If you love to cook, you may have considered at one point cooking professionally. If you have done, or even if you just admire chefs and have an interest in how food gets delivered to you when you’re eating out, you might have wondered what a commercial kitchen looks like. It’s a huge investment for the restaurant and often the equipment is really intriguing to amateur cooks, so here is what you might use every day if you were a professional chef.
Before the customers start coming in, you’ll have a delivery of fresh food for the day. This is one of the most obvious requirements for a commercial kitchen – you’ll need somewhere to store food! Commercial fridges can be integrated into a counter to save space, and according to Fridge Freezer Direct have been tested in rooms that have reached temperatures above 30°C. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, so no matter the size of the kitchen, there is something to suit everyone.
However, some storage fridges and freezers are found in separate areas to the kitchen. Having a separate room will ensure that the heat of the kitchen never affects the refrigerator. Both options work for professional businesses, and sometimes it is just a matter of preference, some prefer the convenience of commercial fridges while others love having the fridges away from the rest of the kitchen.
This is when the magic happens. Chefs need a prep station for each area of cooking. Typically, due to the influence of Escoffier, the kitchen flows in a logical order from food storage to a cooking area. Commercial kitchens need mechanisms to keep foods separate and avoid food cross-contamination, which can come from color-coded chopping boards, easy to clean stainless steel prep tables, and a hand basin in every area that needs it.
There are many types of ovens but, in general, they are either gas or electric. Gas ovens are heavier duty and more responsive to heat adjustments, but tend to come with a higher cost and some kitchens may not even have access to a gas supply. If a kitchen is pushed for space, combi ovens have many functions and reduce the need for extra equipment. Every kitchen needs an extraction unit as the kitchen fumes, though they may smell nice, can be dangerous with constant exposure.
A kitchen also tends to need a fryer, which helps out when cooking foods like chips as they are fast and efficient. They can be standalone or countertop, depending on whether the restaurant cooks a large quantity of fried food or wants to save space, respectively. Some kitchens have microwaves, and in kitchens these are large, durable machines compared to domestic microwaves, which lose power as they get older and aren’t cleaned as efficiently.
Getting the right dishwasher can actually be pretty tricky – you need to get one that fits the required use perfectly or else you’ll waste electricity and hence money with every use. You need to work out the rough volume of kitchenware and crockery that you’d use every service and decide if you want an under-counter (medium volume), pass dishwasher (medium to high volume), or conveyer (very high volume). Some kitchens additionally have waste compactors and their own recycling program for their food waste.
These are the essentials for all commercial kitchens, but as cooking is as much art as a commercial industry, the exact contents of kitchens can vary massively. If a kitchen specializes in Italian food, you may see a wood-fired pizza oven, or if the kitchen is Michelin starred, you may see all sorts of scientific-looking gastronomic machines. There is no one set recipe for designing a kitchen and this is part of the skill of the chef.