Equipment Essentials: Beyond the microwave

Related tags Publican food report Microwave oven Refrigerator

From basic equipment to the very latest advances, licensees outline what they cannot live without in the kitchen.It would seem that tried and trusted...

From basic equipment to the very latest advances, licensees outline what they cannot live without in the kitchen.

It would seem that tried and trusted recipe Chicken Ding - so called for the musical sound a microwave makes when it's finished cooking - is still very much a staple of the pub menu. And, more often than not, it's accompanied by a portion of chips and, in more sophisticated establishments, a lovingly arranged salad garnish.

To produce such a gastronomic extravaganza, all a pub needs is a freezer to keep the raw materials in until the order arrives, a microwave for the chicken, a fryer for the chips and a fridge to keep the salad fresh.

The survey for this year's Publican Food Report shows that these four pieces of equipment are standard issue in the majority of pubs.

However, there's also plenty more going on in pub kitchens. Our special Equipment Essentials report, running in this issue and the next, will spotlight operators and equipment suppliers who are driving pub food forward.

How equipment is chosen

  • By brand:​ 40 per cent
  • By after-sales service:​ 22 per cent
  • By guarantee:​ 45 per cent
  • By price:​ 16 per cent

Source: Publican Food Report 2005

Types of equipment in the pub kitchen

  • Fridge:​ 95 per cent
  • Freezer:​ 95 per cent
  • Microwave:​ 91 per cent
  • Deep fat fryer:​ 87 per cent
  • Conventional oven:​ 80 per cent
  • Hob:​ 67 per cent
  • Warewasher:​ 45 per cent
  • Bain marie:​ 40 per cent
  • Combi oven:​ 32 per cent
  • Impinger oven:​ 6 per cent

Source: Publican Food Report 2005

Peugeot tableware: not run of the mill

With catering equipment, as with anything else, it's the little touches that make all the difference. The Blue Anchor at Tadworth near Epsom, Surrey, re-opened in the summer of 2005 after owners Mitchells & Butlers refurbished the popular destination food pub. It oozes quality from the leather upholstery to the wooden tables, the venue is modern, but with style.

This quality approach even extends as far as the tableware, where the only branded items front of house are Peugeot pepper and salt mills, sourced by the pub through King UK. General manager Ty Simons says: "Whilst Peugeot may be slightly more expensive than other mills initially, they pay for themselves in the long run. They not only last two or three times longer than cheaper alternatives, but always look as good as the day they were bought."

High-profile branding is not generally a feature of Ty's approach, but he's happy to make an exception when it comes to Peugeot.

He says: "I was introduced to Peugeot mills about eight years ago when I emigrated from Australia. Since then I have only once strayed from the fold, and that was with dire consequences - I ended up replacing them with Peugeot after just one year."

Case study: Byfords, Holt, Norfolk

Holt is a Norfolk village in an area popular with tourists and close to the coast. A focal point for the community is Byfords, owned by Ian and Clair Wilson. An inn combined with an upmarket bed and breakfast business, Byfords has put food at the heart of the operation. There's a firm commitment to freshness and almost everything sold is produced in the pub's own kitchen.

With so much fresh and chilled food moving around, it was essential to have state-of-the-art refrigeration. For this, Ian chose Williams Refrigeration.

The kit includes chill preparation tables, upright cabinets, cold rooms, and for the growing takeaway ready-meals business in the deli, a Williams blast freezer.

Ian wanted to deal with just one company when it came torefrigeration and believed that Williams had the best range for the pub. Equally important for a busy rural site such as Byfords is unbeatable engineering service.

Ian finds the pull-out/push-in cartridge-style system for the condenser units on Williams cabinets particularly convenient. On other refrigeration brands, servicing condensers can involve a complete shutdown of the fridge; but the Williams condensers can be changed and serviced with no drop in fridge temperature.

Ian reserves special praise for the Williams Onyx preparation table, which he describes as "the Rolls-Royce of refrigeration equipment". The Onyx works in ambient temperatures up to 43º C while still keeping food in the picking pans at the rear of the table down to 40ºC.

Byfords has undergone a £1.5m refurbishment, including an extensive kitchen redevelopment, and Williams Refrigeration is even more the key to keeping food safe and cool.

The new kitchen also features a bespoke island suite from Falcon Foodservice Equipment, the sister company to Williams Refrigera-tion. Just as Williams is at the forefront of refrigeration technology, Falcon leads the way in cooking. Falcon induction hobs have been fitted to the island suite rather than conventional gas or electric hobs.

More Equipment Essentials...

  • Jamie Oliver's crusade for less fried food for kids' meals has prompted some manufacturers to experiment with equipment which delivers a healthier range of options. Click here​ to find out more.
  • A busy pub chef swears by his VariCool system. John Porter finds out more.

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