Freezers: The chef's secret weapon
Tuesday 07 February 2017
Many chefs and caterers are still champions of fresh over frozen food. For some, the thought of frozen food still conjures up images of stodgy fast food and ready meals. But the catering industry as a whole is slowly but surely coming round to the idea that frozen foods are just as good, if not sometimes better, than fresh.
It used to be the case that frozen food was looked upon in a rather unfavourable light, but it’s having a bit of a moment of late.The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry conducted a study in 2015 that proved there is little to no difference in the nutritional content of eight different types of frozen fruits and vegetables. Better education on the process of harvesting and freezing things like vegetables mean that customers appreciate that the food is still nutrient-packed and that there is no compromise on the food at all. Selecting a freezer than maintains a constant temperature of -18/-22° will ensure that texture and flavour of the product will be guaranteed. It’s also important to make sure your product can cope with high ambient temperatures – the Williams J1 reach in freezer cabinet has been designed to work in the harshest of environments up to 43°C.
For caterers the benefits of utilising frozen goods are numerous. The modern diner is these days a discerning and critical force, demanding variety, flexibility and customisation of meals. People are nowadays eating out a lot more and so want good value and quality every time. By having goods like alternative side dishes stashed in the deep freeze, requests for customisation or swapping will leave your team unfazed. Ensuring frozen ingredients are kept to hand is vital to ensure a smooth service and to maintain stock levels. Models such as the Aztra under counter freezer cabinet can be supplied with two banks of drawers. These not only help when space is limited but also mean produce is easily accessible during busy service. So for many reasons, freezers can be quite the advantage in a chef’s arsenal of equipment.
The freezer can also be a chef’s secret weapon in busy periods. Being able to reach for the freezer for good quality meals can be a saviour during peak times. You can maximise your output by bulk preparing meals when it’s quieter and then blast freezing them. Models such as the Williams WBCF10 undercounter model fits comfortably into any kitchen design, allowing blast freezers to be integrated seamlessly into your cooking process. This means that when there is an uncharacteristic rush or number of unplanned walk-ins, you needn't turn paying customers away.
Another massive benefit to getting on board with using frozen food is the added ability to help control portion size. By utilising exact portioning chefs can reduce waste and save time in the kitchen. It also creates a more consistent experience for customers, particularly important for larger chain restaurants. Want to make sure you get exactly the same portion of chips across all of your sites? Bulk portioning in the freezer can help you easily replicate your meals across your business. Larger reach-in or roll in models are more suited to dedicated advanced prep and regeneration such as this, like the WMBF100 Roll In Blast Freezer.
It’s important that attitudes about frozen foods continue to change, as the population becomes more educated on the use of such food storage methods it is likely that frozen food will shake off its stigma. Owing to the rise of open plan theatre-style kitchens, customers are more aware than ever of how chefs prepare and store their food. They are also interested in this preparation and cooking process as part of the experience of dining out. Any size of operation can benefit from embracing the big freeze, so make sure you’re prepared with a Williams freezer.