Today’s catering sector is undergoing a far-reaching transformation and it requires new kitchen equipment capable of responding to the challenges it faces: more productivity, energy efficiency, sustainability, workforce shortages and, consequently, the need to offer better working conditions to its staff in order to retain them. The small selection of kitchen equipment that we’ll see at Hostelco 2022 reflects how manufacturers are listening to and anticipating the needs of their customers in the sector.
The reinvention of the cooking block
Take, for example, the new generation of cooking blocks such as the M1 made by Italian brand Mareno, which Serhs Projects will exhibit at Hostelco. It’s a block with more working space and more fluid spaces for equipment traffic that’s easy to install and ergonomic. In short, a chef’s dream, with more spacious lower units and a worktop designed to simplify his or her work and guarantee the highest levels of hygiene. As a result of the anti-slip front edge and the joints on the sides of the machine, any liquid or dirt remains inside the worktop without dripping onto the machine and its controls, thus providing a single hygienic barrier.
There are no cables or pipes in sight and the power supply is always protected from dirt and any accidental damage. Attention should also be paid to the ergonomic controls and integrated operating lights that enable the user to view the status of the block at a glance.
The luxury of personalisation
Due to its awareness that more and more high-end establishments are choosing 100% customised luxury kitchens so impressive that they’re worth a visit in themselves, the Jemi has launched the Morei brand as its most exclusive line of tailored professional cooking blocks, as well as luxury semi-professional performance domestic kitchens.
They’re fully customised kitchens of the highest quality, an absolute luxury. They’re designed and manufactured for each customer, who receives a unique, special and fully personalised piece of work. “We love being able to implement a kitchen concept that’s been conceived and devised by the customer”, explained Jesús Mora, Jemi’s Operations Manager. In the image, the spectacular mono-block kitchen manufactured for the Michelin-starred Basque Kitchen by Aitor restaurant in Singapore. With an entirely customised design and a single 3 mm envelope, it’s finished in brass, lacquered in black and spectacular:
The new multi-function ovens
The oven is a key element in the kitchen and the new ones on the way are smarter, connected and truly multi-functional sets of equipment. Such as Merrychef conneX, the latest innovation by Welbilt: an advanced range of high-speed ovens that are showcased as the most compact ones on the market, incredibly quiet and capable of cooking, toasting, re-heating and roasting in record time. In addition, they incorporate a new generation of digitally connected controllers with an easy-to-use touch screen that can deliver the dishes just the way customers want them. The kitchen staff will love them, as they’ll be able to continue serving and avoid long queues while the food is being cooked. Any more benefits? They speed up the service, reduce the waiting for take-aways and maximise profits.
And the new GGM Gastro, combi-steam ovens with multi-programme touch screen technology. Available in different sizes, they’re “total” appliances perfect for cooking, frying, stewing, roasting and baking and ideal for slow cooking, baking and de-frosting all kinds of food, thus guaranteeing perfect results thanks to their state-of-the-art technology.
They feature a 7-inch colour touch screen with programmable electronic controls, an Android-based operating system, a multi-lingual menu and 400 storable programmes, each or them with four cooking phases. In short, a smart cooking system that also saves energy due to its high-quality insulation. And it has a self-cleaning system that cleans and decalcifies the oven without the need for any supervision.
The rise of the grill
While grill and barbecue restaurants continue to open throughout the length and breadth of the country as a vindication of the original product, smoke, flavour and aroma, grill ovens made in Spain are being installed like hot cakes at home and abroad, and not surprisingly, as they’re becoming increasingly precise, powerful and accurate.
An example? The series of Silver (#pirasilverseries) grill ovens that Pira Hornos Brasa will be displaying at Hostelco. These are top of the range and they’ve opened the doors to the most demanding markets. They boast the UL and NSF certifications and they’re the most comprehensive range of grill ovens on the market, with three different doors and models suited to all catering requirements, ranging from the compact Pira 50 Silver, designed for restaurants where the grill is just a small high-quality complement and only a little space is available, to the imposing Pira 120 Silver D SD/ED, which is “undoubtedly the grill oven with the highest production capacity in the world”, declared Xavier Bas, Pira’s Managing Director. In the image, the one installed at the Miramar restaurant:
Staff shortages? The equipment can help
The pressing problem of staff shortages will bring changes to the hospitality sector and, very probably, a re-design of professional kitchens, in which the equipment itself will contribute to achieving better working conditions.
The iVario Pro de Rational, for example, is an ideal candidate for the position of kitchen assistant. It replaces tilting saucepans, frying pans, deep fryers and pressure cookers with ease, leaving more space. It can even serve as a griddle, given that, thanks to its power and precision, it has no difficulty in browning large quantities of meat, searing it without cooking it. It’s also up to four times faster, it needs up to 40% less energy and it can save up to 10% water consumption with respect to conventional cooking equipment. And it doesn’t stop there; iVario is also a digital appliance that can be connected via a smartphone, tablet or PC to ConnectedCooking, the digital platform for Rational appliances, and transfer cooking programmes, recipes and software updates and save HACCP data with great ease.
Objective: a better climate in the kitchen
Working in a kitchen often means enduring harsh conditions in terms of heat, noise, grease and a stifling atmosphere. Fortunately, the new extraction equipment units are resolving these problems. Here are a few examples:
The Airdoor hood manufactured by Altex uses innovative technology to reduce the extraction flow by up to 35%, minimising installation costs, energy consumption and its environmental impact. With a perimeter induction system and an integrated air curtain, it incorporates an interior plenum box with independent regulation flaps for each filter. The results? Maximum energy efficiency and, above all, the comfort of the staff, as its exclusive diagonal induction system creates a pure atmosphere in the kitchen and resolves unpleasant excess temperatures by directing them towards the filters and away from the chef.
As for Morgui Clima it proposes Ruck’s MPS Series fan, which is ideal for extracting fumes from professional kitchens, where large quantities of grime and grease particles are generated.
This is a single inlet centrifugal fan with turbine blades that can withstand 200°C in continuous operation, it has a built-in motor and it’s fire resistant up to 400°C/2h in accordance with UNE-EN 12101-3.
Its design ensures simple maintenance and cleaning, as the hinged hatch with a handle allows rapid and easy access to the turbine. It’s also fully configurable.
The motor, whose power depends on its size, is 230/400V 50 Hz and it can be regulated by means of a frequency converter, achieving constant optimal performance. The housing is made of galvanised steel with 25 mm sandwich-type mineral wool insulation and it incorporates a drain plug for grease drainage.
Meanwhile, Sodeca presents new solutions for eliminating suspended particles from the kitchen, preventing any dispersion of dirt in the air and achieving clean air and a healthy environment in the work area with the resulting comfort for the whole team.
There are units with filters (MF) that clean the air by capturing suspended solid particles, units with active carbon filters (MCA) that are ideal for the elimination of undesirable pollutants, trapping odours, gases, allergens and pollutants produced through the use and occupation of the premises, units with photocatalysis technology (MPCO) to purify the air and nearby surfaces, thus accelerating the natural decomposition of organic matter with positive and negative ionisation and improving the purification efficiency against ultrafine dusts and smells, and units with electrostatic filters (NFE) for environments where the contaminants are greasy, oily or with suspended particles that rapidly saturate mechanical and textile filters.
The new sustainable and smart cooling systems
The super-cooling system manufactured by Wondercool, represents a revolution in cooling, as it can cool drinks quickly and keep them below freezing point without them actually freezing. So, for example, you can drink a beer or glass of cava at a temperature between -4ºC and -6ºC with its foam, bubbles and characteristics intact. The latest addition to the family, one we’ll be able to see at Hostelco, is Wondercool FM-2, the first super-cooler in an under-bar or under-counter format, an appliance that’s been in demand among caterers for some time. Equipment that’s committed to ecological refrigeration, sustainable energy and energy efficiency.
The Snowflake GII+ cooling units made by Hoshizaki are designed to operate in demanding environments. These cabinets and cold tables incorporate smart design extras such as monoblock technology; the cooling system is located in the upper part of the equipment inside the block to facilitate the cleaning and maintenance of the equipment.
The refrigerant used in all the models is R290, a natural gas that improves its performance and, compared to others, has minimal global warming potential (GWP). In short, high-quality cooling, ideal for fresh produce and the caterer’s peace of mind and reliable and long-lasting equipment finished with first-class materials and equipped with advanced cooling technology.
Saving on equipment: better two in one
As well as plates, most restaurants have to wash dishes, pots, pans and cooking utensils, but both a dishwasher and a utensil washer are no longer necessary. Why have two machines when one can perform both functions perfectly well?
This is precisely what Winterhalter proposes with its new PT Utensil passthrough dishwasher and its three wash programmes, an appliance which, in many cases, will remove the need to purchase two separate machines for washing dishes and utensils, thus saving money and space in the washing area.
This hybrid machine, which ensures clean and hygienically safe washing results with the utmost reliability, combines a powerful washing system with variable washing pressure adjustments and the ergonomics and simple operation of a passthrough dishwasher.
All this equipment and a wide range of other products will be on view at Hostelco 2022, constituting an innovation-related event that’s not to be missed. We’ll meet again in Barcelona from 4 to 7 April.
Marta Renovales, Chief Editor of (Profesionalhoreca.com)