WITH January well out of the way and Valentine's Day on the horizon, The Publican returned to the North Pole in West London to see how Andy Evans and his team were getting on with the trial of the Turbochef i5rapid cook oven.
Andy says: "January is traditionally a quiet time of the year, which gave us the opportunity to try out a few new ideas without impacting on the flow of our usual trade.
"I'm currently developing starters for the menu using the TurboChef oven. At quiet times it's good to have items which can be cooked quickly to order - it reduces the level of wastage and the customer always gets a freshly cooked product. I'm not a big fan of cooking ahead of time and re-heating everything."
What starters has the Turbo Chef i5 allowed you to add?
"I've been trying a few different ideas using puff pastry, the one which has proved most popular is parcels filled with three Italian cheeses, spinach and sundried tomatoes. They take just over two minutes to bake and they're really good. The pastry is nice and crisp and the filling stays inside where it's supposed to be. Tiger prawn skewers with chilli and lime work really well, I cook them just using the hot air, they take about two and a half minutes whether it is one or 10 portions the time is the same."
How has the TurboChef i5 surprised you most?
"Preparing Crispy Pork Belly - a generous portion, from raw, takes four minutes. The crackling is amazing, I didn't think it would 'crackle' in such a short time. It's proved very popular; I've been doing a small portion with honey mustard vinaigrette and a bramley apple purée as a starter."
Have you tried cooking any of your existing menu items in the TurboChef?
"We have run items through the oven which would traditionally be deep fried; this was more out of curiosity but the results were very good.
"We have a platter to share which has a selection of spring rolls and samosas which are normally deep fried. They take the same time through the oven but with the added bonus of being healthier.
"Deep-fried brie works well too. These have a tendency to explode in a fryer which shortens the life of the oil, in the i5 everything stays where it's supposed to, which gives a far better result in the end, saving money by reducing our oil consumption at the same time." n
Next: Andy plans to develop the dessert menu, looking to offer more in the way of hot puddings.
- The list price of the TurboChef i5 is £8,350 + VAT. Lease rental terms are also available. For further information call Taylor UK on 0800 838 896 or visit www.taylor-company.co.uk