Hayden Groves, Elior's executive chef at Lloyds of London, is to guest speak at the forthcoming Induction Cooking Equipment Forum, in association with the Catering Equipment Suppliers Association (CESA). He spoke to Janie Stamford about clever kit.
What will you be talking about? CESA director Keith Warren asked me to talk about my personal experience of using induction technology here at Lloyds. We moved away from conventional gas solid tops in August last year. We considered everything from extraction to ergonomics and a comfortable working environment and induction ticked all the boxes.
What are the benefits of induction? Flexibility, speed and power. It's a very versatile and efficient technology - you only need to turn it on when it's in use; you can put a cloth and chopping board on it and use the surface as prep space; and cleaning is very easy because it's a smooth surface. The working environment remains cool, too. Plus all the other electrical equipment will run more efficiently because they're not operating in 40°-plus heat.
Do the benefits outweigh any cost implication associated with buying specialist equipment? The initial power and enabling works need to be factored in, but we have three levels of induction at Lloyds: plug and play 13 amp models, which are moved around the sections as needed; hard-wired, three-phase machines; and the most fantastic Menu System Generation 5 Suite in our finishing kitchen. They all have their place and have very different price points. We've already noted a saving on our extraction.
Are there any limitations to induction cooking? You need specific pans, and this is where buying cheap means buying twice. A higher quality pan will yield a more efficient energy transfer. So less power is needed and ultimately over time it pays for the pan several times over.
Is this cooking method taught in colleges? Some colleges do but I don't believe it is widespread in the UK. It should be, though, because we're moving away from fossil fuels. As it becomes more widespread, hopefully costs will come down.