The High-Tech Commercial Kitchen: What’s the Latest?

Cutting edge technology has invaded the commercial kitchen – and this is very good news indeed! With the latest innovations, the commercial kitchen can become a safer, more energy-efficient and more productive place.

Aside from tablet ordering systems, here are some of the high-tech commercial kitchenware you can think about:

Commercial induction equipment. Although induction cookers have been in the market for years and have gained popularity, these have mainly remained as household kitchen items. Recent innovations indicate that induction technology is moving into restaurant kitchens. Induction cookers offer the advantage of faster heating and cooking times, precision control of heat, safety (since no fires are involved) and minimal ventilation requirements. The latest cooktops provide additional functions such as sous vide cooking, as well as mobile connectivity, so that you can control and monitor the cooking via a smartphone or tablet.

Touch screens. Interestingly, the user interface for these cookers resembles that of a smartphone or tablet. There are even moves towards incorporating a tablet-like screen in a cooktop so that staff can access recipes or job orders. The move towards touch screens also goes for other major restaurant equipment. Aside from cookers, manufacturers are also starting to integrate touch screen control systems to refrigerators, ice machines, deep fryers and other equipment.

Apps and restaurant operations. As they say, “There’s an app for that.” From making business plans and financial reports, managing staff and shifts, marketing, managing inventory to taking in reservations, mobile apps have made things accessible to your computer or mobile device. There are even apps that enable you to scan barcodes as you reorder your wholesale restaurant supplies. You can also use an app to implement your loyalty rewards program. However, remember that you need to manage and use apps wisely so that their very use will not take up too much of your time.

Connectivity. Some manufacturers have already designed specific mobile apps for their specific kitchen equipment so that you can view performance and diagnostics indicators, even when you’re away from the kitchen.

Smart thermometer. This connects to a mobile device and comes with its own app. Not only do you get to monitor the temperature and cooking progress via your mobile device, you can set reminders with regards to the cooking process (i.e. flip after 5 minutes).

3-D Food printer. This exciting innovation can add to a chef’s ability to incorporate breathtaking details to the food they present. Right now, 3D printers can churn out edible sugar and chocolate creations such as wedding cake toppers (you can even print intricate lace details or an exact replica of the married couple), garnishing for entrees, cocktails and desserts and personalized edible favors.

Monitoring by webcam. Managers don’t have to be in the kitchen area (or in the storage area or the delivery area) all the time – you can monitor your staff though high-tech cameras. These cameras come with complex algorithms that can detect if kitchen staff members comply with your operational procedures, as well as local health and safety codes. This includes monitoring whether staff are wearing sanitation devices such as hair nets and gloves or are washing their hands with soap or sanitizer. If you are a restaurant owner with several restaurants in separate areas, this monitoring system can ensure that you have “eyes” on all your restaurant branches.

Food wastage tracker. Currently in development is a waste auditing system where staff use a touch screen display to categorize the food that’s being thrown – whether the stuff that’s about to go in the bin contain meat, produce, diary or breads. The cause of the food waste can also be identified, whether it is comprised of trimmings, spoilage, plate waste or food that was prepared but not served. This way, restaurants can track just how much food and raw ingredients are thrown away and can implement measures to minimize unnecessary wastage.

 

Some Considerations for a Highly-Productive Commercial Kitchen

The design and layout of your kitchen can do much to ensure that your kitchen staff is working efficiently and safely. Sometimes, faulty kitchen design has led to delays in bringing the food from the kitchen to the customer’s table. Faulty kitchen design can also cause mishaps and bottlenecks, and subsequently accidents that may cost your restaurant.

As a restaurant owner and manager, you need to look at your kitchen with a critical eye to see how well it supports your kitchen work processes. Here are some considerations you need to look into when you design or re-design your commercial kitchen:

Space and utility connections. As a rule of thumb, every seat in the restaurant should be allocated 5 square feet of kitchen space. How much kitchen space do you have? Do you need to increase kitchen space to accommodate the number of seats you have? Get accurate measurements of the available space – the area’s length, width and even its height. You also need to know how many utility connections (gas, electricity, water) you currently have. This way, you can already have an idea of where to place your stoves and electrical appliances. This will also help you plan if you need to add connections at strategic areas.

Service requirement. What kind of service does the commercial kitchen need to provide? Is your restaurant a buffet-style or cafeteria style restaurant? Or do you have an a la carte menu? Your service offering will also help determine the kind of layout the kitchen has.

Flow of traffic. Kitchen staff should be able to easily move around without much risk of jostling others or bumping the elbows of someone who may be handling hot or sharp objects. Remember, during rush periods such as lunch time or dinner time, the kitchen will be bustling with activity. Study the flow of the cooking process. Ideally, fast-cook equipment should be nearest the point of service and bulk cooking equipment farther away.

Compliance. The layout should meet local health and safety codes. This includes proper placement of kitchen equipment, the availability of hand washing facilities at key areas, distance of work areas and positioning of the door entry. Also, you should segregate the different stages in the cooking process, making sure to separate the stations for preparing raw meat and fish away from already prepared and ready to serve food. Remember, before you actually make major renovations to the kitchen, you need to get approval from the appropriate government entities.

Flexibility and scalability. As your restaurant business grows, your kitchen should also grow along with it to be able to meet the demands of more customers or more product offerings. The layout should be flexible enough when you need to make changes. It should also allow for additional expansion plans. There are also instances when changes in the menu or changes in local codes necessitate changes in the layout.

Energy savings. Going green is actually good for business. Over time, the savings you get from being energy efficient can add up to a significant amount. When making the layout of the kitchen, try to place as many cookers over the range hoods. Also, try to keep cooking equipment and refrigeration equipment separate to maximize the efficient operations of your refrigerators and freezers. Take note, though, that other considerations need to be balanced with your desire for energy savings. For instance, although it is not energy efficient, it is much easier for a kitchen staffer to have an undercounter freezer near the cooking area. For instance, it is easier and more efficient for a worker to get French fries from the freezer into the fryer. Thus, decide in different instances whether it is more practical to pair cooking and refrigeration equipment.

Employee-friendly environment. Not only should the kitchen be a safe place to work, it should also be one that ensures the wellbeing of the kitchen staff. Always take kitchen ergonomics into consideration when designing the layout to minimize fatigue and resulting injuries. The area should be well-ventilated.

 

Stocking Stuffers for the Kitchen

Do you have friends who love to cook? Then you already know what to give them – kitchenware! It does not have to be heavy on the budget, just simple things you could stuff in their stockings. However, when shopping for kitchen equipment to be given as gifts, always bear in mind that it should be something unique or something that he would like to have but never got around buying. On the other side of the spectrum, you can also give kitchenware they already have but something that is quirky or whimsical, giving it a personal touch. You can also look for gift items that are dishwasher safe so that you can add the gift of convenience to your stocking stuffer.

Here are some very affordable items you can give this holiday season:

Ice cube trays. Who does not need ice? The good thing about silicone ice cube trays is that the cubes can easily be removed from the tray, with very little effort. What’s more, the silicone ice cube trays come in a variety of themes and designs that can be fun to see swirling in your drink. For the holidays, you can go for Christmas trees and candy canes. For movie buffs, there are Star Wars versions. Other cute ones produce the following shapes: sharks (where the shark fins are floating above the surface of the drink), robots, Lego pieces, brains (for zombie-themed parties), dinosaurs and snowflakes. The standard ice cube trays that produce, well, cubes can also be used to freeze pesto, lemon juice or peanut butter (for smoothies).

Pizza cutter. This does not just help produce perfect pizza slices. A cutter can also be useful in slicing dough for cinnamon rolls, bread sticks, sandwiches, hotdogs, waffles and pancakes and fruit roll-ups.

Microplane grater. This is usually included in anyone’s list of must-have kitchen tools. Aside from shredding parmesan and other hard cheeses or zesting a lemon or orange, it is a very handy tool for other purposes. Your loved one can make chocolate shavings to add a flavorful garnish to desserts or ginger pulp (which is nice to add to stir-fries rather than minced or chopped ginger). This can also be used to grate garlic and fresh coconut.

Salt pig. For one, a cute pig can be a great addition to the kitchen. But this pig also provides the convenience of an open container whenever you need a dash of salt. These pigs have wide mouths (for easy scooping using a measuring spoon) but have hoods that ward off moisture and dirt and prevent the salt from caking. This is perfect for storing artisanal salt. So while you’re at it, you can dd some packets of flavored salts to your gift. These gourmet items come in amazing flavors such as espresso, rosemary, bacon (yes, bacon!) or black truffle.

Cookie dropper. This enables the production of uniform cookies faster with its measured scoop. This can help fill the cookie sheet in just a few minutes.

Heat resistant spoon-shaped spatulas. This is a multi-use device – you can scoop, combine, stir and scrape in just one handy tool. This will also not scratch precious Teflon-coated pans. These spatulas also come in bright and pastel colors to add more eye-candy to the kitchen.

Bamboo cutting board. Give your friend a head start at going green in their kitchen. Bamboo is a very renewable resource, and is eco-friendly and sustainable. Plus, bamboo is lighter than most hardwoods but not as porous so it will not shrink or swell.

Spice grinder. Don’t just grind pepper. Your loved one can also enjoy the delicate flavors that are preserved when you only grind at the time you need the spice. This grinder can also be used for nutmeg, cloves, dried ginger or cinnamon.

Silicone rolling pin and pastry mat. Pastry becomes hard and dry when you use too much flour, which you need to do when you’re using a regular rolling pin and pastry mat. Keep dough deliciously flaky and delicate with the use of a rolling pin and pastry mat made of silicon. The non-stick property in the silicone ensures you use no more flour than you need for the pastry itself.

From Your Kitchen: Homemade Food Gifts This Holiday Season

Rather than buying a generic gift, why not produce these out of your kitchen? Sometimes the most meaningful gifts are the ones you personally made. Homemade gifts are thoughtful gifts that say you care, without having to break the bank to say so. There are many possibilities – all you need to do is have your apron, measuring spoons, cooking materials and kitchenware ready.

But before you start, here are some key considerations:

The recipients’ preference. These homemade gifts do not just say something about yourself, but about the recipient and your relationship with them. Consider the recipients’ sensibilities with regards to food, as well as any allergies he might have. For instance, if you know that the recipient hates curry, then you can plan on giving him something else that he will like. If he is allergic to peanuts, you already use alternative ingredients.

Good presentation. Packaging matters. A festive design can put your really make a difference so make that extra effort in adding finishing touches – ribbons, Christmas-themed decorations and carefully selected containers.

Safety. Since you are dealing with food, make sure that there are no cleanliness issues with your preparations. Also, check to see that all the ingredients are fresh.

Labels and instructions. For some, instructions may be necessary so be sure to attach the instructions or recipe when applicable. Also, the ingredients of the goodies must be listed down so as to give prior warning to someone who may be allergic to one of the ingredients.

Here are some great food gifts you can make loved ones and friends:

Desserts and pre-made mixes in a jar. Mason jars are all the rage! You can make no-cook desserts as well as cake and cookie mixes. For mixes, be sure to carefully layer the ingredients in such a way that the colors of each layer contrasts with the ones above and below it. A wooden spoon can be an extra touch. Another idea would be to produce homemade hot chocolate mix and put the ingredients inside the jar.

Do-it-yourself gingerbread house kit. This is another delightful edible project where you can prepare the gingerbread “construction material” for the walls and the roof, frosting for the cements and candies, marshmallows and other small sweets as the finishing.

Flavored sugar cubes. Make sugar cubes infused with cinnamon or espresso to make unique tasting drinks. Place the cubes inside brightly colored tin cans and wrap a bow around it for that extra flourish. Recipients can simply drop these into a cup of cocoa or coffee.

Chocolate spoons. This lets one add a touch of chocolate to a cup of coffee. Take several clean wooden spoons. Melt chocolate and dip the spoons. Take them out, add any garnishing you want and wait for them to harden. Once the spoons have hardened, include designs carefully drizzled into the hardened chocolate. Place the finished spoons inside a wide-mouthed jar or a Christmas themed coffee mug.

Jams and marmalades. Add flavor to their toasts with your own special jams and marmalades. Look for clear jars with easy-to-close lids as containers. Be sure to label your creations carefully to avoid confusion.

Christmas cookies. Present these edible goodies inside a tin can or in a clear plastic tube.

Grilling rub. Dry rubs are a mixture of salt and dry spices and herbs that are used to add flavor to grilled meat, seafood and vegetables. There are plenty of grilling rub recipes avail. You can test run some to discover your personal favorites. You can also try adding unexpected ingredients such as chocolate powder or ground coffee. Next, you can get recycled glass bottles for a greener gift.

Personalized tea blend. Create a tea blend with your special combination of teas and spices. Again, a Christmas-themed tin can is a good packaging option for this.

Holiday Cooking and Baking Essentials

Ah! Christmas! After Thanksgiving, this year-end holiday evokes memories of the aroma of cinnamon and spices wafting throughout the home or homecooked meals being prepared for a sumptuous Christmas banquet.

As you gear up for the busy days of preparing for a gathering of family and friends over food, here are some kitchen equipment that can help you whip up holiday meals easily:

Cookie scoop. Get those Christmas cookies ready in a jiffy. A cookie scoop can help make uniformly-shaped round cookies. The scoop can also be used for muffins, cupcakes and even for pancakes.

Programmable slow cooker. Leave the casserole cooking while you do some last-minute shopping. Programmable slow cookers will do the job for you. These cookers have been around for some time and are favorite of frugal cooks since slow cookers since you do not have to keep watch all the time. What you need to do is place the ingredients in the pot and then let it do its job. What comes out are flavorful meals, even with simple cuts of meat.

Multi-event timer. For the busy cook who is preparing several dishes for the holiday feast, a multi-event timer can be handy in cooking a wide range of dishes – from slow-cooked stews to cooking spaghetti noodles. You can spend your time doing other things – slicing and dicing while waiting for other ingredients to cook.

Multi-tiered oven rack. With the busy holiday season, the oven will be working overtime. Expand oven space for cookies, casseroles and other things that need baking. You can cook more than one dish in the oven and ensure that they all simultaneously come to the table piping and deliciously hot.

Measuring spoons. It’s best to have more than one set of measuring spoons, especially when you’re on the go and do not have time to remember where you last placed your one set.

Apron with conversion system. Rather than stopping to think about how 1 pound translates to grams or how liters can be converted to ounces, get an apron with a measurement conversion table so you get the conversion from metric to English system and vice versa with ease.

Holiday-theme cookie cutters. Cut those cookies into Christmas shapes for a touch that adds to the festive feelings.

Cookie spatula. Now that you have your cookies baked to perfection, peel them off from the baking tray without crumbling or breaking them. A cookie spatula is just the right size to slide under a cookie without the cookie coming apart. It also does not take too much space in your utensil drawer.

Kitchen shears. These can cut chicken, meats and other ingredients (cooked or raw), cut dough and herbs. Be sure to choose shears that can be taken apart so that all the exposed areas are thoroughly washed.

Brush with detergent dispenser. After the guests have left, now is the time to clean up. This brush skips the extra step of having to dispense the soap – you can dispense as you brush!

Microwave-safe mixing cups/batter bowls. These can be used not just to measure liquid ingredients, but for mixing small batches of sauces or toppings. You can also pop these in the microwave. You can also use these for storage, especially if they have their own lids.

Gifts You can Give to Your Kitchen

The holiday season abounds with gifts for loved ones and friends. But how about a trusted “friend” who is your partner in whipping up culinary creations – your kitchen? You do not need to spend a lot to update your kitchen, but you can equip it with restaurant supplies and equipment so that you can create more of the goodies your loved ones and friends will love.

Here are some exciting gift ideas for your kitchen:

Personalized set of knives. Before you add more tools and equipment to the kitchen, make sure you have a very good set of knives. You do not need to buy a set but choose the knives you need piecemeal, depending on your cooking requirements. With a knife set, you may end up gravitating to just a number of favorites. Some of the knives in the set may just go unused. You can add more types of knives as you advance in your cooking. The basic knives you need in your kitchen include a utility knife, a chef’s knife and a paring knife. You can supplement these with a filleting knife, kitchen shears, bread knife, cheese knife and boning knife as you go along.

Designer cutting boards. Add bright colors to the kitchen with a set of cutting boards with cutting edge designs and prints on the surface. There are a lot of creative options that are not just space-saving and ergonomic but also pretty to look at.

Garlic roaster. Fill your home with the lovely smell of roasted garlic. Enjoy divine French bread or create spreads that can flavor crackers, sauces and vegetables. A terra cotta garlic roaster can be an excellent addition to

Culinary torch. Oh the things you can create with a culinary torch! Aside from the gloriously browned meringue tufts in a pavlova or baked Alaska or the caramel toppings in crème brulee, you can also use your torch to brown the toppings on mac and cheese or get browned crusts for a potato gratin. You can make quick and easy marshmallow melts for S’mores, pulled sugar or roasted peppers.

Yogurt maker. Give yourself the gift of good health by making fresh yogurt from all-natural ingredients, with no added preservatives. There are plenty of yogurt makers in the market that enable you to make traditional Greek yogurt as well as its sweeter varieties. These are easy to use, with built-in timers and automatic shut-off function.

Herb dehydrator. If you have an herb garden or love to buy hers in the market, make the most out of each season and preserve some herbs for future use. The dehydrator effectively preserves the nutrients and the flavors of your herbs. The dehydrator is also great for making fruit leathers and beef jerky.

Air fryer. Savor deep fried favorites without the cholesterol and the guilt. Now, homemade doughnuts, French fries, fried chicken and other well-loved recipes that require deep frying can be made healthier with an air fryer. This produces crisp and uniformly golden brown food by circulating the hot air.

Pasta maker. Make firm and fresh penne, spaghetti, lasagna or fettuccine with a pasta maker. There are automatic versions that take care of the whole production process, starting from the mixing to the pressing. With a pasta maker, you can flavor your pasta with healthy additions such as herbs or ground vegetables.

Sous vide oven. Get perfectly cooked fish or meats, with the flavors and textures intact. Sous vide cooking is about using a water bath and applying precise temperatures.

 

Kitchenware Checklist for Bakers

Do you love baking? Or are you dreaming of making the perfect homemade breads, rolls and cakes? When equipping your kitchen for baking, you first have to determine what type of baker you are. Are you into pies or cheesecakes? Or are you a bread lover? The type of equipment you will need will depend on your baking preferences.

When making your checklist for wholesale kitchen equipment, take a look at these baking tools to see whether these are necessities based on your baking preferences as an aspiring baker:

Cake pans. These basics come in round, square and rectangular shapes that are great for cakes, bars and brownies.

Baking sheets or sheet pans. These are great for cookies, pizzas, cakes, biscuits, bread or pastries that do not need molding. They are also useful when you need to heat something up inside your oven. These are usually rectangular in shape and have shallow sides. The raised lip keeps liquids on the pan and also makes it easier to lift the pan from the oven.

Loaf pans. The smell of freshly baked breads as you take these loaf pans from the oven is just heavenly! Pans come in different sizes and widths. The type, size and shape of the pan can have an effect on how well the bread turns out. This is because the material (glass, metal or ceramic) as well as the height and width will affect volume, as well as how heat is transferred into the bread dough. For instance, if the pan is too small for the recipe, the dough may break out of the pan.

Springform pans. These feature a flat, removable base and a spring collar. These allow you to remove the baked goods that are hard to turn out. These are ideal for upside-down cakes, deep dish pizza and cheesecakes.

Cookie cutters. Have a bit of fun at your kitchen with themed cookie cutters that make a wide variety of shapes.

Beater and stand mixer. Electric hand-held beaters and stand mixers reduce the amount of work needed to whip up your favorite goodies. Stand mixers also allow you to do other baking tasks while it mixes the batter or dough. When choosing a beater, select one that has multiple speeds and interchangeable whisks. Meanwhile, choose a mixer with a solid base for heavy duty recipes.

Tins and pans for a variety of baked goodies. Depending on what you want to make, you can get loose bottomed tart tins (for quiches, flans and tarts), muffin pans, Madeleine tins, Bundt tins, soufflé dishes and gratin dishes.

Rolling pin and pastry board. Flatten pastry and cookie dough to the required thickness with a rolling pin and a pastry board. You can opt for one that has no handles so as to prevent knuckles from becoming imprinted on the dough.

Pie pans. Bake your favorite apple or pumpkin pie with a pie fan that has angled or sloped sides. The edges enable you to scallop the crust with ease.

Cooling rack. Prevent cakes from getting soggy by using a cooling rack. This allows air to circulate both over and under the cake.

Measuring tools. Baking is about precision. You don’t use a smidge of this ingredient and a pinch of that ingredient. You need accurate amounts of your ingredients to come up with the expected results. Thus, you need a reliable scale, measuring spoons and cups as well as an oven thermometer.

Countertop Appliances for Your Home Kitchen

LionsDeal can be your provider of quality wholesale kitchen equipment, such as countertop appliances that can help you make easy work of basic cooking functions. Whether you want to have a better equipped home kitchen or desire to fit your commercial kitchen with all the bells and whistles that make your staff more efficient.

Here is a quick checklist of countertop appliances you may want to have in your home or restaurant kitchen:

Food processors. Chopping, slicing, grating and shredding become easy just by a press of the button. With a food processor, you can also create perfectly mixed pie crusts. You need to provide sufficient workspace for this appliance, as it can be a bit bulky.

Food steamer. Steaming, rather than frying, is the healthier way to go. Food steamers ensure that fish, chicken breasts are tender and juicy, while vegetables retain their crisp freshness. You can also quickly prepare dumplings. To subtly add flavor to your steamed dishes, you can add herbs, leeks or tea in the steaming water. When using the food steamer, avoid opening the steamer lid so as to prevent the heat from escaping and lengthening cooking time.

Rice cooker. Get perfectly cooked rice all the time. Rice cookers have an automatic shut-off function once the rice is cooked. A rice cooker is a handy piece of equipment if you are into sushi-making or are passionate about Asian-inspired rice dishes. There are also multifunction rice cookers that work as a food steamer.

Juicer. Prepare healthy juices for your family or your health-conscious customers. It is best to go with a masticating or twin gear juicer rather than a centrifugal juicer. The masticating or twin gear juicers are more expensive but are cheaper in the long run since they are able to produce more juice and also make use of much of the pulp.

Electric grill or griddle. This is a very versatile piece of equipment. There are even versions that have changeable plates to provide the triple function of waffle maker, griddle and grill. Grills are great for kabobs, grilled sandwiches, barbecues, burgers and even grilled vegetables. Grills are also a healthier way of cooking, as it involves lower fat content as the oils from the meats are caught in a drip tray.

Immersion blender. Whip up nutritious vegetable soups, sauces and yogurt blends with a handy immersion blender that you can use directly onto the pot.

Sandwich press. Serving sumptuous sandwiches? Keep sandwich orders coming with this simple countertop appliance. You can consider getting a multiple-slice model to make more sandwiches in one go. Another version would be a Panini grill, which, aside from sandwiches can also heat up paninis and wraps.

Waffle and crepe maker. For your breakfast menu, you can make easy waffles, crepes, pancakes and even ice cream cones with a waffle and crepe maker.

Warming drawer. For your busy kitchen, you can extend your working time with a warming drawer. You can prepare some types of food in advance, store it in the warming drawer and then serve it simultaneously.

When buying your countertop appliances, it is also important to consider your kitchen layout, as we as your available countertop and storage space. That way, you can prioritize the countertop appliance you will purchase on your next visit to LionsDeal.

Commercial Kitchen Essentials to Improve Safety

The busy commercial kitchen is fraught with hazards. Sharp knives, hot pans and ingredients and the possibility of contact with fire can all mean serious injuries to your staff. As a restaurant owner, it is important to provide essential restaurant supplies and equipment that promotes kitchen safety. Here are some of them:

Fire extinguishers. For one, these are required by local government safety codes. Every kitchen, whether commercial or not, should have at least one. However, it is important to note that restaurants will need different types of fire extinguishers since these deal with different types of fires and combustible materials. Indeed, there should be separate fire extinguishers for:

  • fires that burn on wood, paper, most plastics or cloth
  • fires that involve energized electrical equipment
  • fires that involve oils and fats

Some brands of fire extinguishers are capable of fighting different types of fires but the specified extinguishers are more effective in fighting a particular kind of fire. Of course, all personnel should have training to use these to avoid the danger of using the wrong class of fire extinguisher. In some cases, this can only worsen the fire.

Knife sharpeners. Sharp knives are safer than dull ones. Sharp knives need just the right amount orf pressure and sawing motion to cut, slice, dice and chop. Dull knives will require for the user to exert more pressure. Coupled with slippery ingredients, this can result in a slipping and sliding knife. The knife can cut the user’s hand or can slip out and injure his foot or somebody else. To keep knives ultra sharp, invest in a good knife sharpener. Knives are expensive and that knife sharpener should be one that effectively and safely sharpens.

Knife blocks. Sharp knives at rest are also dangerous. Keeping the knives in a drawer can result in nicks or deep cuts if someone grabs a knife by the blade rather than the handle. Knife blocks will keep the sharp and pointed steel away from the kitchen staff’s busy hands. This also helps store the knives more safely. The kitchen staff should also be trained to keep knives in the knife blocks when these are not in use rather than leaving it lying around where it can fall.

Cut resistant kitchen gloves. When using a knife at high speeds, it is best to use kitchen gloves that will protect those fingers from being sliced along with the onions. Yes, this may affect the hands’ agility and make it more difficult to maneuver but this will prevent your kitchen staff’s precious digits. Another option would be to use finger guards. Or better yet, you can consider getting kitchen tools that automate the cutting, slicing and dicing.

Anti-fatigue mats. The hours standing over a work table can be a hazard for your kitchen staff. For the short term, the fatigue and back pain that may result from working a long shift can cause mistakes, accidents and consequently, major injuries. The anti-fatigue mat lessens the stress and strain on one’s back by cushioning the feet. For the long term, investing in anti-fatigue mats can be part of your commitment in providing a safe working environment for your staff.

Heat-protection gear. Aprons, oven mitts, pot holders and other heat-protection gear will prevent burns and scalding.

Equipping the Vegetarian Kitchen

Have you decided to go the vegetarian route? Your kitchen equipment may need some updating to help you whip up vegetarian gourmet meals. The equipment will make it easy for you to prepare raw vegetable and fruit meals. The key is in investing in some quality kitchenware that will also be environment friendly and long-lasting.

The good news is that you may already have some of the tools listed here. Below are some staples that should be found in a vegetarian kitchen:

A good, heavy-duty blender. This comes in handy in transforming fruits and vegetables into purees, smoothies, sauces or spreads. A good blender is an excellent investment as it will last longer and will provide better consistency and creaminess.

Juicer. If you do decide to buy a juicer, it is best to go for a masticating juicer. This is the more expensive version of the juicer (as compared to a centrifugal juicer), but it makes more use of the fruit and vegetable fibers and can also juice items such as herbs, wheat grass or leafy greens. Also check the speed of the juicer – it must be fast enough to squeeze the juice out of fruits and vegetables but not too fast to destroy their healthy enzymes.

Food processor. Another must-have in the vegetarian kitchen, the food processor minimizes prep work involved in grating, slicing and chopping. It will make help you quickly prepare chopped garlic (for your pesto sauce), or evenly sliced tomatoes for that delicious salsa. You can also use the food processor to make easy work of preparing coleslaw, pie crusts, patés and vegetable pastes.

Vegetable peelers. Have a set of peelers handy. As a vegetarian, you will always need to peel a vegetable or fruit.

Tofu kit. How about making your own tofu from scratch? A tofu kit will produce fresh batches of this vegetarian staple. You only need to have your supply of fresh soy milk or soy beans.

Ceramic knives. Very sharp and precise, ceramic knives also do not cause oxidization as you slice and dice.

Salad spinner. Get those leafy greens high and dry with an easy grip salad spinner. The greens are good to go and ready to toss with your favorite vegetarian dressing.

Wok. If you must cook your vegetables (for variation), get a wok that will require a minimal amount of cooking – just enough to deliver a smoky taste and crunch, but not long enough to destroy the vegetables vitamins and nutrients.

Citrus juicer. For a refreshing pick-me-up or to add to morning smoothies, get a citrus juicer for those oranges, lemons or limes.

Dehydrator. This is an ideal investment for those on a raw food diet. A dehydrator can provide fruits and vegetables with interesting textures and crispness, without destroying their health-giving enzymes. Ideally, the food should not be processed with temperatures higher than 118F. Some food you can prepare using a dehydrator are fruit or vegetable chips, veggie burgers, crackers, fruit roll ups or fruit leathers, raw food cookies and raw bread. You can also use the dehydrator to dry herbs straight from your garden.

Spiralizer. Transform those carrots, potato, beets, zucchini and a wide range of vegetables (and even fruits!) into ultra-healthy noodles with a spiralizer. Aside from vegetable “pasta”, you can also make stringed veggie fries.

Mortar and pestle. This works well for hand-making flour from brown rice or for grinding flax seeds. You can also use it to grind spices for pastes or rubs.