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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Sharpen your Knife Knowledge

Mercer 8" Millenia Primary 4 Chef's Knife
A chef's daily work load cannot be completed without his or her arsenal of high quality tools of the trade.  One of the most important tools for a chef is the high quality professional knives that he or she relies upon to get the job done right. Chopping, dicing, slicing, mincing, and other important food preparation tasks can only be completed well if the chef is using good knife that they is comfortable for them to use.

Here is a list that Cook's Direct has developed of some of the most popular professional knife styles and purposes.

Chef's Knife 
Chef's knives are some of the largest knives in a professional kitchen. They are used for slicing, chopping, and dicing a variety of different foods.

Cleavers are large knives with a rectangular blade.  The cleaver is intended to be used for hacking through bone.  The broad side of the knife can be used for crushing food, like garlic cloves, in food preparation. In contrast to other kitchen knives, the edge of your cleaver is strong so that it can withstand repeated blows directly into thick meat or bone.  The cleaver is designed to be swung like a hammer, which is very different from the way other knives are used.

Boning Knives
Boning knives are used to remove the bones from meat that is being prepared in a professional kitchen. A boning knife is quite sharp and very sturdy, which provides the cook with greater control during the boning process.  

Slicing Knives
Slicing knives, as the name suggests, are specifically designed for easy slicing of foods like cheese, vegetables, and fruits. The knife is designed to cut smoothly through the item being sliced without crushing or smashing it.

Paring Knives
Paring knives are the petite knives of the professional kitchen. These are often shortest and lightest knives in a chef's arsenal. Paring knives must be small and easy-to-handle because they are used to navigate across the curving slopes of fresh fruit and vegetables. Paring knives are also made much smaller than other knives to minimize the risk of a cutting injury when using them. High quality paring knives are incredibly sharp, and they are designed this sharp so that the knife can glide smoothly between the peel and flesh of the fruit or vegetable being peeled.

No matter what type of knife you use, it's important to choose knives that are made of high end materials and created by trusted brands and manufacturers. Most professional chefs find a brand they can depend upon, and they refuse to buy any brand of professional cutlery besides the ones created by that brand. Testing out different professional knives in different styles will help you choose the brand that suits you best.

You can find a comprehensive offering of professional knives on Cook's Direct.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Roll-In Rack Oven Basics

Nu-Vu UB-12R Roll-In-Rack Electric Oven
Nu-Vu UB-12R Roll-In-Rack Oven
The Roll-in rack oven is a specialized piece of restaurant equipment commonly used at bakeries.  Because of the design, large quantities of food like breads, pastries, and cookies to be baked at the same time in a minimal amount of space with minimal labor.  Roll-in rack ovens are ideal for applications where larger amounts of product need to be prepared in a  short amount of time.  The oven cavity is large enough that you are able to place an entire rack filled with pans or trays can be rolled into the oven and all the food will be cooked evenly at the same temperature.  

Time and labor savings are also captured during food prep because you are preparing larger batches of product to be cooked all at one time.  Using a rack oven also eliminates the step of moving pans from a rack into the oven and then back out of the oven onto the rack after baking is complete, improving efficiency even more.

Along with bakeries, roll-in rack ovens are ideal for schools, hotels, hospitals, resorts or any facility that needs the advantages of a full rack production.  You'll find roll-in rack ovens in gas and electric models.  At Cook's Direct, we carry Roll-in rack ovens from Nu-Vu along with a Roll in Rack from F.W.E. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Shopping for Heavy-Duty Ranges?

Vulcan V4B36S 4 Burner Heavy Duty Gas Range
Vulcan V4B36S 4 Burner Heavy Duty Gas Range

If you've been heavy-duty ranges , you've most likely visited many different on-line restaurant equipment stores as well retail shops so that you can look at the various ranges on the market.  When you're comparing models, you'll see that there is a wide variety of options and features from which to choose.  Here are some of the basics that you should know before shopping:
Heavy-duty ranges come in different sizes, from a 24 inch gas range, 36 inch gas range, and 48 inch gas range.  Different widths typically mean that the number of burners varies as well, like a 4-burner or a 6-burner, to cater to the various demands of the business.  

Traditionally, you will find most of your heavy-duty ranges made from stainless steel for durability and sanitation.  You may also find that different ranges offer unique features like a dual fuel range and slide in range.  The heavy-duty ranges that we carry are built tough and they are made to withstand hours of continuous use. As well as heavy-duty ranges, we carry other heavy-duty restaurant equipment including commercial deep fryers, commercial microwaves, and commercial convection ovens. Along with heavy-duty kitchen ranges, you can find medium-duty ranges, restaurant ranges, specialty ranges and range accessories all at Cook's Direct.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Understanding the different plastics used for drinkware:

Restaurants, bars and caterers often use plastic glasses rather than traditional glass for durability and economy.   If you have shopped for plastic glasses, though, you know that there are various types of plastics.  So what’s the difference?  

Each type plastic has its own characteristics.  We’ve put together this simple guide to help you know what you’re getting when you choose one over the other to help you select the type of plastic you require.

This is a very durable, hard-wearing plastic and is used to make riot shields and crash helmets.  It is often touted as unbreakable, and it’s close to that.  Glasses made from polycarbonate are dishwasher save up to and beyond 500 washes.  Because of this, these glasses are the recommended choice for use in nightclubs, bars and pubs as well as home.  Polycarbonate glasses can be recycled.

SAN, or Styrene Acrylonitrile, is a very hard and long lasting plastic, but it does crack when put under significant pressure.  SAN glasses are dishwasher safe and are able to withstand the high temperature and chemicals in commercial dish machines.  For this reason, glasses made of SAN of a good fit for restaurants as well as household use. San is a recyclable material. 

Polystyrene (PS) is a hard and somewhat brittle plastic that is used to make reusable, as well as disposable, plastic tumblers and glasses.  The reusable polystyrene glasses are dishwasher safe for 100+ washes and they are temperature safe up to boiling.  One of the benefits of polystyrene is that it can be recycled.

Polypropylene (PP) is used in many different applications beyond food service.  A thermoplastic polymer, you will find polypropylene in stationary, packaging, textiles as well as disposable plastic glasses.  Polypropylene can be recycled just as polystyrene can be; however, polypropylene glasses are not reusable, where there are reusable polystyrene glasses.  

You can find a variety of plastic tumblers and other types of plastic drink ware at Cook's Direct.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Our most popular Countertop Convection Ovens

One of our more popular products for the catering and restaurant kitchens are countertop convection ovens. These products cook food through the forced circulation of hot air inside of the oven through the use of concealed fans.  Meals are cooked faster and time and energy are saved when you are using forced air in your cooking.  Additionally, use of a countertop convection oven lets you cook food on multiple racks without the worry of uneven cooking from rack to rack because the air is circulated throughout the entire cavity. 

You'll also see an improved yield from meats because they retain more moisture which also means they are juicier and do not dry out.  Baked goods; cookies, cakes, and pies, will brown more evenly too. 

Along with standard countertop convection ovens, we also carry combinations like microwave ovens that offer both convection; forced air, and microwave cooking, and toaster ovens that allow you to toast and have the forced air in a single piece of restaurant equipment.

The countertop convection oven is a popular choice for restaurants, caterers or for home use alongside other personal favorites like the KitchenAid Mixer.  For higher volume kitchens there are single deck convection ovens or double deck convection ovens.

Here are our three top selling countertop convection ovens:

Moffat E32D5 Full Size Electric Convection Oven - Capacity for 5 full size sheet pans in a compact 28.88" width makes this a popular countertop model.  The Moffat E32D5 can accommodate up to 20 different programs simplifying use and ensuring consistency.  A 2 speed bi-directional reversing fan system ensures consistent air temperature throughout and five levels of moisture injection mode keep foods from drying out. External dimensions for this oven are 28.75"H x 28.88"W x 31.88"D. 

Axis AX-413 Quarter Size Convection Oven -- If you're looking for a smaller model to do low
production, you'll like this model.  The Axis AX-413 has 3 shelves sized to hold quarter size sheet pans.  Easy to operate with manual time and temperature controls, this oven has one fan to provide optimal air flow.  The spacing between the shelves is 2.95".  Only 19"W externally, the cooking chamber of this oven is 14.72"W x 8.78"H x 14.06"D.

Steamo Countertop Steam and Grill OvenSteamo Countertop Steam and Grill Oven -- The Steamo Steam Oven by Eurodib maximized the nutritional value of your food while retaining the color and appearance.  It also allows you to defrost your food without cooking the edges all through steam.  This oven features 8 preinstalled cooking modes, 5 preinstalled grill modes and 5 preinstalled steam/grill modes.  It comes with a safety lock, timer with alarm and LCD display.  The external dimensions of this oven are 13"W x 20"L x 16 1/4"H.