What is the new normal commercial kitchen going to look like? And how can cooking systems help foodservice operators meet the new normal challenges? Simon Lohse, managing director of Rational UK, explores what role the latest cooking platforms have to play in a changing market climate.
To keep to social distancing guidelines, there are likely to be fewer people in the kitchen. As demand picks up, how will they keep up with the workload?
Cooking systems that can take over the cooking process, without being monitored, are going to be very helpful – they will act as an extra pair of hands, allowing chefs to get on with other tasks.
For example, our new iVario Pro can even cook tricky dishes like rice pudding or porridge with no need for stirring or checking. When it’s ready, it will let chef know by an audio alert.
In smaller kitchens we could see one person being nominated to work the hot equipment, to prevent cross-contamination.
In larger kitchens, chefs will need to stick to their work station – and they’ll have to have everything they need to hand.
In both cases, advanced, multifunctional cooking systems such as our new iCombi Pro combi steamer will help, as they make it easy to prepare a wide range of dishes, quickly.
In fact, the iCombi Pro has a new intelligent feature, called iProductionManager, which can organise the entire menu cooking production process intelligently and flexibly.
It not only lets chef know which products can be cooked together, but also the optimal order of foods to go into the oven. This will help kitchens maximise their productivity, even with fewer staff.
Part of the challenge for operators will be minimising the number of people who need to visit the kitchen.
Advanced cooking systems will not only help operators future-proof the kitchen, they’ll also help meet their environmental and sustainability aims”
Equipment that is connected to the internet will bring benefits here, because it can reduce the need for human interactions in the kitchen.
For example, with ConnectedCooking HACCP data can be collected from the Rational cooking system without anyone even setting foot in the kitchen.
Similarly, there’s no need for anyone to come in to update software or to change a cooking program, as it can be done remotely.
Ultimately we could see platforms like Rational’s ConnectedCooking being integrated into technology that links and controls the whole foodservice operation – front-of-house ordering, purchasing, stock control, and so on.
The programmability of advanced cooking systems such as the iCombi Pro and iVario Pro will help operators in terms of maximising flexibility to offer a wider menu choice, since they can quickly add new recipes.
The ability to adapt the menu is going to be increasingly important, so that operators can meet demand for trends like the move to more sustainable, plant-based dishes.
Advanced cooking systems will not only help operators future-proof the kitchen, they’ll also help meet their environmental and sustainability aims, by lowering energy and water consumption and delivering a higher yield from raw ingredients.
They will not only change the way the commercial kitchens look, they’ll also revolutionise the way they operate. In doing so, they will help ensure we meet the new normal challenges.
Rational is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Cooking Platforms category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information and brochures, or to find out about free Rational Live demonstrations, call 01582 480388 or visit www.rational-online.com