Consultant Q&A with Dan Bendall, principal at FoodStrategy, Inc., Rockville, Md.
Cooking Equipment Guides
Braising pans are essentially griddles with watertight sides that tilt for easy draining. Foodservice operators can use these units as griddles, but braising pans can perform a variety of other tasks, including boiling, sauteing, steaming and braising. One of the newest innovations is a pressurized braising pan, which works like a steamer for high production in a short amount of time. Since these units can accommodate almost any cooking need, having one is akin to having a kitchen full of different types of cooking units.
Wood-burning ovens, like other solid fuel-burning units, are easy to maintain and operate, their maintenance and upkeep differs from most other appliances. These units do not contain many parts that fail or wear out, but improper cleaning causes most problems.
The ability of braising pans to provide precise heating capabilities for various production-related tasks makes them one of the most versatile pieces of commercial kitchen equipment available. These units can function as a griddle, kettle, oven, fryer, steamer, braiser or warming unit to handle almost any task. This includes braising or roasting meats; preparing soup stock; cooking stew; cooking breakfast items like eggs, sausage, bacon and pancakes; sauteing fish; and steaming vegetables.