Top chef Steve Munkley has worked with all sorts of catering equipment over the years, but when it comes to picking out his favourite piece of kit he has no hesitations.
He cites the combi oven as the item he is most fond of and admits he ‘could not be without one now’.
“I must say that the combination oven has really revolutionised most things, from a volume point of view and from a restaurant concept point of view. They come in so many different sizes and brands, and everybody has their favourite, so I am not going to put one brand over another, but they all in principle do the same thing.”
Combi ovens have become a firm feature of Mr Munkley’s kitchen operations at the Royal Garden Hotel, which underwent a £3m catering refurbishment a few years ago.
He said the technology provides his 60-strong brigade with the flexibility to meet the demands of a 24-hour hotel and restaurant catering operation.
“They have such a variety of methods of cooking within them that you have got that ability to do three or four different things at the same time; you have got multiple timers, you can reduce the steam temperature, you can reduce the heat to really low, you can slow cook in them, you can fast cook in them, you can grill in them.”
Mr Munkley said that all its breakfast goods, for example, now go through the combi oven.
“Sausages and bacon cook perfectly and then you can cook a soufflé in them; we do soufflés in banqueting for 400. I have got three units, we put 150 or 160 in each and they take 10 minutes. We know that in 10 minutes they will be perfect. I can unload an oven in two minutes, the second oven goes in two minutes later and the third oven goes two minutes after that. I don’t think I could be without a combination oven now.”