4 Tips to Cleaning the Restaurant Cooking Station
One of the most important and most used restaurant equipment is the commercial range. Some restaurant equipment may be used once in a while or as needed, but the commercial range is almost like the heartbeat of the kitchen. It is used daily and can take quite a beating. You need to look after it and maintain and clean it properly so that it looks good and will give you excellent service.
You never know, you can be paid a visit by health inspectors or even the ‘big bosses’ if they visit your kitchen, if it happens to be part of a chain. Here are some tips that will help to keep your range looking good and performing well and pass any inspections.
1. Daily Cleaning
This may sometimes be difficult to do due to time constraints. Daily cleaning is the best thing to do but if this is difficult, then clean it as often as possible. If spills happen, try to clean it up immediately, but here again, it can be difficult sometimes. Anyone who has worked in a busy kitchen will know the stress and time limitation, so try to do your best in order to clean a spill to prevent burning-on.
During meal service and with customers lining up, all kinds of crumbs, spills and residue can spend hours on the range. Even so, a non-abrasive pad and solution can help to remove all of this. If it’s left on, especially for days, it encourages bacterial growth as well as corrosion.
2. No Steel Wool Or Scouring Pad
Try never to use a scouring pad or steel wool as this is too harsh especially for stainless steel ranges. If a spill has carbonized, a non-abrasive cleaner and cloth should be used. Also, never use abrasive, caustic or alkaline cleaners. These can cause scratches and surface pits. They may also leave a bluish cast on your commercial range. You may or may not be able to see the damage with the naked eye at first, but the damage will be there and this can breed bacteria or cause corrosion. A caustic solution like lye should not be used, neither should an alkaline one such as ammonia.
3. Clean When Warm
The best way to clean and have good results is to clean it while it is warm. Do not clean while the range is on or if it is still too hot to touch. Normally, any residue that’s on the range will be loose enough to clean, but make sure it is safe enough to touch, otherwise wait until it is.
4. Empty The Trays Daily
Just below the top, there will be trays that are called crumb trays or grease trays. These catch food particles and unless you empty and clean it every day, they are going to cake on and will be a chore to remove. It will get thick and sticky, so spare a thought for the person who has to deal with it! It’s best to do this daily. If it collects, it can be a fire hazard. Use a heat-proof receptacle to dump the contents and wash the tray.
There will eventually be some discolouration no matter what you do, so this just has to be accepted. You may have to re-season the cast iron grates about once a year. Daily cleaning is better than cleaning it once in a while, when it becomes a really big job. Regular cleaning and maintenance is the only way to take care of commercial ranges.