Equipment - Cream of the Crop

Related tags Microwave oven

PubChef's focus on equipment gets a new look this month as leading suppliers help you choose the right kit. Highly recommended... microwaves Ray...

PubChef's focus on equipment gets a new look this month as leading suppliers help you choose the right kit.

Highly recommended... microwaves

Ray Hall, managing director of RH Hall, helps you select the right microwave for your pub

Best for: a busy food pub where nearly all food is prepared from fresh and cooked by a chef The throughput of the pub is the best way to determine the optimum output of commercial microwave required. For most busy pubs, we specify a midrange output - eg, 1,500W. The Sharp R-22AT (c.£600+VAT) would be ideal here, good for defrosting ingredients or pre-made dishes, or for reheating vegetables. The minimum we would recommend is a 1,200W and the entry level Maestrowave MW1200 (c.£400) would suit smaller throughputs. If it was a high-volume pub, the 1900W Sharp R-24AT (c.£800+VAT) would be recommended, featuring express defrost, double quantity capability and 20 memory settings.

Alternatively, a combination microwave oven would be very useful. Ideal if the menu features dishes that require cook, reheat and defrost. The Maestrowave Combi Chef IV and V (c.£1,399- £1,999+VAT) can accommodate all stages of cooking, producing "traditional-look" cooking results but at very high speed, helping to keep extensive waiting times for food to a minimum.

Best for: a pub where food is roughly half of turnover. The menu is lengthy, food is all frozen and needs to be prepared quickly

The recommendation here would be for a bank of high-powered microwave ovens so a number of dishes can be defrosted and cooked at any one time. The higher 1,900W power level allows for the variation required to correctly defrost, cook and finish off frozen products. For example, frozen lasagne is a very dense product. If you blast away at it on high power, the outside will look cooked, but the inside will still be frozen - the variable power allows the product to be heated correctly (ie, first 25% on high, 50% on low power and then the remaining 25% on high to finish off the product) to enable the ice particles within the food to break down. The Sharp R-24AT 1,900W microwave (c.£800+VAT) has pre-sets, so dishes can be cooked properly by unskilled staff time and time again, and it features stage cooking/reheat, which is vital where cooking food from frozen.

Depending on the menu, I would also recommend the use of a combination microwave oven if there isn't a convection oven or grill available to brown/crisp the finished dish to give a more appealing, traditional appearance.

Best for: a pub that uses some frozen and chilled products to supplement a range of freshly prepared dishes. The menu is half-fresh and half-frozen

A mix of both microwaves and combination microwave ovens would be ideal for this scenario. A small bank of Sharp microwaves with the higher 1,900W power output would accommodate the frozen food offering, while the Maestrowave Combi-Chef V combination microwave oven, with pre-set menu settings, would be the ideal solution for all the freshly prepared dishes. The use of the Combi-Chef V, with its versatility and flexibility, would also help to minimise fresh food wastage. The two machines working hand in hand increase kitchen efficiency and work well in both skilled and de-skilled environments.

All the machines recommended require no special electrical supplies, only a 13 amp power supply.

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