July 23rd, 2014
Restaurant kitchens are notoriously wasteful. Not only does almost every piece of food come with some form of organic waste that you don’t actually want to cook with, but most of it also comes wrapped in plastic, which is wrapped in plastic again, and then in a cardboard box (which is itself sometimes wrapped in plastic!). All that plastic and cardboard can be recycled, but the organic waste has to be composted. So what do you do with everything else? Follow these steps to cut down on waste in your restaurant’s kitchen.
Step 1: Proper Prior Planning
The first step to a zero-waste kitchen is to consider what your kitchen does that produces waste in the first place. Trash and food waste are the two greatest culprits, and you should have a plan to deal with both on-site. Composting non-meat food waste is a no-brainer. Recycling what can be recycled is as well. However, what few people realize is that, in most metropolitan areas, there are recycling facilities that can handle 90% of post-consumer waste between them. Sit down and think about what you have that cannot be composted or recycled, and make a list. Read the rest of this entry »
July 22nd, 2014
Think all professional kitchens looks like the spaces on Iron Chef? Think again. In reality, the fact is that professional kitchens are often small and cramped; hardly the conditions you see on TV. What’s more, there are two types of restaurant kitchens: those that run like well-oiled machines, and those that are chaotic and messy. Fortunately, by using space logically, following the rules of ergonomics, and leveraging some equipment that can perform several functions, you can create an efficient kitchen no matter how much restaurant equipment you have filling your space.
Less Is More
Finding items that can do more than they appear is the key to saving kitchen space. Don’t have room for a food processor, blender, coffee grinder, bread maker, and mortar and pestle? One good tool (be it a food processor or a Hamilton Beach blender) can do all of those things and more. And as much as chefs love knives, a kitchen only needs a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a slicing knife. And the right box grater can take the place of a mandolin, a spice grinder, and multiple different kinds of shredders at the same time. Read the rest of this entry »
July 15th, 2014
The folks at Ice-O-Matic, makers of marvelous ice machines and dispensers, have outdone themselves yet again on the energy efficiency front. The Ice-O-Matic brand already has plenty of ice machines that are Energy Star-approved, and has recently added another to the lineup: the ICEU226A. This space-saving, ice-making beauty saves as much or more energy than its counterpart ice machines of the same capacity. In addition to its superior energy-saving capabilities, the ICEU226A has a production rate of up to 251 pounds of ice per day, interior anti-microbial protection, and an anti-corrosion stainless steel exterior. No wonder Energy Star gave it the seal of approval. Read the rest of this entry »
July 7th, 2014
Restaurant kitchens are fast-paced work environments, which means things can get pretty hectic. Having all your restaurant’s essential documents readily available ensures that operations run smoothly and safely. So, which documents are most important to have in your kitchen?
1. Licenses and Permits
The most important documents to keep accessible in your restaurant are your various licenses and permits. Many state governments mandate that a food service license and sellers permit remain visible in the restaurant. Additionally, most states require that employees have food handler permits, which should be kept on file in the restaurant. If you aren’t sure about what license and permits you need to have, check with your local or state health department.
2. Employee Handbook
Employee handbooks shouldn’t just be distributed when you hire new employees. Having an employee handbook nearby can aid your employees with any questions they might have about standard operating procedures, job descriptions, or dress codes. This establishes clear expectations for both kitchen managers and employees.
3. Daily Operations Checklists Read the rest of this entry »
July 3rd, 2014
At Short Order when we work hard, we have to treat ourselves to a lunch break now and then. Today, join What’s Cooking as we learn about the Hobart Corporation.
Before the Kitchen Appliances
With a hundred years of experience combined with an innovative track record, the Hobart Corporation has a story that is compelling and deserving of recognition. It all began in 1897, when the Hobart Electric Manufacturing Company was formed. A strategic and pivotal backbone for the company, it allowed the company to pursue and invest in various product lines such as the electric meat choppers in 1905 or the Model A-80 Mixer, which dominated the commercial mixer market. The company would reorganize itself in 1913 as the Hobart Manufacturing Company and sales would go beyond an impressive $1 million mark that same year. But the Hobart Corporation has never stopped innovating. It would go on to create a whole list of unique products like the first potato slicer, the world’s largest commercial mixer, the first electric slicer, and the classic SaniQuick Cold Water Glasswasher.
Longevity Is Spelled “H-O-B-A-R-T”
The best part about all of these great products is their longevity. Take for example the Hobart Mixer. Back in 1990, the Hobart Corporation recognized the durability of the product with a contest: “Oldest Running Hobart Mixer.” The contest drew 6,000 entries and the winning mixer was a Hobart mixer that was built in 1919 that was originally built and sold to Von Hatten’s Bakery in Fort Smith, AR. And this is just one of the many products that Hobart Corporation prides itself on.
A Variety of Product Lines
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July 2nd, 2014
If there ever was a spotless way to cook and prep food, it would be something along the lines of ‘cooking in outer space.’ You wouldn’t have to worry about any cutting boards to clean or messy paper towels, and all your food would be floating across the cabin of your spacecraft. After all, you never hear astronauts say, “Houston, did you forget to pack the detergent and bleach?” If only we could cook and eat our food like astronauts in space.
Alas, our gravity-bound environment forces us to deal with the food contact surfaces that we use every single day. Bacteria and diseases are more prevalent than ever and proper sanitization and cleaning are vital to keeping a healthy lifestyle. Here are some down-to-Earth steps for keeping your kitchen countertops clean and sanitized.
The first step is to clean and give your surface a good scrub down. This is the hard work such as scraping and wiping down the food- contact surfaces. If any type of raw meat touched the surface in question, grab a pair of rubber gloves to prevent the spread of salmonella or other bacteria and scrub away. Read the rest of this entry »
July 1st, 2014
What can you use a utility cart for? Use your imagination. Towering cakes? You bet. Floral arrangements? For certain. Laundry loads? Yes indeed. There are utility carts of all shapes and sizes, made for all kinds of businesses. So where to start when buying a utility cart? Consider the 3 C’s: capacity, casters, and construction.
What will your cart be holding? Will it primarily support pastries, or bear the weight of bussing buckets and dishes? All that poundage can add up pretty quickly, so make sure you account for the weight capacity of your cart. Depending on size and construction, utility carts can hold and evenly distribute between 200 and 1,000 pounds.
What’s a cart without its casters? Yep. Just a bunch of shelves. Utility carts are available both with and without locking brakes, as well as with ball-bearing casters and swivel casters.
Read the rest of this entry »
June 23rd, 2014
You know the old saying “Don’t dish it out if you can’t take it?” At Short Order, we’re not afraid to dish it, because our dish compartment sinks can take on just about anything. Built by the fine folks at Eagle and Advance Tabco, and approved by the National Sanitation Foundation, our dish compartment sinks are a necessity in every restaurant kitchen. Compartment sinks improve kitchen workflow and keep your operation NSF-safe. But what’s the most efficient way to wash wares in a dish compartment sink? Working from left to right in a three-compartment sink, here is the best way to wash utensils and cookware in your restaurant kitchen’s dish compartment sink.
Compartment 1: Food Removal
Because some foods are notoriously tough to remove from dishes, cutlery, and cookware, your first step in the cleaning process should be an initial scrub to get rid of food particles. Next, wash items with detergent in water heated to a minimum of 110°F. Drain the water every so often to keep up the cleansing process. When washing aluminum cookware, make sure the cookware has cooled before washing so it won’t warp, never soak it, and try using baking soda or vinegar for extra-tough food removal. (For washing tips for other types of cookware, check out this What’s Cooking post.)
Compartment 2: Rinse
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June 18th, 2014
Here at Short Order, we’re all about making life in the kitchen easier. We know what kinds of equipment it takes to keep a restaurant kitchen running smoothly… and we don’t want to be shelve-ish about sharing our tips. Read on and see for your-shelf how you can stay organized with the right carts and shelving.
Types of Shelving
- Dunnage racks are best for keeping heavy items off the floor. They come in a variety of sizes from brands like Lakeside, Metro, and New Age.
- Dry storage shelving kits are a versatile way to organize anything from pans to pickle jars. Strong, adjustable, and available in a variety of sizes, dry storage shelving is a good catch-all for your equipment and supplies.
- Keg racks are suitable for… what else? Kegs. Though you can likely get away with putting your kegs on another type of shelving, keg racks are specifically made to support the weight and shape of kegs.
- Display shelving is a great way to put your grab-and-go products front and center. Get those dry goods out from the storage room or behind the counter and place them where customers can see them.
- Security carts are useful for items in your kitchen that need extra protection. An enclosed security cart is best for products like alcohol, and is especially useful for caterers who tend to work off-site and need a safe way to transport goods. Security carts are available as stationary units are mobile units.
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June 11th, 2014
Is it getting hot on this blog, or is it just us? Recently we have demonstrated our love for cook-and-hold ovens of the Alto-Shaam variety, and helped restaurants prepare for summer. Today we continue this trend by focusing on our humble friend the holding cabinet. Heated holding cabinets are meant to keep food warm and delicious until it’s ready to serve to customers, so you’ll never serve your diners a cold casserole or a chilly chicken. But the same traits that give holding cabinets their reputation for patience and perfection can also make them energy gluttons. So how can you keep your trusty holding cabinets in good working order while keeping those energy bills down? Here are our top 6 tips for saving energy with your holding cabinets.
1. Pick the right cabinet for the right job. There are several types of holding cabinets, including mobile cabinets, countertop cabinets, and pizza cabinets. You can also choose between half height and full size, plus wattages of 120/1v and 208-240v. Choose the best one for your restaurant’s needs, that way your cabinet won’t be underutilized and wasting energy, or (conversely) overworked and consuming too much energy.
2. Choose insulated cabinets over uninsulated cabinets. Insulated holding cabinets are up to 65% more efficient when it comes to trapping heat vs. uninsulated cabinets.
3. Go Energy Star certified. Kitchen equipment and appliances that have been Energy Star certified have been proven to perform as well as or better than their more wasteful counterparts on the market. Make sure your holding cabinet has that little blue sticker before you make your purchase. Read the rest of this entry »
A Restaurant Equipment Blog for the Enhanced Professional Kitchen