Large scale food production was never easy to achieve. Until the invention of the combination oven (combi-oven). These intelligent machines puts three modes of cooking in one oven that includes cooking with steam, with hot air circulation or a combination of both. Combination mode is useful for reheating foods as well as roasting and baking; steam is effective for delicate items such as vegetables and shellfish whilst the hot air circulation can be used to operate like a regular convection oven for making pastries, cookies and cakes. Many food establishments are embracing this new technology to help them minimise the time spent on cooking and focus on the process of creation and bring the kitchen to a more efficient level. In response to the focus on technology in this issue of Mise En Place, here is a look of numerous combi-ovens in the market to help prospective buyers find a combi-oven that best suits their needs. While each manufacturer offers the combi-oven in a range of sizes, for the purpose of this chart, we will take each brand’s basic combi-oven as a reference point.
Brands Featured in Our Lineup
In the year 1927, Angelo Po had designed a wood-burning painted stove under the “La Carpigiana” brand but soon moved on and registered his “L’Americana” trademark.By the year 1935, the factory had grown and in addition, the barilotto was invented -a sawdust-fuelled stove not only for cooking but to heat homes during the winter. It soon began producing wood-burning stoves and professional kitchens at an industrial level. Today, Angelo Po is known with its Combistar FX range of Multifunctional Combi Ovens that comprises of 3 levels – Standard (Level 1), Plus (Level 2) and Top Model (Level 3).
Founded on the basis of manufacturing defrosting and regenerating appliances, Dipl. Kfm. Frank Dittmann and Dipl. Ing. Werner Schwarzbacker produced Convotherm’s first fully electronically controlled HUD convection steamer which was launched in 1982 for large-scale catering establishments. It also achieved the distinction of being the first convection steamer manufacturer to receive the TUV-certification in accordance with DIN ISO 9001 in 1995. With 33 different basic models to meet the needs of any type of food business, Convotherm has the largest selection of convection steamers in the world. We wish to acknowledge Manitowoc and Convotherm’s Chef Vincent Lee, Chef Jimmy Mun and Chef Baliram for their efforts in conducting a product demonstration of the brand’s combination oven.
One of the world’s largest appliance manufacturers, Electrolux offers a range of kitchen appliances for both the home-base user and professional chefs. Since the 1950s, it has been creating ovens and by 1977, the air-o-steam was introduced and remains one of the greenest combi-ovens today. One of Electrolux’s most popular innovations to their extensive range is the air-o-system, the only Cook&Chill system that allows chefs to cook, chill, hold and rethermalise in one integrated solution. The air-o-system comprises an air-o-steam combi-oven which is fitted with a boiler or an air-o-convect boilerless oven combined with an air-o-chill blast chiller/freezer.
From its founding in 1981, the company has dedicated itself in the design and manufacturing of combi-steamers. Keeping its focus, the Italian company based in Treviso has combi-steamers of the ‘Heart’, ‘Compact’ and ‘Ready’ range as well as ‘Aroma’, which is especially for confectionary or baking works. The Hear t Green oven cooks with great efficiency that positively benefits operation costs. Meanwhile, Compact is made for space efficiency as it only measures 51cm in width and comes in a capacity ranging from 4 to 10 pans. For versatility, the Ready combi-steamer is one that fulfils these needs.
The company started off as a 3-person company in 1946 producing agricultural machinery, and as the market grew and evolved, MKN shifted their focus into the manufacturing of professional kitchenware from customised installations of kitchen stations under its KUCHENMEISTER® and OptimaMeister, its multifunctional cooking FlexiChef® especially for large productions of a single item to one of the most versatile equipment in the F&B world which is the combisteamer. The innovative space concept FlexiRack® provides a fur ther capacity benefit and MKN hereby offers the user genuine added value. Due to this optimum utilisation of the cooking chamber, energy and valuable working time can be saved practically with the HansDampf – simply the highest degree of efficiency. Under its HansDempf combi-steamer line, users are presented with the ‘gold’, ‘silver’, ‘compact’ or ‘junior’ range that fits the needs of any kitchen.
40 years ago, founder Siegfried Meister began producing hot air technology for improved hot food preparation in kitchens. In 1976, Siegfried and his team added steam to the hot dry air combined with a patented control system and the combisteamer was invented. SelfCookingCenter® whitefficiency® is Rational’s holistic approach to business where whitefficiency leads to deriving maximum benefits from everything used – from consumption of natural resources, time, space to raw materials and at the same time ensuring top food quality always. We thank the team from NKR Continental Sdn Bhd, RATIONAL’s Partner in Malaysia for arranging a product demonstration; conducted by Chef-Sales Eric Koh and Samantha Lee.
Choosing the right combi-oven for your facility is a huge task considering the many options available. While we recommend investors to find out in detail from the manufacturer’s sales team, here is a guide on main items to look out for in a combi-oven before deciding on one that suits the needs of your establishment.
COOKING MODE & USER FEATURES
Being a combination oven, all models would feature the three basic modes of steaming, convection and combination cooking although some may have a wider range of modes. User features are the additional conveniences for a better cooking experience.
Many kitchens have embraced combi-ovens for its intelligent technology that has essentially combined multiple cooking methods to be executed in one machine. Additionally, they are fitted with a variety of features that are designed to help chefs work faster and more ef fectively.
Most combi-ovens provide users an option to cook fully automatically or maintain control with its operating mode. On top of that, users can set individual programs into the combi-oven according to their own requirements with the personalisation feature.
CLEANING & EFFICIENCY
Like any other equipment, maintenance is extremely impor tant to extend its life and to maintain productivity. With environmental consciousness being much talked about, combi-ovens are now built with sensibility of resources in mind.
“Because combi-ovens are hefty investment, it is crucial to anticipate the volume of production, how much space can be allocated for the combi-oven, desired configurations (automated or manual) before purchasing one. Look for dealers who have credible reputations; talk to other hotels and restaurants for recommendations, request for a product demonstration and make sure the dealer has qualified technicians and a repair facility.”
** The features and functions listed are based on an over view of each manufacturer’s range of combination ovens. As criteria may vary according to model, please check with the manufacturer for exact specifications of your chosen model.[/box]