Browse our articles on cooking equipment and find primers on a wide variety of specific product categories, including articles on how to specify, when to replace products and much more.
Commercial-grade panini presses are a fixture in cafes that offer hot sandwiches and quesadillas. Despite the name, panini presses, also referred to as sandwich presses or panini machines, can be used for heating up more than just the popular hot sandwiches.
Microwaves are typically one of the most underspecified pieces of equipment in commercial kitchens due to the stigma of being considered a tool for reheating, but they have become a staple in cafes because of their small size and versatility. Commercial microwaves complete the same tasks as several pieces of equipment, such as steaming, rethermalizing and defrosting, while utilizing less energy and space.
Pizza operations typically utilize deck or conveyor ovens. When producing Neapolitan pizza, though, operators turn to wood-fired ovens. All three ovens operate in vastly different ways.
Foodservice operators can choose from a variety of fryer types and styles, from models geared for general use to multi-purpose and specialty units. Donut fryers offer a shallow cooking depth, while deep vat units can cook items like fries and chicken. Flat bottom fryers can accommodate floating products, like fish and seafood, while operators commonly use larger conveyor units for production line frying as in a doughnut shop. Operators can place their fryers in a battery configuration, where five or six fryers sit side by side, and employ a single, central filtration system.
For cook lines with limited space, combi ovens take the place of multiple pieces of equipment, including convection ovens and steamers. These units also can replace cook and hold cabinets, proofers or slow cookers when used at low-heat settings.
Braising pans, also called tilting skillets, are one of the most versatile pieces of equipment on the cook line and, as such, very utilitarian. Although commonly lumped into the steamer category, these units do not cook with steam. Their format consists of a griddle on the bottom and sides raised 8 to 11 inches.
Commercial kitchens rely on speed and consistency in the cook line, and convection ovens help achieve these goals. This equipment evenly cooks food using a fan to circulate dry heat at high velocities.
Commercial ranges can vary in terms of width, features, configuration and available options. Typically, these units consist of a range top and a base.
Tilting skillets work much like stoves, with either gas orifices or heating elements that cover the entire underside of the pan. This allows operators to cook at set and consistent temperatures using precise controls.
A staple in the pizza segment, conveyor ovens save labor since the unit does not need attending and can cook various menu items fast and consistently.
In pizza operations, deck ovens provide results similar to wood-fired ovens when creating traditional thin crust pies. After about an hour of preheating, these units’ decks, where staff place the pizzas to cook, can maintain temperatures as high as 700 degrees F using either gas or electricity. Deck ovens generally cook pizzas in approximately five minutes.