Why I Appreciate Commercial Microwaves

by : Shaun Parker

Having worked in a commercial kitchen for 5 years of my life I have developed an appreciation for high quality kitchen equipment that would make my mother proud. I started my kitchen tenure as a lowly pot washer. The job title 'kitchen technician' made the job sound slightly more appealing than it actually was.

This job meant I would spend up to ten hours a day cleaning the kitchen and scrubbing away at plates, cutlery and cooking pots in the sink. It is fair to say that on the face of it, it is not a fun job.

Nevertheless the days past quickly and were made entertaining by the foul mouthed chef that would let everyone know exactly what he thought of their requests for their steaks to be cooked a little bit longer. The evenings were also lit up by the gorgeous waitresses that almost made the delivery of yet more dirty plates bearable.

But the real saviour in my time as a 'kitchen technician' was, and I'm almost ashamed to say it, the high quality brushes and washing up liquids. They really, and I'm going to sound like my mother, cut through the grease and grime very well. I definitely gained an appreciation for the better quality kitchen cleaning products.

I learnt the lesson the hard way a few times when stocks had run out and I had to wash up with inferior liquids and using tatty, worn out cloths and brushes. This happened to coincide with the monthly curry lunches in which the restaurant served curry to 200 people. Can you imagine the size of the cooking pots and the amount of scrubbing it took to get them clean? Probably not. It was worse than you can imagine!

My next step up the kitchen hierarchy ladder was when I became a junior chef. This basically meant completing the menial tasks around the kitchen such as peeling potatoes, preparing vegetables and ensuring that the head chef avoided hitting any paying customers. This job was actually great fun. It was a good step up from the dish washing duties and I learnt a great deal about how to cook for large numbers of people and still make sure that all of the different ingredients hit the plate warm just before they were served.

One of the key ways in which we managed to make sure that the different foods were all kept warm was through a commercial microwave. This contraption enabled us to keep items that were prepared earlier warm before we presented them and it also allowed us to prepare many items in advance and 'zap' them just in time for the waitress to deliver them to the customers table. With an average attendance of 200 all eating at the same time you can imagine that this was a vital piece of kit - anything to keep the head chef from simmering over into boiling point.

The next step up the hierarchy saw me take control of the kitchen for the few days a week that the head chef was away. Admittedly this was often on the quieter days but nevertheless I enjoyed the responsibility. I particularly enjoyed having to keep a close eye on the stock in the kitchen and order both food supplies and kitchen supplies. I soon developed a deeper appreciation for the internet as it made ordering items much easier than phoning around to different suppliers.

Many sites even kept you updated with your orders to the point that they sent you a reminder email when they predicted that you would run out of supplies. This was a great help. I would always recommend investing in good quality kitchen supplies as the benefits are well worth it.