Purchasing & Caring For Professional Kitchen Equipment
Professional cooking equipment is made differently than what you’ll find in a typical home kitchen. It’s generally made to withstand constant daily use and will last much longer, providing it is cared for well.
Besides large appliances, knives are among one of the biggest investments you’ll make for your professional cooking career.
When purchasing professional knives, you want to make sure that you find a reputable source and buy in person; you can purchase almost anything online these days, knives are not something you should buy remotely. Avoid going to stores that sell kitchen items to the public; these generally don’t have goods that can last in a professional kitchen.
Once you find a reputable location, you’ll want to take your time making a decision. Don’t buy based on cost alone; hold each piece in your hand, make sure the size and weight are comfortable for your personal use as you should be the only one using your knives. Buy the best you can afford, as a good knife should last a lifetime if taken care of properly.
Ask the professionals where you purchase for care advice, but there are some general rules to follow when caring for knives:
Always wash immediately after use, and always wash by hand. Do not put knives in the dishwasher; doing so can dull or damage the blades.
Do not allow knives to sit in water. Not only is this a safety hazard for anyone who may stick their hands in the water, this can also dull your blades.
Purchase a knife that is made to your specifications and do not allow anyone else to use it for any reason.
Don’t use knives for anything other than cutting food items, and use caution so you don’t drop knives or bang them against other equipment. Only cut on surfaces that are safe for use, such as wooden or plastic cutting boards.
Buy a steel and learn to use it properly, as this will keep your knife sharp most of the time. If it needs sharpened, learn to do so correctly or have it professionally sharpened.
Cutting Boards and Other Wooden Utensils
When purchasing cutting boards, buy a decent size that will fit nicely in the space you will be using it. It can be helpful to have one specifically for meat and poultry and a separate one for other ingredients to avoid cross contamination, but this is not necessary if cared for properly.
Wash cutting boards and wooden utensils in hot soapy water and dry with a towel. Wooden items need to be oiled with mineral oil every so often to keep them in tip top shape, and should never be put in the dishwasher as they can warp easily.
Pots and Pans
Most professional pots and pans are durable and will last a lifetime if cared for properly.
When purchasing, look for heavy pots and pans that are made of one material, such as stainless steel. Plastic handled items, while less expensive, can’t be put in an oven and will usually melt or crack over time, so keep this in mind when purchasing. Cast iron is a great and inexpensive investment for all purpose cooking.
To care for pots and pans, always wash immediately after use (or cooling); washing by hand is best. Cast iron requires special care instructions, and should NEVER go in the dishwasher. Dry all pans thoroughly to prevent rust and avoid nesting pans inside of each other when storing.
While professional cooking equipment is expensive, with the proper usage and care, it can and will last a lifetime.
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