EXCLUSIVE: Patented catering tool stops more chefs falling into fryers

A chef who scalded himself after slipping into a fryer while trying to clean an extraction canopy could have avoided injury by using a baffle filter removal tool, a UK company with a patent for such a device has said.

Newport-based Concept Fabs, a specialist in the design and fabrication of stainless steel catering equipment, actually developed the tool in 2015 when one of its regular customers made it aware of an incident similar to the one that recently saw The Cross pub in Bedford fined £25,000 for breaching health and safety regulations.

Concept Fabs has since sold thousands of the 1,500mm-long devices to leading pub and casual dining groups keen to make sure that filters on extraction canopies are cleaned safely. 

Company administrator Mia Jackson said: “The prototypes went through testing for six months where a number of design changes were made ensuring the product was simple to use, durable and compatible with a variety of baffle filters produced by different manufacturers.

“We applied for a UK patent in early 2016 and it was granted in October 2016 with design rights. The tool eliminates all risks associated with filter removal and prevents kitchen employees from burning themselves or falling from height.”

Mrs Jackson believes that had The Cross used the tool, the injury to the chef would not have occurred. “The tool easily removes baffle filters without the need to climb on any equipment, use a ladder, or even lean over hot cooking appliances,” she said.

Concept’s design features quick-release sliding prongs that adjust to suit major baffle filter brands. It has seen orders increase since launching the product, which can be purchased directly from the company or via its two authorised distributors, Die-Pat and OC Innovations.

One of its first customers was South American-themed casual dining chain Las Iguanas, while Mitchells & Butlers has purchased more than 1,800 units for its restaurants and pubs.

“Both chains still purchase them today for any new sites that are opened. We have also supplied The Restaurant Group with a number of tools. Fuller’s has shown recent interest and we are hoping to supply them in the near future.”

Concept Fabs is currently undergoing a period of expansion following growing demand for its bespoke catering equipment and fabrication services. The company has just purchased new premises in South Wales that will allow it to keep up with orders.

“This new premises is five times the size of our current building and will give us the space required to accept more orders maintain our steady business growth,” said Mrs Jackson.

Chef falls into fryer after trying to clean extract canopy

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