The frying squad

01 January 2000
The frying squad

Mareno's 900 series modular fryers incorporate a number of safety features, including an extra-deep surge area to prevent oil from splashing over; doors that are double-walled with heat-resistant handles; and knobs with easy grips and which are heat-resistant. There is also an automatic energy cut-out should the oil thermostat fail.

The 700-line range of electric and gas fryers from Electrolux come as counter-top or free-standing models of various sizes. One of the primary features is a V-shaped deep zone incorporating heat radiating plates attached to the outer side of the well, which allows for economical oil usage, high productivity and easy cleaning.

Blue Seal's Vee-ray gas fryers (left) employ patented infrared burners which radiate intense heat over the large area of the deep V-shaped tanks. Blue Seal claims the V-shaped tank allows for a natural cool zone which will prolong the life of the oil. Tank capacities are 20 litres in the GT 45 single-tank model and 26 litres in the GT46 twin-tank fryer. It also produces a small, counter-top gas fryer at £553.

There are 21 commercial fryers available from Lincat, which claims to offer a model to meet every requirement and budget. The Lincat fryers are in three product ranges - Lynx counter-top models; Silverlink Systems, part of the modular range of all-purpose catering equipment; and Opus 700. Most Lynx fryers plug directly into a 13amp socket, from the smallest three-litre LSF models able to cook 25lb of frozen chips per hour, to the LDF2 double fryer which will handle up to 60lb of chips an hour.

Silverlink fryers can be counter-top or freestanding, electric or gas. Models have lift-out control panels and elements and are thermostat-controlled with a fail-safe top temperature safety cut-out. Mechanical timers are standard, as are tank lids.

Opus has built-in safety and ergonomic factors in its single- and twin-tank units. The teardrop-shaped control knobs are easy to handle and recessed to avoid damage. The elements on the electric models can be lifted from the tank for cleaning, and the company claims the gas models operate 30% more efficiently than the European standard.

Included among the six categories of modular equipment from Ambassade de Bourgogne is a range of fryers of various sizes and configuration. Prices range from £864 to £1,575 excluding VAT.

Hobart's GFD gas fryer range is available in 35lb, 45lb and 65lb capacities. All are freestanding and come with electronic ignition, flame failure device and deep cool zone. The deep-set flame tubes are widely spaced to allow for cleaning.

Three WGS gas fryers are available from Wolf, equipped with twin-fry baskets for continuous or segregated frying and three or five heat-exchanger tubes depending on tank size, with a full ball-type drain valve for easy oil changes.

HMI Group offers two ranges of fryer under its Bonnet Cidelcem brand - the Grande Carte at 900mm deep and the 730mm-deep Toque Blanche models. Both can be supplied with ambient or heated chip stores and have introduced battery filtration systems which can be housed in either an ambient cupboard or below an infrared chip store. The unit comprises a mobile trolley with high-temperature pump and washable filter.

A new junior version of the Frymaster SinBaD single-basket fries dispenser is being introduced by Welbilt. The system measures fries to a predetermined weight, replacing manual portioning and weighing systems. It eliminates the need for a staging area, fry racks or extra baskets, reduces waste and gives uniform batch sizes for cooking consistency.

Also from Welbilt is a new Frymaster French fries holding station, designed to hold coated fries for up to 20 minutes. It features a cross airflow which quickly reduces the internal temperature of the fries to minimise sogginess.

Anets Golden Fry gas fryers are available from Equip Line and features include crossfire burners, which provide a four-sided heating system for consistency and efficiency; an open fry pot with sloping sides which forces food particles into an easily accessible extra-large cold zone, prolonging oil life and reducing carbon build-up; and dual oil levels of 35-50lb for varying cooking capacities.

From Williams Refrigeration comes a specialist doughnut fryer which can produce up to 336 doughnuts an hour on a five-minute production cycle. Cooking is controlled by a preset thermostat with a timer linked to a buzzer.

Valera offers the reduced risk of kitchen fires with its fat-free Quik n' Crispy fryer. The machine cooks by hot air and does not require venting. The counter-top model can handle most oven-ready products and precooked meats without flavour transference, and the non-use of oil reduces fat and cholesterol content by 20-40%.

MOST catering operations experience busy and slack periods depending on the time of day, but in the case of a football ground, serving high-speed food and drinks in the 15-minute half-time slot, the effect is significantly pronounced.

"The ground opens one-and-a-half hours before kick-off, but most people don't arrive until about 30 minutes before the start, which is when we begin to get busy," says Nicole Aspden, concourse manager at Blackburn Rovers Football Club. "But half-time is when the pressure is really on," she says.

Burgers and chips are the traditional half-time fare, and to cope with the huge volume of chips served at each match the club has 20 fryers from Parry Equipment located in kiosks around the ground. All have double baskets which will each cook 12 portions of chips in three-and-a-half minutes. The fryers can cook chips from frozen but at the club they are defrosted before frying to save cooking time.

"The upside is that we know exactly when the rush will come," Aspden says. Consequently, cooked chips are held on a hot plate and others are par-cooked and kept in the baskets ready for finishing on demand.

Burgers are grilled just before the half-time interval and held in chutes.

But knowing when the peaks and troughs will be doesn't make the work any less taxing for the staff or the equipment. The ground has a capacity of 32,000, and while not all the spectators are likely to want a portion of chips at the same time, just how many will is always an unknown quantity, which means the fryers need to be reliable and consistent.

Bruce Furness, general manager of Olympic Catering Equipment, which offers a comprehensive range from all major suppliers, is well aware of that requirement. With an enormous selection of fryers on offer, choosing the right one for your business can be a pretty daunting task. "It's vital to choose the right fryer for your operation," he says. "Too small and the fryer restricts productivity; too large and it wastes energy."

Capacities vary from counter-top units to the multi-units which come with computerised controls, automatic lifts, automatic filters and numerous other options, ideally suited to high-volume outlets such as fast-food chains. n

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