The rock and roll stars of the culinary industry, modern day chefs have transformed the way we look, cook and eat food. With ample help from cookbooks, television shows, blogs and magazines, we have developed a taste and passion for eating good food like never before. And while we are always on the hunt for the next best dish, there is certainly much more to cooking than meets the eye.

Not everyone is a chef, and not all of us can become one. But there is one thing we can all do, and that is cook well. Whether you are a chef’s apprentice or the cook of your very own cafe, you too can create equally delicious dishes every time.  A secret no more, the kitchen equipment that will help you do this is the combination oven.

Designed for the most demanding of kitchens, combi ovens are an all-in-one solution to cooking a number of different foods with great results. Combining the functionality of a convection oven and a steam cooker, combi ovens can steam, fry, grill, roast, braise, bake, pan fry and dry fry.

Suitable for large and small businesses, combi ovens come in many sizes to suit even the smallest of kitchens. Many cafe’s often run off single-phase power so a 3-tray or 5-tray oven with a smaller cooking chamber is ideal. Alternatively, kitchens who produce more dishes tend to use larger combi ovens with more fans as it creates uniformity when cooking and even steam generation. This also means that a bit more power is required.

Consistency and control are one of the top benefits of combi ovens. Serving delicious dishes at the right time and at the correct temperature has never been easier. A combi oven’s program function allows chef’s to save highly technical recipes that most often only they are able to re-produce. Given a kitchen is using the same ingredients for the same dish, the program easily allows for less skilled staff to cook the same high standard dish. The program function also gives chefs the advantage to control the humidity, time, temperature and fan speeds on each dish, eliminating the need to train staff. By taking away the guesswork out of cooking, chefs will have a piece of mind and more time to tend to other duties in the kitchen.

For businesses looking to save on cost, combi ovens are great value for money. It simply comes down to a number of factors namely functionality, stackability and energy efficiency.

Changing dishes on your menu in order to minimize expenses is tough, but it doesn’t have to be. A combi oven can increase the options you have with your menu by providing you with different methods of cooking. The slow cook function allows you to shop the more economy cut meats, which are more budget friendly, but still contain great flavour when cooked slowly.

Cooking with a combi oven also gives you the ability to create dishes in the single unit where normally you would need multiple pieces of equipment to cook with.  With a combi oven you can switch between convection and steam cooking at different stages of the cooking cycle. For example, a good pork roast requires a number of techniques to achieve a crackling skin on top and juicy and tender meat on the bottom. At the initial cooking stage, the oven is set to a convection mode to apply a dry heat and ensure the pork skin is crackling. Stage two requires a combi mode, which is a steam injected moisture cook, for tender meat. The final stage will return to a dry cook mode to complete the cooking process and achieve the final perfect crackling finish.

For many kitchens, and more often smaller footprints, the ability to stack two ovens on top of one another is ideal. By doing this, you will not only save on kitchen space, but produce faster meals as you can cook two elements of a dish at the same time. More often, dinner menus will have a roasted meat dish served with steamed vegetables. In this instance, kitchen staff can place the meat to roast in one oven while at the same time the back up oven can steam the vegetables. For the final product, both parts of the meal will come out of the oven at the same time and with excellent quality.

Furthermore, for a 70 + cover a night restaurant, time is of the essence so any spare moment needs to be used effectively. With the help of a combi oven you can now save more time during the day by cooking overnight. Setting the oven to cook overnight is perfect for all meats that require slower cooking and at a lower temperature. This will not only tenderize the meat but also ensure less capacity wastage in the meat. Entering the desired recipe in the control panel to cook for a couple of hours will essentially lead to the oven to approximately operate for 1 to 2 hours. The oven’s outstanding ability to activate heat stabilizes the cooking temperature within the chamber for the duration of the cooking saving you more energy, money and also time away from your kitchen staff.

When choosing a combi oven for your kitchen consider the following factors:

  1. Space – Look at your kitchen space. Smaller combi’s take up less space because of the smaller footprint but you also have the option of stacking multiple ovens on top of one another. 
  2. Application – Think about what you want to cook and how you’re going to cook it? Do the math. Getting your output volumes right and then matching this up with the space of the oven is absolutely crucial. 
  3. Price – Be mindful of your kitchen space and output. This will more likely determine the ideal unit for you (small, large or stackable), than price alone.

Cafeideas has a large range of combi ovens to suit any kitchen environment. To find out more click here.