Darren Massey’s role is to work with Euro Catering’s customers as an equipment solutions provider — finding the best appliances for their needs, providing focused training and ensuring they know how to get the most from their investment. He discusses the rising importance of greener cooking technologies, working with a leading supermarket to develop safer fryers and the true power of combi ovens.
What aspect of your role do you most enjoy?
Demonstrating new and current equipment, finding solutions to customers’ problems, building an in-depth understanding of their operation or project and gaining their trust and respect. Project development, customer trainings, factory visits and trade shows all over the world are also a great aspect of my work. Meeting so many different nationalities and cultures helps expand my understanding of the wide variety of food operations in our industry.
Do you feel the role of development chefs is constantly evolving and, if so, in what ways?
Yes, over the years I have seen that you need to understand and embrace new technologies which have been coming into the role as development chef, which include the greener and more environmentally-considered approaches. Also, energy saving is a massive consideration in light of the escalating energy costs. However, it is always important to remember the basics — the fundamental principles of cookery going forward.
Which items of equipment that Euro Catering supplies do you find yourself working on the most and why?
Combi ovens, as they are in most customers’ kitchens. I find that because we offer such a wide range of size, power and operational variations, our customer profiles are also very varied from high-end restaurants and hotels to food manufacturing outlets, and from high street national retailers to small cafe and QSR operations.
For example, our Giorik combi ovens range from a five rack oven which works on a 13amp plug up to passthrough and 20 x 2/1 roll-in banqueting models. We also supply a large array of rotisseries used by large supermarkets as well as smaller owner-operators. This means we cook a lot of chickens! For example, a change of chicken supplier can mean a programme has to be revised to suit a higher water content.
What sort of development kitchen facilities do you have and how easy is it for operators to get access to these?
We have a full working showroom in Daventry where customers can try our equipment. They can bring their own food for us to cook or we can provide the food. We have multiple pieces of equipment, which means we can run lots of tests and data-gathering all at once, saving time especially on the longer slower cooks. We often find customers come to see a particular type of equipment but then appreciate other innovative equipment we sell that is suited to their needs.
What is the big focus or main message from you at the moment when it comes to helping operators achieve the best return from their equipment investment?
Making sure they get the right equipment for their needs from the very start, and to ensure that staff training, cleaning and maintenance is highlighted to avoid disappointment, breakdowns and wasted time or money.
Is there any recent customer project or work that you have been involved in which gives you most satisfaction?
I have been working with a very large national supermarket retailer to develop safer fryers. Our range of fryers have gone through extensive testing in my development kitchen in Daventry and are now being field-tested. They have an array of fail-safe mechanisms inbuilt to avoid overheating and will sense if there is no oil and shut down the fryer.
Which item of equipment that is already launched or in the pipeline are you most excited about?
The 13amp combi and our space-saving Slimline combi ovens are great. They have great performance and with the 13amp model it can go anywhere. They are so versatile and offer the full range of functions of any combi oven.
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Address: Unit 1, Egerton Close, Drayton Fields, Daventry, Northants NN11 8PE. Easily accessible by road or via rail (one hour from London Euston to Rugby)
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