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Solving the Challenges of Traditional Batch Cooking

Even before COVID-19, foodservice operators were re-evaluating their operations and kitchen equipment to tackle the universal need to do more with less, while not sacrificing quality. With the outbreak of a global pandemic, these considerations have become even more of a priority as operators look to confront the challenges of today while keeping an eye on the future, as the industry plans its recovery.     

Traditional convection ovens, for example, have long had their supporters, and in the hands of a competently trained professional can produce some tremendous results. But they have their downsides too. Convection ovens need to be constantly monitored and knowing when the food is cooked properly is as much about guesswork as anything else is.

Setting the cooking time isn’t enough; batch cooking a variety of food properly in a convection oven relies on the skills of the chef. Because all food items are being cooked at the same temperature and fan speed during the cook process chefs are required to judge by the color of the food whether it’s cooked properly and then pull it for service. That may be fine when the oven contains a single item of food in a single pan, but for multiple items in multiple pans, this can lead to inconsistent cooking, increased food waste and added stress in the kitchen. Additionally, every time the oven door is opened cook times and the quality of cook are negatively impacted as the oven loses temperature and air is unequally distributed. Further impacting operational costs, what some operators have done is buy a second oven so that they have a spare should their first unit fail. What happens in reality is the ‘reserve’ unit is hardly used, but still takes up valuable (and unproductive) kitchen space that operators can ill afford.

A further challenge is keeping the ovens clean. Convection ovens blow air forward to the door. Unfortunately, they don’t just blow air, but also all of the grease and oils from the product that’s cooking, and so you have chicken grease all over the door that needs to be cleaned, and in some cases, all over the kitchen employee as they open the door.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. When Alto-Shaam launched its Vector® F Series Multi-Cook Ovens, it did so mindful of solving the batch cooking challenges that foodservice operators throughout the industry face.

The Vector F features up to four independent chambers in one oven, meaning that operators can control the temperature, fan speed and time in each individual oven chamber for maximum flexibility. Gone are the days of cooking multiple food items at the same temperature and fan speed. Vector ovens allow you to simultaneously cook a variety of menu items, to a consistent quality, with no flavor transfer – and no intense monitoring. Cooking food at each optimal temperature, fan speed and time allows for unmatched cooking results. An alert sounds when the cooking is done, and heat does not escape when the door is opened. Neither does it leave the oven door or chef with covered in grease!

Thanks to Alto-Shaam’s Structured Air Technology®, the Vector F Series Multi-Cook ovens can cook twice as much food up to two-times faster than their traditional counterparts. The patented technology enables high velocity, focused heat for faster, more even cooking, ensuring the highest quality output.

Productivity is further enhanced as there is no need to watch or rotate the pans as the food is being cooked, enabling operators to reduce the number of kitchen staff required or allocate them to other more value-added duties.

The new ovens also feature Alto-Shaam’s most advanced controls yet, but are very simple to use and require little or no operator training.  The ovens can also be managed remotely through Alto-Shaam’s innovative cloud-based system, ChefLinc™. Equipped with an intuitive dashboard, ChefLinc allows operators to seamlessly create, manage and distribute recipes to ovens through the cloud, providing foodservice operators complete control of their equipment, menus and business from wherever they are.

Alto-Shaam believes in empowering kitchens to produce a variety of food the way each is meant to be cooked – effortlessly, consistently, and to the highest quality and volume.

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