Cooking suites are designed for foodservice operations looking to produce the most efficient and practical applications for a menu and/or theme.
"When properly configured, these systems optimize operators' use of time, labor and energy, while providing chefs with important visual communication," says Craig Smith, corporate executive chef for The Montague Company, a cooking suite manufacturer and supplier based in Hayward, Calif.
While every suite is custom-designed and unique to the operation's cooking needs, the most common elements of these suites include ranges, boilers, griddles, ovens, salamanders, fryers and French tops.
"In the last two years, more chefs are looking to include induction cooking capabilities in cooking suites," Smith says. This technology, used primarily for finishing products, provides instant electrical heat without creating excessive ventilation issues.
Pass-thru ovens with doors on each end also have become a more common addition to cooking suites. "With this equipment, cooks can face each other and use a pass thru technique to move product more efficiently," Smith says.
Another popular option, Plancha Griddles, feature a chrome finish that retains heat. "Because these user-friendly griddles don't emit excessive heat into the atmosphere, less ventilation is needed," Smith says.
Depending on its makeup, cooking suites can be used for all classical cooking techniques, from boiling and frying to braising and poaching. Consequently, these versatile systems are appropriate for virtually any foodservice application.
The Montague Company offers two cooking suite types. The Excalibur Crusader single-sided suite ranges in width from 42" to 48", while the Excalibur double-sided cooking suite is between 84" and 96" wide. Both systems offer unlimited lengths, depending on equipment requirements. Internal flues are standard with both systems.
"Montague suites are based on a 36" modular system, so any of the company's catalog items can be incorporated into the design," Smith says.
Although utility requirements vary, depending on the equipment, cooking suites typically require electrical, gas and water hookups, in addition to drains.
"What makes Montague suites unique is that they provide single-point connections for all utilities, which makes installation easier," Smith says.