CESA, the Catering Equipment Suppliers' Association, answers your kitchen equipment queries
Which cooking range is cheaper to run: a solid-top stove or one with individual burners?
It often depends on what the kitchen is producing. A six- or eight-burner range, whether gas flames or electric radiants, concentrates the heat where it is needed. A solid-top range has a similar surface area but is capable of accommodating more than the six pans a six-burner range can hold. So, if there are times when you need to have more than six pans on the range, then the solid-top comes into its own. Depending on the design of a solid-top range, it might have fierce heat near the centre with an even heat across the remainder of the top. This can allow gentle simmering on the edge and fierce boiling or frying in the centre. If energy cost is an issue, look for a solid-top range that has the ability to power just half of the range during quiet service periods.
We are planning to replace our old dishwasher and want to know if we can get one that will do glasses and plates together. We can't afford two washing machines, one for plates and one for glasses.
Best practice is to have separate machines for glass and plates for a number of reasons. The wash-cycle time, water temperature and type of detergents are different for plates, which might have dried-on curry, compared with glasses that have had just wine or water in them.
There can also be a big problem in glasses coming out smeared with food debris if they have gone through the same wash cycle as dirty plates. There are entry-level glasswashers suitable for small restaurants which will leave budget for a robust dishwasher but if it has to be one machine for two distinct jobs, there are machines available. It's a case of contacting the warewashing equipment manufacturers or asking an equipment distributor.
A tip for using one washing machine for glasses and dirty plates is to pre-rinse the dirtier items and wash the plates and glasses on separate cycles. Also do a visual check on the glasses before they are stored away ready for use.
Being a city centre pub, we have a high demand for quick and hot meals at lunchtime. We need to buy a second microwave oven to cope with demand and can't find one beyond 2,000W. Does anyone make them?
It is possible to make a microwave oven with more than 2,000W of power, but the problem is that the heat would be so fierce that frozen food could get burned on the outside before it was heated through on the inside. That is why most makers of commercial microwaves stay sub-2,000W.
There is a new generation of commercial combination microwave ovens that combine convection heat with microwave energy and are, therefore, extremely fast. A forced hot air combination microwave would complement your existing microwave-only oven set-up extremely well.