Combi Ovens: 10 Questions to Ask to Get the Best Results

From most commercial food operations, combi ovens are a wise investment that allows them to easily prepare almost every kind of food. However, most kitchens don’t completely realize the potential of a combi oven; the answers to these questions (either in this post or from a professional) can assist food managers and chefs who want to maximize their investment by purchasing the right combi oven and getting the maximum return on their investment.

What does a commercial oven do? What are the benefits of a commercial combi oven?

In the simplest terms, commercial combi ovens cook with convection or steam (or both). The more complex explanation of this commercial kitchen equipment involves a precision cooking method that allows operators to control the amount of humidity and temperature during cooking (which is a step beyond a convection oven and steamer).

Because of these added controls, combi ovens can poach, roast, steam, braise, smoke, and dehydrate. In addition to replacing a convection oven and steamer, combi ovens can even act as heated holding cabinet. Combi ovens are an incredibly versatile commercial kitchen appliance that requires a smaller footprint than all the other kitchen appliances they can replace.

What kind of foods can be prepared in a combi oven?

Because combi ovens are incredibly versatile, they can prepare almost any food such as roasted potatoes, pizza, pastries, pork, rice, cakes, fruits, vegetables, and seafood. Modern combi ovens use moist and dry heat to heat foods evenly and efficiently, producing a high-quality product.

What is the quality of the kitchen water supply?

Combi ovens require a water hook-up and drain for steam delivery. Because combi ovens utilize steam during the heating process, it is imperative for kitchen managers and chefs to research and test the kitchen water quality. Poor water quality can cause issues that may void the warranty.

Many combi ovens have issues with lime build-up because of the steam delivered by a boiler. This issue can be avoided with the Henny Penny combi oven, which has a boilerless system that eliminates the concern of lime build-up inside the unit.

How large of a combi oven is needed?

Combi ovens come in units that are small counter-top models and larger, higher-capacity units. To determine the size needed for a commercial kitchen, contact a professional that can assist with determining the uses compatible with the food operation and the capacity needed.

What is the combi oven’s estimated energy usage?

Combi ovens are available in both gas and electric models. The powerful high-efficiency motor of a Henny Penny combi oven uses up to 15% less energy than other models. A food service professional should be able to provide estimated energy usage of unit before purchase.

Does the combi oven require a hood or space for adequate ventilation?

Most combi ovens require ventilation for operation. Other models are more compact without any need for ventilation space around the unit. A food service professional can provide information on ventilation before purchase, allowing for an installation process that ensures a high-functioning combi oven from the start.

Does the unit have an automatic cleaning cycle? What cleaners are manufacturer-approved?

Many combi ovens come with an automatic cleaning feature that allows for an easy and thorough appliance cleaning. Automatic cleaning also ensures a safer environment for employees who don’t have to come in contact with the cleaning products. If an automatic cleaning cycle would benefit the operation, managers should research combi ovens for models with this feature.

Because a combi oven is an investment, managers should also find out what cleaners are required by the manufacturer. Use of other cleaners can void the warranty can cause problems that could compromise long-term operation.

Is the combi oven easy-to-use?

Though the combi oven utilizes precise cooking methods, kitchen managers should invest in units with easy-to-use display panels and controls and training to ensure that the unit is used correctly. Every staff member that could use the combi oven should be trained, or an in-house training should be offered to ensure proper use.

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