Do I Need a Combi or Converge® Multi-Cook Oven?

Make an informed decision that suits your application needs by knowing the differences between our top two pieces of multi-functional equipment: compact combi ovens and Converge® multi-cook ovens.

Choosing the right commercial kitchen appliances can be a long, strenuous, and expensive process. With so many different options on the market, it can be challenging—and overwhelming— to find the best option for your needs, especially when space is limited. Today, multi-functional pieces of equipment are becoming the go-to option to help operators do more with less. How do you choose which is best for you? Below we’ve outlined the differences between our top two pieces of compact multi-functional equipment: combi ovens and Converge® multi-cook combi ovens.

In general, combi ovens (short for combination ovens) are well known commercial kitchen equipment in the industry for their batch-cooking capabilities to produce high-quality, delicious food for customers. On the other hand, multi-cook ovens are the newest category in the commercial kitchen equipment realm. These ovens can produce a variety of different food items at the same time, with no flavor transfer between shelves for consistent meals on-demand.

Whether you choose a multi-cook oven or a compact combi oven will depend on your application needs. Here are the similarities and differences to help guide your decision, as well as some of the best application needs for each of these ovens.

Compact Combi Ovens and Their Benefits

A compact combi oven is a countertop sized oven that combines multiple cooking functions in a single appliance, such as steam, convection, or a combination of both. With these different applications and available accessories, these ovens do the work of a convection oven, kettle, steamer, fryer, smoker, and more in a single chamber.

A common tabletop combi solution is Alto-Shaam’s Prodigi™ 6-10 Pro compact combi ovenThis oven offers the capability for bulk cooking a variety of menu items all in a compact design.

To maximize space and savings, these ovens are ventless and can be operated outside of a traditional kitchen hood when paired with a Ventech™ or Venech™ PLUS Type 1 hood. These optional hoods condense steam while capturing and removing grease-laden air and vapors. Additionally, Prodigi combi ovens are self-cleaning to support operators and allow them to focus on other areas of need.

How does combi technology work? Alto-Shaam combi ovens feature boilerless, flash-steam generation to precisely control and adjust humidity levels without a water reservoir. Operators can cook in convection, steam, or combi mode, dialing in temperature and moisture for an unprecedented level of cooking control.

Multi-Cook Combi Ovens and Their Benefits

As mentioned, a multi-cook combi oven is a new category of ovens launched by Alto-Shaam in 2022. With it, operators can execute up to three different cooking applications in independent oven chambers at the exact same time, without any flavor or moisture transfer.

Alto-Shaam’s Converge® ovens act as a multi-chamber combi oven with up to three combis in one ventless footprint. Operators can execute a variety of combi cooking applications at the same time, with the ability to steam, bake, air fry, and more – all in a compact design. So, an operator can bake cookies, steam broccoli, and air fry empanadas in separate chambers at the same time with no flavor transfer.

These certified ventless ovens can be placed anywhere outside a traditional kitchen hood without an added accessory. They can also be stacked with another Converge or holding solution to further maximize space. With an automatic, self-cleaning design, these ovens also save time and labor.

How does it work? Structured Air Technology® offers up to three independent combis in a single footprint. High velocity, vertical upward and downward airflow travels through each shelf to deliver faster, more even and consistent cooking than other cooking methods. When compared to a combi, this technology offers more versatility and cooking applications at the same time.  

Use Case Scenarios and Applications

When would you choose to purchase a compact combi or a Converge multi-cook oven?

If your business produces food items in bulk and you’re limited on space, such as a catering business, restaurant or hotel, a compact combi would be your recommended solution. Designed for batch cooking, this oven can produce food at the highest quality using a single cooking application at one time, such as steam. An example use case would be steaming multiple vegetables and starches on the same cook setting for food service later in the day.

A Converge multi-cook oven is best for operations that serve food on-demand or a la minute, such as full service and limited-service restaurants, cafés, convenience stores, hotels, and more. These ovens can reduce equipment on the line by being able to cook a variety of different foods simultaneously—with different cooking applications—at the highest quality. This gives operators the flexibility to fulfill orders quickly to customer request.

Keep You and Your Ovens Connected

Whether you choose Alto-Shaam’s Prodigi 6-10 Pro countertop combi oven, Converge multi-cook oven, or both, having a streamlined process can help your operations become more efficient. With ChefLinc™ remote oven management system, operators are given complete control of their equipment, menus and business, no matter where they are located. Connect to compatible ovens to seamlessly push and pull recipes, view oven status, receive detailed service diagnostics, and more. Utilize Alto-Shaam’s global recipe library to gain culinary insight, curate recipes to your business, and easily roll out limited time offers.

Although both ovens are similar in many ways, each has their own use case scenarios and applications to help your business succeed. Compact combis can fit in tight spaces and do well at producing batches of food items. Converge multi-cook ovens are also compact but have added flexibility to fire multiple food items with different programmed recipes and cook settings simultaneously.

Unsure as to which oven makes the best fit in your kitchen? Contact an expert to learn more and discuss your specific needs, space restrictions, and menu items. Additionally, you can attend A Taste of Alto-Shaam to see both solutions in action.

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