Not all kitchen equipment is created equal. While some brands cater to accessibility through low prices, others pour innovation, technology, and resources into making their products state of the art. Alto-Shaam, with its highly innovative combi ovens, Cook & Hold ovens and renowned Halo Heat technology, embodies the latter end of this spectrum. We sat down with the brand’s Executive Chef Robert Simmelink, whose been working with Alto-Shaam for twenty-one years, to learn more about how the product line can save you money in the long term while boosting efficiency in the present. Here he answers some commonly asked questions.
Blast Chillers: Only For Large Commercial Kitchens?
Despite popular belief, blast chillers can be useful in kitchens of all sizes, not just large commissaries and other high volume applications. “The whole key to the blast chiller is it cools the food so fast that it locks in the flavor and freshness,” said Chef Simmelink. He recommends that kitchens large and small fill their combi ovens with food product -- such as rice -- every few days, and rethermalize them later. Rethermalizing takes half the time as cooking, and because the blast chiller locks in freshness, sticking it back in the combi oven makes it taste flavorful and fresh. “It takes the pressure off the kitchen,” he said.
The Cook & Hold Oven is known for many things, one of which is its ability to roast meats with high yield. What else should we know about the oven?
The Alto-Shaam team strives to show consumers different applications of the most popular products, such as the famed Cook & Hold Oven. “That oven should never be sitting empty,” said Chef Simmelink adding, “You can proof bread, braise stews and shanks. We even make stocks inside the oven overnight so you don’t tie up the burner and run the hood all night.” As the name suggests, Cook and Holds aren’t just for cooking – they’re also for holding. “A Cook and Hold can hold a roast rare for 24 hours without it overcooking,” said Chef Simmelink. Its technology allows for precision holding at food safe temperatures so you can spend your time focused elsewhere. (Did you know Alto-Shaam also has a Cook & Hold Smoker Oven?)
What’s The Difference Between Holding Cabinets and Warming Drawers?
Warming Drawers and Holding Cabinets are both back of the house holding applications. People often gravitate towards warming drawers versus a traditional holding cabinet if they have a small amount of product to hold. In that case, warming drawers can be conveniently built into a station. For larger amounts of storage, Alto-Shaam’s holding cabinets are the answer. Two compartment holding cabinets allow you to hold different kinds of food at their respective holding temperatures -- like red meat and turkey for example.
What’s the Difference Between a Soup Well and a Hot Well?
The only difference is the shape. Hot Wells are based off of a steam table pan, while Soup Wells or Kettles generally hold somewhere between 7 and 11 quarts of food. These products, which are seen in applications ranging from food courts to super market delis, and universities, are catered to cook and also hold. Both use the same Cook & Hold technology, surrounding the food product with gentle radiant Halo Heat, which allows the food to hold longer.
How is the Alto-Shaam Convection Oven Different From Others Out There?
According to Chef Simmelink, there are two main talking points. First, the distinct Alto-Shaam airflow across the entire oven cavity provides even cooking, eliminating the need to turn pans throughout the cooking process. Second is the durability that’s built into it during construction. “Convection ovens get beat up,” said Chef Simmelink adding that despite the rigorous commercial use, theirs is built to last. Features such as doors that open simultaneously and heavy-duty handles are but a few of the many quality attributes that help Alto-Shaam endure.