INSIDE TRACK: Preparation is the key – why spec trumps price for true kitchen reliability

Hallde CC-34 combi cutter

Food preparation equipment tends to be worked harder than any other appliance out there. Buying the best that you can possibly afford will always prove to be a sound investment, writes Neil Richards, managing director at Metcalfe Catering Equipment… 

Pre-pandemic the food prep market was seeing a surge in demand for traditional equipment such as veg prep machines, slicers, peelers, and mixers, thanks to the trend for cooking using fresh ingredients and, of course, the massive surge in vegan and vegetarian cuisine.

With this trend looking likely to continue, and many kitchens having been idle for months, it stands to reason that many operators are looking to invest in new food prep equipment.

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Furthermore, as food inflation starts to kick in, thanks to a combination of Brexit and Covid-19, there is a greater need than ever for operators to get the very most from their ingredients – particularly fresh fruit and vegetables, but also other produce such as cheeses and charcuterie.

Choosing the right food preparation equipment for the job is vital as it will help the operator reduce waste, increase speed, maximise yield, improve portion control and increase profit.

If the end-user is prepared to invest in high quality, durable prep equipment from the start then they will find that its whole life cost is much less than cheaper alternatives.

So, when it comes to buying a piece of food preparation equipment what should you look out for?

Build quality is key so you should look for strong components such as heat-treated gears (in the case of mixers), powerful motors, built-in safety features, easily removable parts for better cleaning and, when it comes to veg prep machines, high quality stainless-steel blades for clean and precise cutting.

Secondly, buy a machine that it is specifically designed for the job you want it to do.

If you want to slice/dice/grate/julienne then buy a veg prep machine, but if you want to produce a paste/liquid/breadcrumbs or small pieces then opt for a vertical cutter mixer/blender.

If, on the other hand, you think that you will need to do all of these things invest in a combi cutter.

The reasoning is very simple – having the right piece of equipment for the job will ensure that you get every last portion out of your produce.

This is especially true when it comes to soft or over ripe fruit and veg which will simply end up as a puree if the wrong machine is used.

This has the potential to cost the operator thousands of pounds in wasted produce, all for the sake of saving a few hundred pounds on the machine.

So, buy the best piece of equipment for the job – not the cheapest.

Metcalfe Catering Equipment is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Food Preparation category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Metcalfe Catering Equipment and its range of products, call 01766 830456 or visit 

Tags : Food PreparationKitchen Excellence WeekMetcalfe Catering Equipment
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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