Basics of Commercial Ovens and Cooking Equipment

By Lorri Mealey

Go into the kitchen of an Italian restaurant that specializes in pasta dishes and then go into a sandwich shop whose specialty if hot panini sandwiches. No doubt their kitchens will have very different set ups and different cooking equipment. The Italian kitchen will have a sauté station, while the sandwich shop will have a conveyor oven. Commercial kitchens come in all shapes and sizes. They are as many unique commercial kitchens as there are restaurants.

The stove or oven is the hub of a restaurant kitchen. However, the type of restaurant oven you buy will depend on your menu. Consider type of cooking will be done in the kitchen. Is there a lot of dished on the menu that require sautéing? Will you be baking your own bread and desserts? Are planning on offering gourmet pizza? Each of these menu trends uses a different type of oven or range. Just like ovens for the home, commercial ovens come in different brands, with different functions.

Commercial Ovens Includes:

Convection Oven - Good for even, quick cooking, ideal for dishes that need to be baked, such as lasagna or other casseroles.

Combination Oven- Combines convection ovens with a steamer, which can cook large quantities of vegetables in a fraction of the time that boiling takes.

Conveyor Oven - A conveyor belt moves the food through the oven, making it ideal for pizzas or hot sandwiches.

Pizza Oven - A large oven that heats to high temperatures. Not only can it be used for pizza, you can cook just about anything in a pizza oven, including large sides of beef or large pans of dessert.

Other commercial cooking equipment includes:

Broiler - Cooks food with short bursts of heat. Good for melting cheese on soups and sandwiches.

Grill - a grill can be either a flat top or char broiler. Both are used to cook meats, poultry and burger patties.

Fryer/Fryolator - Deep fries everything from French fries to chicken wings. Even desserts, such as cheesecake, can be deep fried.

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