A vast array of specialized equipment is available for today’s kitchens. It would take a large book, not just a short article, to describe all of the many items you will come in contact with in your career—items such as pasta machines, crêpe machines, burger formers, breading machines, cookie droppers, beverage machines, Greek gyro broilers, doughnut glazers, conveyor fryers, and so on. In this technological age, nearly every year brings new tools to simplify various tasks. This article introduces you to the most commonly used equipment in food service kitchens. It cannot, in this short space, serve as an operating manual for every model of every machine you will use. It cannot take the place of demonstration by your instructor and of actual experience.
After reading this article, you should be able to identify the do’s and don’ts associated with the safe and efficient use of standard kitchen equipment; processing equipment; holding and storage equipment; measuring devices; and knives, hand tools, and small equipment.
INTRODUCTION TO QUANTITY FOOD EQUIPMENT
Before we look at specific items, we must first consider points relating to the use of equipment in general.
FOOD EQUIPMENT CAN BE DANGEROUS
Modern cooking and food processing equipment has an extraordinary capacity to burn, cut, smash, mangle, and amputate parts of the tender human body. This may sound like a harsh way to begin an article, but the intent is not to intimidate you or scare you but to inspire a healthy respect for the importance of proper safety and operating procedures. Never use a piece of equipment until you are thoroughly familiar with its operation and all its features. You must also learn how to know when a machine is not operating correctly. When this happens, shut it down immediately and report the malfunction to a supervisor.
NOT ALL MODELS ARE ALIKE
Each manufacturer introduces slight variations on the basic equipment. While all convection ovens operate on the same basic principle, each model is slightly different, if only in the location of the switches. It is important to study the operating manual supplied with each item or to be taught by someone who already knows that item well and has operated it.
CLEANING IS PART OF THE OPERATING PROCEDURE
Thorough, regular cleaning of all equipment is essential. Most large equipment can be partially disassembled for cleaning. Again, every model is slightly different. Operating manuals should describe these procedures in detail. If a manual is not available, you must get the information from someone who knows the equipment. When purchasing equipment, look for models that have been tested and certified by recognized agencies that certify products and write standards for food, water, air, and consumer goods. Three prominent agencies are NSF International (www.nsf.org; formerly the National Sanitation Foundation) and CSA International (www.csa-international.org; formerly Canadian Standards Association), and Underwriter Laboratory (www.ul.com).These three agencies are recognized internationally. Products meeting their testing requirements are labeled or marked accordingly.(Figure 3.1).Criteria govern such factors as design and construction (for example, sealed joints and seams),materials used (for example, nontoxic materials, smooth and easily cleanable surfaces),and performance testing.