This article will point at the five main pieces of equipment needed to set up a commercial kitchen.
1- Cooking equipment
This is the most basic and the most important equipment in any commercial kitchen. Convection ovens and stoves can be powered by either gas or electricity, with some being dual-fuel. However, it is recommended that commercial kitchens use gas-powered ovens only, given the continuous use given to this appliance that can result in extremely high bills. Additionally, electric-powered ovens tend to malfunction more often than gas appliances when under heavy usage.
Burners are often made of cast iron, with some ovens having as many as ten burners. Cast iron is chosen as it prevents clogging of the burner and is highly resistant to heavy duty cleaning chemicals. Cooking equipment is made of stainless steel due to its robustness. Some ovens are also enamel-covered.
2- Refrigeration equipment
This includes fridges, freezers, and walk-in cold rooms. Freezers should hold a temperature between -10°C and -20°C and have an electronically-controlled thermostat. Ideally, they are made of stainless steel, with an aluminium interior. Some are epoxy-coated to prevent corrosion. Fridges are built with the same materials, and should feature polyurethane insulation.
Hygiene is a must in these appliances, so they are often made of high grade stainless steel. To avoid bacterial growth, they must feature self-draining wash pumps, as well as a setting for automatic cleaning cycles. The best dishwashers also have a thermostop feature, that automatically sets the rinsing water to the most appropriate temperature.
4- Tables and sinks
Preparation tables must be made of stainless steel to ensure optimum cleanliness and hygiene. Ideally they should have adjustable feet, so that their height can be modified to fit different members of staff and therefore prevent back and neck injuries. The same is applicable to kitchen sinks.
5- Ventilation equipment
Ensuring that a commercial kitchen is properly ventilated is mandatory for catering businesses. Health and Safety regulations stipulate very strict air quality measurement systems, which can vary according to the kitchen size, the intensity of use, and the type of fuel being used. A hood and an extractor are therefore essential pieces of equipment for any commercial kitchen. These appliances will ensure that no dangerous pollutants accumulate in the area, and that any gas leaks are easily detected to prevent fires and major damage. There are also legal requirements that concern the minimum and maximum humidity and temperature levels.
Canopy hoods are the most adequate ventilation systems. These must be designed in a way that allows easy access to the ductwork and the filters. The material of choice of many caterers is 304 stainless steel, as it is durable and easily cleaned.