There’s Something About Atosa Coolers and Freezers

Atosa markets itself as producing beautiful, energy efficient commercial kitchen equipment, and we agree.  Their equipment has a little extra style, and although their refrigeration is quite affordable, this company stands by their products by offering a solid warranty.  There are little details Atosa pays attention to, such as shipping their reach-in refrigeration units, back bar coolers and prep-tables with pre-installed casters.  The doors automatically close at 90 degrees, and automatically stay put when fully open.  Many models feature door locks for security and digital temperature controls for easy temperature monitoring.  Instead of straight 90 degree angles, the front corners are rounded stainless steel.

The Atosa line of merchandiser refrigerators and freezers, such as the Atosa MCF8707 Reach-In Merchandiser have a little extra something to show that Atosa really gets it.  In addition to the stainless exteriors, they add a little extra black trim that catches your eye.  In case the stylish trim doesn’t do the trick, there are bright, flashy, energy efficient LED lights running along the inside the door for even more bling.  It all adds up to an attractive and noticeable merchandiser that attracts attention to your products.

Atosa is a global company expanding their product line.  For a quote on any of their products, contact us.

Rick@AKitchen

Belleco is Now Owned and Made by Vollrath

Belleco has been acquired by Vollrath, and going forward, Belleco conveyor ovens, conveyor toasters, and other products are now manufactured by Vollrath.  In the near future, all Belleco products will be branded as Vollrath.  The design of the quality Belleco products will remain the same under the Vollrath brand, but new orders for these items will be branded as Vollrath.

BellecoABestKitchen will continue to offer the Belleco SKUs manufactured under the Vollrath brand, along with all the other quality cooking equipment products offered by The Vollrath Company.

“Well designed and market proven, Belleco’s products live up to the standards of the industry’s most demanding commercial and noncommercial foodservice operations,” said Paul Bartelt, President and CEO of Vollrath Company. “Expanding our offering of countertop cooking, warming and preparation equipment is of strategic importance to us. The addition of a USA-made, premium quality line of conveyor toasters and ovens enhances our existing portfolio and provides our foodservice channel partners and customers with more choices from a single source of equipment and smallwares.”

These SKUs include the JT-1 Toaster, the JB3-H Conveyor Toaster, the JB2-H Conveyor Oven, the MGD-18 Conveyor Pizza Oven, the JT2-B Bagel Conveyor Toaster, the JT1-BH Bagel Toaster, the JT1-H Toaster, and the Maestro Pizza Oven JPO-18, as well as all other products in the Belleco line of cooking equipment.

Vollrath has been part of ABestKitchen’s product line for many years and we expect they will continue to uphold the Belleco product quality going forward.

@ABestKitchen

Do I Need a Hood System with Electric Cooking Equipment?

We get this question a lot and our experienced team at ABestKitchen can answer almost any questions you have about commercial kitchen equipment, but this one is a bit tricky. With gas equipment, you almost always need a hood. Electric equipment can sometimes get around the requirement and make it practical to cook without a hood, but not always.

Hood systems serve as the ventilation for commercial kitchens. Through a combination of ducts, filters and fans they extract heat, smoke and grease that are emitted by cooking equipment. They also incorporate fire suppression systems that extinguish fires quickly and efficiently. Because water reacts violently with grease fires, most use a sequence of chemical processes that suffocate the fire, prevent it from spreading and create as little damage as possible.

Local fire and health codes dictate if equipment such as griddles, ranges and fryers require a hood. These laws vary by county and are enforced by health and fire inspectors. We have had instances where the health department required a hood system for an electric counter top fryer, while a neighboring county did not. Because of this, we can not give you a definitive answer to this question.

In some cases, it might depend on what you are cooking. If you are using an electric oven or griddle to cook greasy foods that will produce a lot of smoke, a hood may be needed. If you are using it for baked goods that will not produce much smoke, you may not need one.

Many cafes, coffee shops, delis, and other similar places use electric sandwich grills, conveyor toasters, griddles and ovens to quickly cook a variety of foods without a hood. We always recommend that ask your inspectors before purchasing any equipment you are unsure about. We would be happy to provide you with any available spec sheets and informative material to bring along.

To find out how to get in touch with your local health department check out the following website:

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/fsis-content/internet/main/topics/recalls-and-public-health-alerts/additional-recall-links/state-departments-of-public-health/ct_index

If you’re looking to get a piece of equipment that requires a hood, but have no way to install a system, you may want to check out the Wells line of ventless cookers or ventless hoods. These units use an advanced air filtration system that is completely self-contained and can be easily moved from one location to another.  They make it possible to cook in non traditional locations or when traditional hood and duct work are impractical, restricted or too expensive.

Lizz@AKitchen

Every Restaurant Bathroom Door Should Have These Hands-Free Door Openers

If you’ve ever walked into the restroom at a restaurant and taken measures to avoid touching anything, especially the door knob, you’ve probably also wondered if the kitchen staff and chefs do the same.  We really appreciated these hands-free door handles when we saw them at one of our local restaurants.  They were not only in the bathroom, but on other doors that might be used by kitchen staff and cooks.  Not only do they make it easy for customers to avoid contact with sketchy doorknobs, they help avoid wasting paper towels for use on the door handle, and they provide a little peace of mind to customers who will feel assured that they are in a place that takes sanitation and cleanliness seriously.

These simple pulls mount above the door handle, allowing you to safely pull open the door with your forearm.

Check them out here

http://www.akitchen.com/store/hands-free-sanitary-door-opener.html

rick@akitchen

Zucchini Noodles – Commercial Spiralizer for House-Made Zucchini Noodles

Zucchini noodles are a healthy, low carb (and gluten-free) alternative that can add some diversity to your menu.  These tasty noodles are easy to make and can be used in many dishes, allowing your chef to get creative while pleasing customers that are craving healthy foods.

If you are an Italian restaurant, gluten-free pasta is one way to accommodate your customer requests, but to impress them even more, offer zucchini noodles or other squash noodles (yellow squash makes good squash spaghetti too).  The zucchini noodles are great with a red sauce, and they can accompany meatballs, chicken parmesan, and other typical Italian dishes.

Zucchini and squash noodles can also be served as cold, refreshing summer dishes with light citrus mint dressings or with olive oil sauces.  We’ve seen them used as garnishes and in sides dishes too.

Zucchini pasta noodles

House-made zucchini noodles cooked with tomato sauce and meatballs and topped with fresh mozzarella

There are some alternatives for residential kitchens that assist with making noodles out of squash, but if you are serious about making these in a commercial restaurant setting, the Nemco zucchini spiralizer / noodler is your answer.  It’s a commercial, NSF approved vegetable noodler that makes quick work of turning zucchini and other vegetables into a healthy, gluten-free, low-carb, and tasty pasta alternative.

Zucchini and Vegetable Spiralizer / Noodler

When preparing zucchini noodles, we find that cooking them in a sauce or sauteing them with olive oil until the desired noodle texture is reached is the best way to give the noodles flavor and cook them until a soft, noodle-like texture is reached.

Arctic Walk-In Refrigeration, Customized & Display Walk-Ins or Quick Ship

Arctic has solutions for Walk-In refrigeration for that range from typical walk-ins for foodservice and restaurants to customized display units with glass doors that add character to your space.  Customized possibilities from Arctic include in-wall merchandising refrigerators for markets, humidity controlled meat aging and display refrigerators for the front-of-house of restaurants, and temperature-controlled wine storage and display walk-ins for restaurant or home use.  They also have customizable large-scale refrigeration options for your home.  If you are looking for something economical and quick, their quick-ship Blue-Line walk-ins may be your answer.

Arctic Blue Line Walkins

The Blue-Line models are available as freezers or refrigerators in several standard sizes with remote or self-contained refrigeration.  There are also models for outdoor use.  These units are NSF approved for commercial kitchen use and have all the basic features you’d look for in a custom walk-in.  The walls, ceilings and floors are constructed of energy-code compliant high-density foam.  Units are standard with a light switch, dial thermometer, and vapor-proof door light centered over door.

The Blue-Line walk-ins are shipped pre-configured in sizes ranging from 6 x 6 feet through 12 x 10 feet.  For more info, take a look at the following link: Arctic Blue-Line Walk-Ins.

If you are looking to customize a walk-in, wine-storage unit, merchandiser, or even a refrigeration solution for your home, feel free to contact us and we’ll help you work with Arctic to meet your specifications and order your unit at a great price.

Astra Espresso Machines Combine Classic Style with Practical Design

Astra Espresso MachinesAstra’s line of commercial espresso machines combine a classic European look with durable American-made construction.  If you are paying attention, you’ll see these machines operating at restaurants and coffee shops, often having continued to operate for decades.  Astra makes their machines in California, and we can help you customize one with options including modifying the tamping setup, color, voltage, and group and steam wand configuration.

Astra Mega II Semi-Automatic

The standard models have a self-tamping brewing mechanism, a quiet internal motor with a rotary-vane Procon pump, a vacuum valve to prevent milk from entering the steam boiler, and an automatic shut-off if water does not reach the machine.  They also have microprocessor-controlled diagnostics, and automatic models can be programmed to automatically produce your desired amount of espresso.

Astra DBS

In addition to full-size commercial espresso machines for busy coffee shops, Astra makes smaller machines for the home or office using the same commercial quality components as their commercial workhorses.  If you’re looking for a real heavy-duty espresso machine for the office, Astra’s Pro or DBS models are a great choice.

These machines use American parts, many of which can be found at local hardware stores, which is helpful if repair is ever needed.  If service or installation is required, Astra has repair technicians available and can arrange service on your machine in most parts of the country.

If you are new to shopping for espresso machines, you may encounter some terms you are not familiar with.  Here are a few explanations of some of the espresso-lingo:

Semi-automatic: semi-automatic machines have a button/switch that starts the water flowing to make the espresso.

Automatic: automatic machines can be programmed to dispense predetermined amounts of espresso when activated.

Portafilter – this is the thing with the handle that you put espresso grounds into.  It’s a portable-filter, hence the name.

Tamping / Self-tamping – tamping is basically packing or compressing the coffee grounds into the portafilter so espresso flows through a properly compressed puck-shaped portion of espresso grounds.  Astra’s machines come standard with a self-tamping mechanism that compresses the grounds for you.  Otherwise, you can configure the machine such that you do the tamping using a tamper, which is just a somewhat puck-shaped device you press onto the grounds before attaching the portafilter to the group.

Group or Group Head – this is what you attach the portafilter to so water will flow through the espresso grounds.  It’s where the espresso making gets done.  Machines may have multiple groups.

Steam Wand – the steam wand sprays pressurized steam for frothing milk for cappuccinos and lattes.  Machines may have multiple steam wands too.

Hot water tap – when you just want hot water, you use this tap.

We like Astra’s machines, we know the company and its president, and we can help you order the right machine for your business at a great price.  Contact us with questions,

Rick@AKitchen

Rethinking Water – Enhanced Water Service at Restaurants and Cafes

restaurant water serviceWater service is an integral part of food service, and these days, the best way to provide water for customers is being re-thought in restaurants and other public spaces. Customers in general are less interested in disposable bottles of water, and in restaurants and cafes, an enhanced water offering other than straight-out-of-the-tap water or bottled water is something customers notice and appreciate.  New water delivery systems are showing up to deliver high quality drinking water with a stylish and modern approach. These systems help improve on water service by allowing you to deliver filtered, chilled tap water in an efficient, if not elegant manner.  For restaurants, coffee lounges, wine bars, and cafes looking to improve their water service, the Blupura systems are here.  These water dispensers are made and designed in Italy, and turn your tap water into an enhanced, stylish offering. They can include filtration to improve the taste of water, cooling capability to chill the water, and they make sparkling carbonated water too, so you can provide the additional perk of serving bubbly water from an elegant tap.

The Elkay / Blupura water dispensers are designed and built in Italy, and provide sparkling, chilled, filtered water.

As an enhancement to a cafe environment, we’ve seen the Blupura style water dispensers set up in self-service stations at markets, delis, and counter-service restaurants. With this setup, customers can help themselves to carafes of high quality sparkling or chilled still water while enjoying their lunch. It’s a nice touch, and while giving up the profits from sparkling water sales, the overall enhancement to the customer experience is noticeable, and the offering likely pays off in terms of return visits.

The Blupura Carbonation Chiller

In a fine dining setting, the ability to allow customers to specify whether they would like sparkling or still water is another subtle and elegant enhancement to the dining experience. In food service, the details matter, and water is just part of the game. The Blupura carbonation chiller mounts under the counter or bar, along with a filter and CO2 tank, to turn your tap water into a premium offering.

EZH2O Water Bottle Fillers

This transformation is happening elsewhere beyond restaurants and bars too.  People are becoming inclined to avoid the wastefulness of disposable bottled water, preferring to carry their own water bottles. In places like golf clubhouses, markets, lodges, recreation centers, tennis clubs, and other mixed service environments, this presents a need to provide a way for customers to fill their own containers with water. Nobody wants to use a bathroom sink, and filling a container with the old standard water fountain is difficult. The new EZH2O systems allow customers to easily fill their water bottles, helping to reduce wasted water and the use of disposable bottles.

Take a look at the Blupura and EZH2O systems to see how they might fit into your establishment.   Rick@ABestKitchen

Merchandising with True’s Smaller T-12 Refrigerators and Freezers

When space is an issue, or you just want a lower-profile, smaller glass-door refrigeration display, take a look at True’s T-12-LD Refrigerators Merchandisers (also available as freezers).  From the website and catalog pictures, you might not pick up that these units are smaller, at only just over 5 feet tall, and just over 25 inches wide.  Compared to the larger, taller glass door coolers, these units are quaint and provide additional merchandising capability on top or above.  Markets, delis, restaurants and coffee shops seeking smaller refrigerators for self-service can benefit from these 5 foot high glass door refrigerators.  The T models add a stainless steel front for additional appearance enhancements too.

Another thing you may not be aware of is that we can put you in contact with True Manufacturing’s art and graphics department, and they will work with you to add custom graphics to your refrigerators.  In the case of Market 28 shown below, the addition of a custom logo graphic adds some style and branding to this specialty foods store.  Custom graphics are available for all True models, and many of our other manufacturers of merchandisers also offer customized graphics solutions.  Contact us and we’ll help you add graphics to your refrigeration order.

Making Churros for Bakeries, Restaurants and At Home Too

Churros are fritter-like, donut-like, pastry-like foods that have a Spanish origin. It turns out that Churros are a pretty easy treat to make with the right technique and supplies available here at ABestKitchen.

At home, you can make churros with a pastry bag using a large star tip to make your dough/batter into the typical churro shape.  In a commercial setting, or at your neighborhood fiesta, you can increase production using a churro maker, pictured here.  This is our smallest commercial model that is designed for home-use as well.  For even larger productions, several larger sizes are available for even higher food productions in bakeries, food trucks, or restaurants.

The basic technique is to create a batter  or dough using flour, butter, water, sugar, eggs, and sometimes cinnamon or other sweet additions.  You create the dough by heating a mixture of the butter, flour, water, salt, and sugar in a pan until it forms a thicker dough-like substance and then whisking in the eggs until you have a kind of thick batter that can be pressed through the pastry bag or through the churro machine into a pan of hot oil, cutting them off into equal length pieces and then frying them until golden brown in a pan of hot oil.

You can then remove the churros from the hot oil using a stainless steel slotted spoon or tongs, and roll them in a mixture of sugar and cinnamon, if desired.  They are also often also drizzled with chocolate when used as a dessert.  These pastry treats are not always dessert though – they are often eaten for breakfast too.  For serving large quantities of churros, the ingredients are not very expensive so at your restaurant, bakery, or fiesta, churros can be a cost effective or highly profitable food.

There are also churros that are stuffed with a sweet filling.  Our churro makers have nozzle adapters that can make the hollowed out shape, which you can later fill with your favorite sweet icing, chocolate, or filler.  You can use a churro filler, which is actually a pastry filler that can be used to fill donuts or other pastries too.  Otherwise, the pastry bag will do the filling job using a different narrow tip.