The combi-steamer oven is a popular choice in kitchens all over the world, due to fast cooking times and its range of cooking technologies. However, choosing a combi-steamer isn’t always a one size fits all deal. Before you make the decision of which Convotherm combi-steamer oven to bring into your kitchen operation, there are three questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you make the right decision.
What is my serving capacity during peak meal times?
The type of combi-steamer oven best suited for your kitchen depends on your output. Whether you’re catering for a sizeable conference or cooking en masse for hospital patients, having equipment that shifts a large number of meals during service times is key to ensure your patrons and patients are satisfied. With the capacity to cook 122 plates in one cooking cycle, Convotherm 40 Tray Combi-Steamer Oven is an efficient bulk meal solution to invest in.
One of the major benefits of the Convotherm 40 Tray easyDial or easyTouch Combi-Steamer is that it allows chefs to prepare meals in advance. One of the challenges of large scale kitchen operations is service times. Having an oven with a high capacity allows for both ease of cooking and the benefit of serving meals around the same time, which your patrons will appreciate.
What do I want my combi to do?
Bringing a combi-steamer oven into your kitchen can help in saving valuable floor space as it offers four different cooking technologies in one appliance. The Convotherm range of combis allows you to cook in a variety of functions, including:
Convection ovens are a popular choice among chefs as they allow for fast cooking without compromising food quality. Most importantly, a convection oven keeps an even temperature throughout the oven chamber for an unrivalled cooking standard. Traditionally, conventional ovens use heat that comes from both the top and bottom of the chamber. This means that items closer to the bottom of the oven are cooked quickly, however, those at the top are being cooked at a higher force as heat rises. This creates an issue in that chefs need to monitor the different foods on the various racks, rather than checking the oven routinely and efficiently. Convection ovens, however, eliminate the need for this stress by circulating hot air around the oven chamber and across the various racks. This ensures that food is not only cooked evenly but quickly too.
Steam heat is perfect in maintaining succulent, juicy meat and making sure baked goods aren’t getting too dry in the oven chamber. Water is injected into the chamber and quickly turns to steam within the heat of the oven. Steam is excellent in retaining food flavour and can speed up the cooking process.
Blending the best of the two aforementioned heat technologies, combi-steam heat is incredibly popular in commercial cooking operations for the high quality of food that they produce. An oven utilising both steam and convection heat to maintain exact humidity levels within the chamber.
A major headache for catering chefs, in particular, is preparing large volumes of food prior to peak serving times and being able to reheat and serve these without detriment to the flavour or quality. Through regenerative cooking, frozen or pre-cooked foods are gently reheated with a gradual rise in temperature to retain quality. This allows large scale cooking operations to prepare meals ahead of time for quicker serving times
Through combining these different functions, there is a large range of cooking types that can be achieved using a Convotherm combi, including:
- Overnight low-temperature cooking
- Sous Vide
- Core probe cooking
- Multi-step cooking
- Mixed load cooking
The flexibility of the Convotherm combi-steam ovens makes it a fantastic investment for kitchens across the board, from small cafes to large catering companies, as there is a lesser need for multiple appliances to purchase and maintain.
What type of combi do I need?
Determining which combi-steam oven to invest in ultimately depends on the size of your cooking operation and what you would like your combi to do for you.
There are a variety of different combi sizes in the Convotherm range, all perfect for a variety of kitchen operations. For cafes, the 10 tray size Convotherm Combi-Steamer is an ideal size to prepare a great number of meals without overcompensating. Beyond size, the level of usability required for your business is crucial when deciding which combi-steamer to invest in. The combi-steamers across the Convotherm range allow for two different control options, each providing their own benefits in regards on the ease of use.
The easyDial option is fantastic for those who appreciate the functionality of traditional oven controls. Simple to use, easyDial allows for setting time and temperature with the indicative scroll dial. This option allows for multi-step cooking programs to be loaded into the oven, a feature appreciated in cafes across the board. A fan of the easyDial 10 Tray Combi, Alex Smit of the Riverdeck Cafe favours the ease of use. “You’re always learning, but it’s very straightforward.”
This ease of use is explored further in the easyTouch alternative. Full automation takes charge in this variety, with big benefits for larger kitchen operations. The easyTouch option allows for up to 399 cooking profiles to be programmed in the system, which can be easily edited and reuploaded to adapt to changing techniques. In many large kitchen operations, there simply isn’t enough time to walk each employee through the cooking process for individual items. Through the intuitive, icon driven interface of easyTouch, your staff will be able to pick up and adapt to different cooking processes to make sure meals are flowing smoothly.
The Convotherm 4 range of combi-ovens are all equipped with ACS+ technology, guaranteed to transform your cooking processes. Within the new ACS+ system, the BakePro mode is a great assistant in determining the right rest time for your steamed products. Simply select the amount of moisture you would like for your food, and the Convotherm will intelligently select the correct rest time. Furthermore, the HumidityPro feature allows manual control of moisture to avoid food drying out in the heat.
Ready to test-drive a combi oven for yourself? Our team of Moffat IQ experts know the commercial kitchen world inside and out, and are readily available to help you determine the best oven for your operation. For more information, get in touch with the team.