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Have a chance to re-equip kitchen and need opinions

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 

I have the chance to re-equip the kitchen in the private school I work at. This will take several years, but I am looking at new griddle (72") fryer station, range, convection ovens, under-counter coolers and walk-ins.

It has been @ 10 years since I have made such a massive purchase and would welcome pro's opinions on the equipment they are using or have used in past.

Back in the day, I had great luck with Wolf and Garland for griddles and ranges, the Vulcan I have now do not impress me much. They are only @ 10 years old and are not in great shape. Any feedback?

post #2 of 11

griddles are terrible. worst cooking surface in the world.  you need a combination oven no doubt.  and you got to get into the heavy duty stuff, the hotel lines.  don't mess with the semi-pro twnty something thousand btu junk.  http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/garland/m44s/p427.aspx  that is a real range.  you wont have any issues with that guy.  35,000 btu's/burner.  i mean, bad***.  so here;s a checklist
:

1. Combi-Oven

2. Bad*** Garland Ranges

3. Some epic fryers with the internal filter or something

4. some undercounter lowboys (its a school you don't need a sandwich prep fridge i assume)

5. new walk in (energy star!)

6. charbroiler

 

so yeah, back to 72" griddles.  what in god's name are you cooking on that at a private school?

post #3 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by lessthanwill22 View Post

griddles are terrible. worst cooking surface in the world.  you need a combination oven no doubt.  and you got to get into the heavy duty stuff, the hotel lines.  don't mess with the semi-pro twnty something thousand btu junk.  http://www.foodservicewarehouse.com/garland/m44s/p427.aspx  that is a real range.  you wont have any issues with that guy.  35,000 btu's/burner.  i mean, bad***.  so here;s a checklist
:

1. Combi-Oven

2. Bad*** Garland Ranges

3. Some epic fryers with the internal filter or something

4. some undercounter lowboys (its a school you don't need a sandwich prep fridge i assume)

5. new walk in (energy star!)

6. charbroiler

 

so yeah, back to 72" griddles.  what in god's name are you cooking on that at a private school?


Nice. really? You have no viable use for a griddle? I can think of a good number just for breakfast, also are bad*** and epic brand names or models? Lighten up.

 

p.s. - you say your experience is that you can't boil water and yet you question (rudely) someone who says they are a Chef. Maybe you can elucidate why you are posting in the Professional side of the forums, are you a Professional cook? If so, please change your status.

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post #4 of 11

Best equipment?

Best is well bult, for sure, and solid warranty, BUT, best is the mnfctr who has a good representitive and a good food eqpt store with good service in your area

 

Griddles are extremely flexible, from pancakes to fried rice to searing meat off for stews to crab cakes to pork chops to.....

 

Hate deep fryers with a passion that ranks up there with unions.......

 

Actually the most flexible piece of equipment is a tilting skillet.

 

I'd throw in at least one steam kettle, and, if space and budget allows, a steamer.

 

yeah, yeah, a Rational oven rocks, but if you use it to steam stuff, (hint: it's not as fast as a real steamer), you can't bake with it.  The best use for a rational oven is re-generation-load in cold plates, and 10 mins later unload perfectly heated banquet ready hot plates.

 

Ooohhh to spend someone else's cash on new toys!!!! 

 

Dishpit?  New dishwasher and dish tabling?

Walk-ins and freezers?

New floor with honest-to-god floor drains?

Hood and ventialtion system O.K. to handle new upgrades?

Don't forget to budget fire supresson upgrades for new eqpt under the hood...

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #5 of 11

do have a budget to lease your reach-ins? I ask cause the last place I worked they bought them used for a "good price" and they ended up breaking after a few months and the cost of replacing the compressors and cooling systems was about the same price as they had paid for them originally. On a lease you should get repairs and replacements as part of the deal. 

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post #6 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post




Nice. really? You have no viable use for a griddle? I can think of a good number just for breakfast, also are bad*** and epic brand names or models? Lighten up.

 

p.s. - you say your experience is that you can't boil water and yet you question (rudely) someone who says they are a Chef. Maybe you can elucidate why you are posting in the Professional side of the forums, are you a Professional cook? If so, please change your status.

i think it's quite obvious that my cooking experience goes a little further than boiling water.  no, bad*** and epic aren't brand names or models but someone well versed in professional cooking equipment can understand what is bad*** and epic.  yes, i am a professional cook.  i am sorry i insulted you gunnar.  i was helping this guy out and the best way to help someone out when they're about to drop some serious cash on a kitchen is to question everything (kind of like what you should do in the kitchen as a cook).  i play the devils advocate.  now back to the real questions:

 

1. how many students get served each day?

2. How many meals/ which meals?

3. how many cooks do you have.

4. how big is your kitchen/budget

etc. 

 

not to sound rude (again) but why would you sear meat for a stew on a griddle and lose the flavor you can't deglaze off of it?  i think for a kitchen for a school a tilt skillet would be much more suitable than a griddle.  plus a 72" griddle wastes energy, that is a lot of surface area that you are heating up and keeping constantly hot.  i say, deeply question your need for a griddle (of that size) and then make a decision. i know i kind of shot griddles down hard in my last post but i do understand they are useful in some instances. buy what ever you want.  and if you're going to get a new walk-in i suggest taking a good long time weighing the options of lease vs. buy.  it isn't as simple as one is better than the other because it really depends on the circumstances.  leasing is great if you cant afford to repair/replace that kind of equipment when i breaks (which it will), but as a school i'm sure that there is an HVAC specialist on payroll who can fix that sort of thing, in which case it will be significantly cheaper in the long run to buy a walk-in.  leasing in the long run will cost you more than buying it if you have someone on staff who can fix such things.  there is no such thing as a fridge that isn't going to break down eventually. 

 

as for combi ovens.  you can bake/steam/both with them.  blodgett is the brand to go by.  http://www.blodgett.com/combi_full.htm  here is a link to some literature to help with your decision making.

 

and if the school has some serious money try looking for those dish sinks that circulate the water in the soap sink and skim the grease from it and say goodbye to greasy pots and pans forever

 

p.s. gunnar, we should be friends. i like you.

post #7 of 11

All depends on what menu will be and future volume of food service.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #8 of 11

Well said, lessthanwill22. ....... and yes, we probably can be friends.biggrin.gifpeace.gif

"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #9 of 11
Thread Starter 

Thank everyone for their thoughts thus far,  in the itnerest of more information and to facilitate a prospective friendship...

We serve 440 students, 120 faculty and 100 staff, 3 meals  per day, 7 days  a week for about 220 days of the year with summer programs for 350+ per day in our "down time".  On average we do about 7500 meals per week.

 

We already have 2 large steam kettles, tilt skillet, 2 steamers,  four burner range, char broiler, 3 fryers, four convection ovens and two ranges with 36" griddles in addition to fully equiped bakery. We also have 3 walk-in coolers, two freezers and three roll-in coolers. I want to update the two griddle top ranges and the fryers  and replace one cooler and freezer in the next year and the range and ovens within the next two years.

The tilt skillet and steam cabinets are less than 5 years old and work fine and the kettles work off live-steam and are in no need of replacement.

We use the griddles for breakfast daily and variety of tasks throughout the day. The fryers are not used daily, but are hard used when needed. All the current equipement are Vulcan and lack electronic ignition or other energy saving functions.

Cost is not necessarily an object as the school much prefers to invest in quality for the long term instead of trying to save a few dollars in the short run.

post #10 of 11

A couple of thoughts........

 

You can replace the compressor and the coil on the walk -ins, I believe Tecumseh has a 5 yr warranty on compressors, and Bohn similiar on coils, this leaves you with the "box" which should be in decent shape--maybe a new floor or door, but the box itself rarely needs upgrading or replacing.

 

It's true all new gas equipment comes with electronic ignition, and this does save gas, compared with the older "mushroom cap" or similiar pilot lights.  Thermostatic controls on a griddle are a nice upgrade vs the standard Hi/Low controls on ranges, and extra-thick griddle plates are a dream to work with too.

 

Tilt skillets are a godsend, keep them at all costs.

 

Hate fryers with a passion, but if you do upgrade them, get two new ones and a "dummy" --a filter pump.  The most dangerous accidents happen when people manually drain and filter the fryers.  An automatic pump system (like in Mc D's and fast food places) avoids this.

 

Lessthanwill, I'd like you as friend too, but I must also defend the griddles.  In many places I've worked in that had a 36" or larger griddle, we only kept one or two sets of flames on during low periods--no one says you have to have the entire 72" fired up.  Two, if you don't have a tilt skillet and want saute off meat for a stew or braise, you can either swing a pan, or use the flat top.  You can save and use about 90% of the caramelized meat juices on the flat top if you are on the ball, either scraping the syrup off before it scorches, or loosing it with hot stock and scraping it off with two spatulas. Done it more than I care to say...

 

Rational, in my opinon makes the best combi oven.  Been using Rational since the early 80's, first in Europe, then in Asia. Once you have stuff steaming in the cavity, you can't use it to bake.  I've steamed everything in a combi from creme caramel to whole salmon to beans, and it's great, but I'd rather use the oven as an oven or for re-generation, not  as a steamer.  Far less shrinkage on a roast in a combi then in a regular Garland-style oven, so in my opinion, the combi is best used for roasting and especially re-generation.

 

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post #11 of 11
Thread Starter 

Foodpump: thanks for the combi oven thoughts. I haven't worked with one at all. The walk - in boxes are @ 20 years old and the floor in the cooler is collapsing from traffic. We re-covered in diamond pattern metal @ 6 years ago, but that is going to h--l too.  We replace compressors @ 3 years ago and may carry them over to the new box.

I agree about the tilt skillet. I had to pick one piece of equipment for any kitchen, that would be it.

I am definately going to add the filter system to the fryer station  though it will cost some space. Cost of fryer oil anymore can justify the expense, in addition to the added safety for the staff.

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