When specifying a kitchen, especially one which focuses on a particular food requiring specialised equipment, it is too easy to overlook the equipment and space required to prepare the food before cooking.
For example, when you think about cooking pizza the focus tends to be on the ovens. Of course they are vital, but the space where the pizza is prepped is equally important. Fresh pizza needs to be made in a suitably large workspace, with separate areas for dough and topping preparation as well as an assembly area with easy access to a range of topping ingredients. These toppings need to be stored correctly to guarantee freshness and food safety.
Choosing the right equipment for your business will have to take into account the available room, with many having to maximise the productivity of smaller spaces, and the ergonomics. This further increases the importance of getting it right from the beginning. The right equipment will help create a faster and more efficient service, regardless of how large or small your kitchen is.
When it comes to prep stations for pizzas, the market provides a variety of options. Looking for refrigerated preparation equipment that is flexible enough to accommodate the changing demands of your business will help to meet new challenges as they arise. A lot of businesses have had to make significant changes to their working practices in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, but the basic processes remain the same. For pizza, this involves a dough base, and a ready supply of a variety of toppings.
Modern prep stations are designed to create an adaptable, self-contained and safe way to prepare food like pizza from a diverse range of ingredients. These can be as simple as tables with gantry units for holding ingredient pans, to refrigerated units featuring integrated, chilled holders for gastronorm pans. Once food is put into prep stations like this, the countdown to when they spoil begins. While this will obviously be longer on refrigerated units, the temperature differential between the bottom and top of the pans can reduce the lifespan of the ingredients quite considerably. This means that it will start spoiling if left for too long, sometimes requiring being moved back in to a refrigerator to re-chill it, and sometimes requiring outright disposal.
Some refrigeration manufacturers have come up with ways around this problem. For example, Williams has developed an innovative air curtain design that helps to increase the time food can be stored in ingredients wells in prep stations. It chills ingredients pans from below, while passing a curtain of cool air over their open tops. This double action not only chills more effectively, it also puts a cold air barrier between the ingredients and the warm kitchen air. This means ingredients are kept safely, at a temperature of 4°C, while allowing chefs instant access to them.
Williams: a pizza prep station portfolio for all applications
Williams has a range of prep stations and food well units suitable for businesses of any size. For operations where space is at a premium, Thermowells can be configured as stand alone, wall-mounted or counter top, making it easy to add this capability into an existing kitchen.
For dedicated pizza businesses requiring more advanced setups, the Onyx range includes storage wells with integrated worktops mounted over refrigerated cabinets to allow for easy restocking.
Then there’s the PW4 Prep Well, a prep station on wheels that offers a brilliantly flexible and space saving solution – wheel it to where it’s needed in the kitchen, and wheel it out of the way when it’s no longer required.
The latest addition to the Williams pizza prep station portfolio is the MaxiPrep, which has an innovative design that maximises both ingredients storage and work surface. The Onyx, Prep Well and MaxiPrep ranges all feature Williams’ advanced air curtain design.
The new MaxiPrep – max storage, max workspace, max flexibility
The new MPS3 MaxiPrep station has 12 drop in wells with space for a maximum of 36 ingredients pans. The MaxiPrep’s drop-in wells can each accommodate one 1/3 GN container, two 1/6 GNs, or three 1/9 GNs, all 100mm deep, or a combination of 1/6 GN and 1/9 GN containers. It also has multiple prep surface options, to maximise its flexibility.
The Onyx – setting the standard for ergonomic prep stations
The Onyx is Williams’ biggest selling prep station. Its ergonomic design ensures it’s the ideal height for working and ingredients pans are in comfortable reach for busy chefs. Onyx is available in a choice of four different sizes to suit every business, from the compact two-door CPC2 to the CPC5, which has five doors, 1137 litres of storage and twelve 1/3GN ingredients pans.
Whether you’re planning a new pizza business, or thinking about adding pizza to an existing business, making sure you get the correct refrigeration and preparation equipment is of equal importance to picking the right oven.