In order to live out his fantasy, Philip Corrick intended to go for top of the range, tried and tested equipment. He also required at least three of everything as the RAC runs a busy kitchen, serving up to 1,500 meals a day.
Much of his budget was immediately swallowed up by extraction and ventilation systems, with the rest to be spent on oven ranges, refrigeration, and cutting and mixing machines. Oven ranges alone can cost between £12,000 and £80,000.
“All chefs, if they have the choice, want a Rorgue oven range,” said Corrick, so this was his first stop. “The ranges are heavy, high-powered and well-made. More importantly, they have no nooks and crannies and so are easy to clean.”
Rorgue ranges, made to the chef’s specifications, are manufactured in France and distributed by Mareno UK. They have a long life; the distributors claim they have fitted equipment that is still going 18 years later. This means low maintenance, but the distributors look after it for the first two years anyway.
For £12,000, Corrick could have chosen a Rorgue range that included a salamander grill, two open burners, a griddle plate, a bain marie, oven and hot cupboard. “With people who are thinking more about how they spend their money, nothing compares to this,” said Corrick.
Corrick was also interested in two other ranges. First, the Eco-top from Scott Benham, which included a boiling table-top with four sensors. It is said to retain heat so you save on ventilation. The whole top can be used and the manufacturers claim it is equivalent to using eight burners. The range was priced at £16,000.
Corrick also looked at the Le Chef combi oven on the Scott Benham stand. “It takes up little space and has lots of uses. It is cheaper because it is one unit,” he said. Functions include steam, dry steam and roast. It takes about five minutes to clean, and it costs about £8,000.
On the Garland stand, Corrick was impressed with the Technyform range, which included open burners, four ovens, griddles, salamanders, a plate warmer and a fry top. According to Garland, the range has been designed with cleaning and hygiene in mind.
As with the Rorgue range, Corrick was impressed by the fact that the Technyform range had no corners where food could get trapped. The range is priced at about £87,000.
Next on Corrick’s shopping list was refrigeration equipment. On the Williams’ stand, he chose work-top fridges/storage cabinets because he found them easy to clean and the mechanism slides out for maintenance. A three-door cabinet with drawers and built-in alarms costs about £3,020. Of the models in the upright fridge range, Corrick selected a two-door fridge for £2,350.
With all the refrigeration equipment, Corrick emphasised the need for equipment with computerised read-outs that can be connected up to a main computer. “If you have 35 fridges that need to be checked three times a day, it has to be done quickly,” he said.
The last items on Corrick’s tour were cutting and mixing machines. For these he looked at both the Hobart and the Robot Coupe stands.
Corrick was impressed by a floor-standing, 36-litre cutter-mixer, priced at about £7,469, on the Robot Coupe stand. Corrick commented that it is “a robust piece of equipment”. It can be used for pâtés, mousses, meats and doughs. Its two speeds ensure items can be broken down finely.
For vegetable preparation, Corrick saw a demonstration of the R602VV food processor, priced at about £2,400.
Corrick pointed out that a machine like this was a must as it reduces preparation time, allowing chefs to do other things.
As Corrick rounded up his tour, he pointed out how quickly £2m can be spent. In a real situation, he would need more time to research the equipment.