Leading chefs have reiterated a wish for greater compatibility among manufacturers’ systems as more kitchen appliances become connected.
The desire for a common platform or standard that allows all pieces of equipment to be controlled from a single source, irrespective of brand or manufacture, continues to grow among operators but up to now it has posed something of a challenge for the industry to solve.
Gary Devereaux, executive chef at the House of Lords (main image), which caters for 2,000 covers, runs one of the most tech-savvy catering operations in the country.
But even he says it is getting to the point where it is becoming increasingly difficult to manage multiple proprietary systems.
“Every manufacturer has its own website which you can log into with your own password, but it would be nice to have all that under one system in future, perhaps even linked to a stock management system from when you develop the dish to the photograph, through the whole system of it all to the waste at the end.
“For the last four or five years I have been speaking with many companies to say, ‘this is what you need to be doing’ but there is not one out there in the catering world — or at least I haven’t seen one yet! — that can do the whole lot. Each piece of technology seems to come with its own tablet so if I was to put them all in my kitchen I would probably have a wall of tablets!”
At Silverstone Circuits — home of the British Grand Prix — the catering team is in the early stages of exploring how connected equipment can enhance the nine kitchens that deliver hospitality across the venue.
Dean Hoddle, head chef at Silverstone Circuits, admits that bringing new technology into a kitchen can be a daunting prospect as it can be difficult to spot something that will truly enhance an operation without proving to be an IT minefield.
“Everybody you see has got some amazing bit of software for this or that so you’ve got to look at which ones are going to fit and which ones will talk to our existing systems. We use a system for all of our recipes and we have got 1,600 dishes that we have painstakingly put onto it as we have devised and developed them.
“I spoke to somebody today who said they can do all this with their HACCP but that means sitting there writing the same thing all over again if the systems can’t talk to each other. If there was that one solution, a general platform that it can all bolt onto, it would be perfect.”