John Whitehouse, chair of the Foodservice Equipment Association, gives his advice on how to keep combi ovens clean and working effectively for as long as possible.
1. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions
The level of automation varies from brand to brand, so follow your manufacturer’s instructions. Some combi ovens will tell you when they need cleaning — don’t ignore them!
Also, use common sense based on the volume of use, bearing in mind that different food products create different types and amounts of residue. If you see a build-up of residue, clean it.
2. Pay attention to water treatment
Use the cleaning regime recommended by the manufacturer and use the recommended chemicals to ensure that you don’t cause problems, for example with erosion to the stainless steel interior.
Also, be sure that the water treatment system attached to the combi oven is maintained and that the combi oven itself is regularly descaled. Again, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
3. Eliminate residue build-up for safe cooking
Regular clearing will protect the combi oven and ensure it is working at optimum efficiency. It will also ensure that there is no compromise on food quality — for example, through taint as a result of residue build-up.
4. Regular and often is the best mantra
Probably the biggest misconception is that you can keep cooking with them for longer than recommended before running the cleaning program, and expect it to be able to cope with build-ups of encrusted product on the machine.
Regular and often is the best mantra. Critical to the whole process is staff training — it pays off with a multi-thousand pound machine!