Brand, cost, reputation and experience – all are key considerations when choosing commercial kitchen equipment, according to top chef Hayden Groves.
The BaxterStorey culinary maestro, who also works as a consultant at Borough Market, believes it is important for prospective kitchen buyers to think carefully about what they want from a piece of equipment, rather than simply looking at the price.
“People are cost-driven but there’s an adage of ‘buy cheap buy twice’,” he explained. “You should look for manufacturers’ warranty too. If a manufacturer gives you a minimum standard of a year but somebody else gives you five years, that’s a huge belief in that piece of equipment. Five years is a long time for a commercial piece of equipment.”
Speaking on the recent BRITA Professional podcast series, Mr Groves also revealed some of the other preferences he has when assessing new kit.
“I don’t like too many moving parts – and if it’s complicated, they can get lost. And ease of cleanliness – is it easy to clean and easy to put back together? If you can’t get to those hard-to-reach bits and there’s grease in the filters, and the chef doesn’t look after it, then there’s disrespect for those pieces of equipment.”
Mr Groves suggested some buyers are too “Excel spreadsheet-driven” and end up trying to shave off costs when it might not be the right move for the business.
Having worked in professional kitchens for more than 25 years, he admits that the environment has altered dramatically massively since he first donned his chef whites.
“I think that the kitchens have certainly changed somewhat since I started. Health and safety was nothing more than wrapping something in Clingfilm and trying to avoid getting burnt! I would say it was a very boisterous environment, but 25-plus years ago it was very much male-dominated and you had to push on and work harder, faster and tidier than anyone else and hold your end up, should we say.”