, senior associate, Colburn Guyette Foodser- vice Designers, Rockland, Mass. "Although a larger oven means a higher capacity, it also means it might not fit in your kitchen. When you have a model in mind, the first task is to check if it will fit into the desired space before purchas- ing. Keep required clearances between adjacent equipment in mind, as well." Operators also need to assess the available power supply to determine if a gas or electric combi will work best in a given environment. "Gas could be either natural or propane," says Arons. "Electric can be single or three phase, and voltages can differ. It's very important to verify you have the electrical capacity in your cook line to support the new combi oven." Although there isn't a performance difference between gas and electric models, it's important to note that gas ovens usually re- quire an electrical connection for controls. Manufacturers offer a wide range of controls, and digital or manual programmability can vary in complexity. "This is very particular to the chef or operation, menu and

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