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How operators today are updating commercial kitchens

Photograph: Shutterstock

When orders are coming in fast, kitchen equipment needs to be up for the task.

If a commercial kitchen is currently using a microwave to cook or reheat menu items, it is likely because microwaves can meet three key criteria: speed, cost and convenience. A microwave’s fast cook times allow for a quick turnaround on menu items, and the equipment is cost-effective and easy to operate.

But there are other options that meet the efficiency needs of the operation and produce a better quality menu item for the consumer to boot—countertop steamers.

Cooking with steam ensures that foods’ flavors, colors and textures are enhanced—not degraded—from prep to presentation. Kitchens can now use steamers that match or surpass a microwave’s speed and ease of use while delivering a more appealing product that looks and tastes fresher. High-quality food positively impacts customer satisfaction, brand perception and ultimately, the bottom line.

Steamers offer several key benefits over microwaves, including:

No degradation of texture or nutritional content of food

Using flash steaming instead of microwave energy to transfer heat cooks food differently. Microwave heating comes from polarized ions colliding in the food, resulting in heat-generating friction. Steaming is atmospheric and transfers heat through water molecules, which does not contribute to nutrient loss in foods like vegetables.

Enhanced color and flavor of food

Steaming brings out the bright colors of food, and foods that are steamed instead of microwaved taste fresher because they retain moisture throughout the cooking process.

Efficient cooking process

Steamers with multiple steaming baskets allow for different foods to be cooked at the same time. With steamers that feature automated steam cycles, users can set the cook time and the unit will automatically adjust for optimal performance.

When looking to replace a microwave with a steamer, operators and chefs should look for a steamer with a compact footprint that fits within their existing kitchen configuration. Because speed and convenience are important criteria, upgrading to a steamer should mean that cook times are reduced and the new equipment is intuitive and easy to use. Restaurants that want to replace their microwaves with steamers should also consider that they’ll have new menu opportunities with foods that do not microwave well but steam very well, such as pasta, vegetables and seafood.

With these considerations in mind, countertop steamers can be a seamless replacement for microwaves, offering operators a way to cook foods quickly while keeping the nutritional integrity and appetizing look of the final dish.

Is it time to take a second look at steamers?

This post is sponsored by Antunes

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