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January 2019

A bit of Science – the beauty of Stainless Steel

January 18, 2019 No comments

Stainless Steel comes in different grades. Each grade has its particular qualities and has its particular applications.

Which is which and which do you want?

The beginning. Stainless Steel is an alloy. Basic Steel is made up of a mix of Iron and Carbon. When you add Chromium however, you get Stainless Steel. Depending on the mix and whether you add other elements, you get a different grade of Stainless Steel. There are at least 23 different grades of Stainless Steel, but we here will concentrate on 430, 304 and 316.

The cheapest form of Stainless Steel we use is 430 grade. It is versatile, easy to weld and has some magnetic properties. This is great steel but it does tend to corrode when in contact with acidic substances in kitchens, for example tomatoes.

So, the catering industry standard for table tops and surfaces that come into contact with raw food is 304 grade. The difference is that 304 contains Nickel where 430 doesn’t. This makes it more versatile, very durable and increases its corrosion resistance. You can test to your steel know it’s 304 grade because this steel is non-magnetic.

Do 430 and 304 grade steel rust? The simple answer is yes, they can do. As per our February 9 th blog post, this steel can still be corroded by certain acids and chemicals (also found in rainwater, making it unsuitable for outdoor use). In particular, 430 and 304 are prone to rusting in salty environments.

Therefore, Fishmongers, Ship-builders and Pharmaceutical companies, when ordering Stainless Steel furniture and/or kitchen equipment, need to be looking for an even higher grade: 316. 316 has an additional metal in it, called Molybdenum. This improves its corrosion resistance to many chemicals and to saline environments (contact with sea water or sea air). In fact, 316 grade is also known in our industry as marine grade (it is also the ideal Stainless Steel for outdoor use). It is more expensive, but in the long term can save money and time.

What is a Combi-Oven?!

January 15, 2019 No comments

They arrived to the Professional cookery scene in the late 1970s but still many chefs are not familiar with them. They are perceived as expensive and quite different from more traditional ovens. So what is so special about combination ovens?

The basic difference between cooking with a conventional oven and a combination oven is humidity. The unique feature however, is their flexibility and their ability to control humidity levels.

Let’s start from the beginning.

Some foods want to be steamed – vegetables, rice – sometimes you just want to steam them and to do so you can use a steamer. But the combi oven can also do this.

Some foods want dry heat – imagine a pizza in a wood fired oven. That is dry heat, which is replicated by conventional fan assisted ovens. The combi oven can do this too.

However, sometimes, a dry heat can literally dry out the food you’re trying to cook and the steam, while fast, can make food soggy. So, you might want a combination of dry and humid heat: remember how chefs used to place a pan of water under their bread to keep the oven humid during the cooking process?

Well, the combi oven is a specialist at this. With a combi oven you can control the levels of humidity to exactly the levels required for every dish, to give your entire menu a perfect finish.

In short, the beautiful thing about having a combi oven is that you don’t need any other oven.It can cook dry, humid or a perfect combination of the two.

Combination Ovens can be fuelled by electricity or gas, can be table top or roll-in, with ordinary pull-out doors or disappearing doors, traditional or pass-through. Also available in slim or mini version.