Earlier in Concept & Design, we took a trip back to the origins of food preparation and realised how industrious our forefathers were in sparking the fire of innovation. As time progressed, different people have taken the core of ideas and added more elements that allowed us to expand our abilities in a kitchen, especially on the industrial level.
With industrialisation, comes the economic factor on a larger spectrum that is made up of three main sectors. The primary sector comprises raw material, secondary is manufacturing while the tertiary sector, also known as the “service” sector is characterised by the production of services instead of end products.1 It also includes the “intangible” such as attention, experience and advice. Food and beverage interlinks both defining factors of a tertiary sector – how does the industry produce food that fulfills the intangible element?
In keeping with the theme of “evolution of commercial kitchens and its equipment”, our focus will be on the way food productions in commercial kitchens have changed. Cooking for many used to be more confined to institutions like hospitals, factories and schools where it was compulsory to provide for the people living or working in the facility. Kitchens were limited in providing options for its diners, simply because hands can only work that fast and equipment were basic. Also, the eating out culture was still in its infancy.
However, foodservice was a promising sector and with that foresight, manufacturers set out to make equipment for efficiency; leading to better productivity for chefs who will then be able to fulfill customers’ desire for different experiences when dining out. It is even more
important if you consider how the tertiary sector has grown over the last 100 years to become the largest sector of the economy in the Western world and one with the fastest growth rate.2
The modern kitchen is a far cry from its predecessors, decked out in shiny stainless steel with easy button or touch panel controls on equipment. There would not be many chefs resisting technology today, particularly when they could even have an entire stovetop
customised to their desires. No matter the cuisine type, there will be the right equipment but the most important factor is that the chef understands why it is needed and maximises its function.
The food and beverage sector is a strong profit-generating engine if eateries do their homework right, one of it being the back-of house where equipment has a great role to play. In light of that, we profile selected major equipment that has impacted commercial
kitchens and how its manufacturer has consistently re-invented it with new technologies.
2Definition by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions