Ventilation and extraction systems use plenty of power – they are usually the first thing turned on and the last thing turned off in the kitchen.
According to the Foodservice Equipment Association, they’ve become even more complex as the laws on extraction and interlock safety systems have got tighter.
However, there are ways to reduce running costs – for example, by using heat exchangers to recycle the heat in the waste air going through the extraction system or through the use of demand-controlled ventilation systems that control fan speeds in relation to activity.
There has been a big focus on the need to clean ventilation systems, too. Several kitchen fires have been fuelled by burning grease that had been trapped in air ducts. Deep cleaning them is an essential part of the modern kitchen routine.
Meanwhile, an increasing number of appliances are available in ventless formats, designed for front-of-house cooking and for the growing number of kitchens being shoed into premises that can’t accommodate a large ventilation system.
Anyone looking for information on the complex issue of ventilation should talk to the experts. For background, the code of practice and de facto standard to follow can be found in a Building Engineering Services Association (BESA) publication: DW/172 (Specification for Kitchen Ventilation Systems).
The latest version of this includes an update on the risks associated with solid fuel appliances and changes to the equipment coefficients for calculating air movements.
The FEA was part of the consultative group that helped compile the revision. Solid fuel releases carbon monoxide when burned, a highly toxic and odourless gas. Special ventilation systems are required for any operator cooking on a solid fuel appliance.
Food trend: cooking on solid fuels
Establishing authenticity is a big task for many restaurateurs. For example, being knowledgeable about the provenance of your ingredients is now seen as a must for many establishments.
Of course it doesn’t need to stop there, and the cooking method itself can be a big part of establishing the authenticity of your methods.
Whatever the health and safety issues, cooking on solid fuels is undoubtedly seen as a big plus and a major draw by most consumers, which is part of the reason for its growing popularity in foodservice.
Solid fuel appliances are found in a wide variety of restaurants – typical appliances range from tandoori ovens to charcoal grills to wood-fired pizza ovens.
For example, in pizza restaurants a traditional wood burning oven is a great focal point and sends a message to customers that they’re getting the real thing.
Of course there’s the inherent drama of seeing bursts of flame, such as when meat hits a grill, but also there’s the taste. There’s something primordial in the appeal of cooking with a wood or charcoal flame – it takes us back to our roots.
Quintex is the Platinum Partner sponsor of the Kitchen Design & Efficiency category of FEJ Kitchen Excellence Week. For information about Quintex and its range of products, including the Cheetah demand controlled ventilation system, call 0118 973 9310 or visit www.quintex.co.uk