Monthly Archives: September 2009

  • Knife Buying Guide

    Executive chefs, sous chefs, line cooks, culinary students, housewives, and just about anyone that's ever prepared a meal all have something in common: the tools they use in the kitchen. Most novices, at-home cooks, and even respected chefs don't need the expensive specialty tools sold at high end outlets to whip-up a meal. If every executive chef in the US were asked to pick the three tools they use most often during the course of their work day I'd be willing to bet one tool would find itself on every single list: a knife. Obviously, the shape and size of the knives would vary, but the fact is kitchen knives are one of the most essential culinary tools. That being said, it's important to pick the right knife for the job. FORGED KNIVES VS STAMPED KNIVES: Forging is a method that involves heating steel or steel alloy at extremely high temperatures then setting and hammering the steel into a desired blade shape. Once the steel is forged into a blade it's heat-treated, ground, polished and sharpened. The end result is generally a thicker and heavier blade that's able to retain its sharpness longer while remaining properly balanced. Stamped knives are "stamped" or cut out of sheets of rolled steel. Although stamped knives are lighter and more affordable, they lack the quality and balance of forged blades and usually need to be sharpened more frequently. DIFFERENT STYLES:
    Mundial Chef's Knives CHEF'S AND COOK'S KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Vary in size (6-12 inches in length), 8 inch being the most popular
    • Wide, curved edge ideal for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing
    Mundial Paring Knives PARING KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Vary in size (usually 2-4 inches in length) and style (sheep's foot, spear point, chef's style, clip point, tourné)
    • Smaller size ideal for garnishing and peeling
    Mundial Utility Knives UTILITY KNIVES:
    • All-purpose knife
    • Between paring and chef's knives in size (6-7 inches generally most popular)
    • Useful when cutting non-solid fruits and vegetables, like oranges and tomatoes
    Mundial Santokus SANTOKUS:
    • Commonly referred to as the "Asian Chef's Knife"
    • All-purpose knife generally lighter, shorter (5-7 inches in length), and thinner than chef's knives
    • Straighter, more blunted edge ideal for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing
    Mundial Slicers SLICERS:
    • Primarily used for cutting and slicing meats
    • Long and narrow knife (usually 8-14 inches in length), often has a rounded tip
    • Long, flexible blade makes it easy to cut meat into thin slices
    Mundial Boning Knives BONING KNIVES:
    • Used to separate bones from meat
    • Narrow blade (4 to 8 inches in length), either flexible or stiff
    • Flexible boning knives are great for fish and poultry, while stiff boning knives are better suited for beef and pork
    Mundial Bread Knives BREAD KNIVES:
    • Serrated knife used to slice loafed bread or food with a hard outer surface and a soft center
    • Shorter and heavier than a slicer (6 to 12 inches in length)
    Mundial Butcher Knives BUTCHER KNIVES AND CIMETERS:
    • Suitable for chopping, dicing, mincing, and slicing meats, as well as trimming and cutting joints
    • Long, wide knife with a breaking blade (8 to 12 inches in length)
    Mundial Oyster Knives OYSTER KNIVES:
    • Used to pry open oysters
    • Short knife (3 to 4 inches) with blunted edge and tip
    Mundial Cleavers CLEAVERS:
    • Used to cut through and split bones
    • Thick, heavy blade is rectangular in shape and very stiff
    • Light-duty "Chinese Cleavers" are similar in shape but aren't intended for the same use

    Choosing the correct knife for different culinary duties usually isn't difficult. Obviously, it makes more sense to use a large chef's knife to slice a watermelon than it does to use a small paring knife! There are other things to consider when choosing the right knife, though. The blade of a knife is extremely important, but the handle can't be overlooked when deciding which knife to purchase.

    Food-borne illness is a genuine scare in the food service industry so cleanliness keeps the doors of restaurants, bars, hotels, and other eateries open for business. An easy way to avoid contamination and keep the health department happy is to use knives with anti-microbial handles. These handles act as a safeguard against the growth and spread of microorganisms. Although there are a number of materials used for knife handles, in the food service industry it's absolutely necessary to use a handle that's going to reduce the risk of food related infection.

    For more information on knives for your food service establishment, visit Mission Restaurant Supply!

  • The Benefits of Filtering Your Fryer Oil

    Although most restaurants have become more conscious of adding healthy menu items or offering fewer dishes perceived as unhealthy, you'll still find deep fried entrees on the carte du jour. It's hard to resist a heaping mound of crispy, golden french fries or beer-battered southern fried chicken! If you have a hamburger on the menu more often than not it's accompanied by some form of deep fried goodness. It doesn't take a lot to make fried fish or onion rings taste delicious but it also doesn't take much for them to taste inedible either. The number one priority of restaurant owners and operators is to make sure the customer is satisfied with their meal when they leave. Their second priority is keeping food and operating costs low. The oil used in deep fryers is not only responsible for making fried food mouthwatering, it's also a HUGE operating expense. To ensure the flavor of fried food is never compromised and the cost of shortening remains low, it's absolutely necessary to filter your oil! We've already established the importance of filtering your fryer oil: assuring food quality and reducing operating costs. But what choices are there for filtering?

    Grease

    The least expensive way to filter oil is to use a grease filter cone rack. These are perfect for restaurants and bars that only have a few fried items on their menu. All that's needed is a grease filter cone rack, grease filter cones, and a large stock pot. To filter the oil, insert a grease filter cone into the rack and then place the rack on top of the stock pot. Fryers have a drain valve in front of the unit. Attach a separate hose or over-flow pipe to the drain valve and gradually let the oil run through the filter cone into the stock pot. The paper filter cone will collect crumbs and food particles that can cause unwanted taste transfers. By reducing the number of contaminants in your shortening you'll also maximize the life of your oil. Not only will your fried food taste better, you'll also get more use out of your expensive oil!

    Portable

    For high volume restaurants that primarily offer fried menu items it's probably necessary to buy a portable fryer filter machine. When using a fryer filter machine you simply roll the low-profile, portable unit under the fryer's drain valve and slowly drain the oil from the fryer into the filter. Once the oil has been filtered, a return hose pumps the oil from the filter back into the fryer's vat. There are also fryers that have built-in filtration systems installed by the manufacturer but they are often expensive and unnecessary for Mom and Pop restaurants. Of course, oil has to be replaced regularly; but to enhance the taste of your fried food and reduce operating expenses it's important to filter your oil weekly if not daily. For more information about fryers, portable fryer filter machines, and grease filter cone racks visit Mission Restaurant Supply!

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