With new hurdles and challenges facing the sector every year, traditional Asian Oriental kitchens need to evolve in order to be successful, writes David Pedrette of Target Catering Equipment.
Asian Oriental cuisine is a favourite on British high streets, however it’s a fiercely competitive market and with an estimated two businesses closing down each week, business owners are always looking at ways to increase profit and maximise output without compromising on quality and consistency. There are many factors which contribute to the success of an Asian Oriental business, many of which can be found inside the kitchen.
Gone are the days when businesses started up on a shoestring with minimal regulation and compliance issues, using a mix of used, second-hand affordable equipment that was unregulated and inefficient, usually hived off from kitchen refurbishments and rescued from the scrapyard.
As a result of lack of regulations over the years, high streets have become overcrowded. With rental and business rates climbing, businesses now have to consider smaller premises. With this comes the challenge of installing a working kitchen that makes the most of the available space, is efficient and does not compromise the quality of the finished product.
David Pedrette says that Asian Oriental kitchens are traditionally among the hottest to work in, but new cooking methods could reduce waste heat.
Kitchens must now be compliant to all regulations and restrictions. With modern regulations becoming ever more stringent and governing bodies carrying out regular checks to regulate compliance, sourcing equipment which complies with regulations is a major factor.
The amount of regulations you are required to comply with starts with the type of fuel you decide to use within the kitchen. Traditionally, gas has always been the favoured fuel within the Asian Oriental market. However, with the recent development of commercial induction cooking technology there is now a more powerful, controllable and efficient alternative to gas, which is not burdened with the regulations that are attached to gas equipment.
With all electric commercial kitchens, ventilation systems become smaller, more efficient, cheaper to install and maintain. Regulations are minimised, meaning compliance with local authority regulations and DEFRA requirements becomes easier.
One of the major stigmas linked to working in an Asian Oriental kitchen is the environment. When using gas-fired open burners, Asian Oriental kitchens are amongst the hottest commercial kitchens to be working in. However, when induction technology is used, there is no waste heat being given off into the atmosphere. All the heat and energy goes directly into the product in the pan, resulting in a substantially cooler kitchen for chefs to work in.
With the number of fully trained, qualified Asian Oriental chefs rapidly depleting, running a business and kitchen which attracts the best staff has never been more important”
Induction technology also dramatically reduces fuel costs. Not only do you remove the waste heat from the kitchen, energy is only consumed when the pan is on the hob. With instantaneous heat, burners do not need to be left on to heat up, minimising energy consumption, reducing fuel costs and speeding up cooking times.
With the number of fully trained, qualified Asian Oriental chefs rapidly depleting, running a business and kitchen which attracts the best staff has never been more important. This continual lack of skill has inevitably resulted in the decrease in quality of end-product, thus over the years resulting in the negative reputation that the industry is often tarnished with by younger generations.
In order to remove the stigma that comes with working within the Asian Oriental industry, working conditions and tradition has to change. It’s time to embrace modern technology.
Business owners are now able to employ staff that may lack in skill, while remaining certain that the end product will not be compromised, and will be of a consistent quality no matter which chef is in the kitchen purely by implementing automation and programming into cooking processes.
These easy-to-use systems are more often image controlled and are therefore easy to use by people of varying ethnicities, without any confusion, thus addressing the ongoing crisis of lack of skilled staff, giving head chefs the opportunity to expand their skills and develop menus, trying out new ideas with the kitchen.
Once the equipment has been chosen it’s important to get the right lay-out agreed. Having the correct layout will ensure flow within the kitchen and minimise the possibilities of there being any cross-contamination.
This is the secret to business success: getting the right equipment and systems in place to optimise output without compromising quality, while delivering great service and hospitality in comfortable,
Target’s 5 top tips
1. Make sure your kitchen complies with the latest regulations
2. Consider which type of fuel will be best for you
3. Trial equipment before making decisions
4. Think about long-term running costs
5. Invest in your business at the start for long-term success
David Pedrette is managing director of Target Catering Equipment, which has been offering catering equipment and kitchen design expertise for more than 30 years. www.targetcatering.co.uk