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Buyers Guide: Choosing the Best Commercial Slicer

Deciding which food slicer to purchase for your food service establishment can be confusing. Let Burkett Restaurant Equipment help make it a little easier. Before you shop, do your homework. Commercial slicers make the task of slicing meat, cheese, and other foods fast and easy. They’re typically electric and are used to slice large quantities of food; so knowing what kind of food you plan to slice is just as important as knowing how much food you plan to slice.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Horsepower
    A slicer’s horsepower is a good indicator of what foods it can handle and how much power is transferred to the blade. If you need to slice large volumes and require consistent thickness, you will want to look for an electric slicer with a lot of horsepower, allowing you to slice large amounts of meat, cheese, or other foods at one time. While a deli slicer is often equipped with a large blade and can slice limited amounts of cheese, they are not suitable for slicing frozen items. Look for heavy-duty deli slicers that are capable of slicing any amount of meat, cheese or frozen products over a longer duration.
  • Dimensions
    Make sure you select a slicer with a blade that fits the product you’re slicing. The volume of food you’re slicing, as well as its size, is a key factor for choosing a slicer. Also, check the size of the carriage, the shelf that holds your meat/cheese in place, to ensure the slicer accommodates your products. Smaller, light-duty slicers equipped with 10-inch blades and are best suited establishments that anticipate using their slicers for only an hour a day. If you’re slicing higher volumes, you’ll require a slicer with a 12- to 14-inch blade.
  • Operation Automatic vs. Manual
    Most heavy-duty commercial slicers are equipped operate automatically, saving your staff from the pushing and pulling your food across the blade. As an added bonus, automatic slicers can be left unattended, allowing your employees to complete other tasks while the slicer works. Manual slicers are labor-intensive, and not recommended for high-volume restaurants and delis.

Ready to start shopping? Burkett Restaurant equipment offers slicers made by BerkelGlobe and others..

Four Hot Cocktail Trends for 2013

I found myself in a precarious position this weekend while celebrating a friend’s birthday. I was at a loss for what drink to order. I venture from the grape so infrequently that I spent a good five minutes staring blankly at the bartender and another 10 minutes scavenging for a drink menu and asking my friends what to order.

As an old friend pointed out to me, things have changed since I was a young lady. Kids these days are no longer tossing back Washington Apples and Lemon Drops. They’ve been replaced by flavored vodkas and…well, flavored vodkas. Never one to fall behind, I had to know, what’s on trend for 2013?

Craft Beers and Microbrews “Everybody is drinking Belgian Quads now. St. Bernardus ABT 12 is one of our tops sellers” said Haley Sabin of World of Beer, St. Mary’s. Inspired by the Trappist brewers of Belgium, a Quadrupel is a Belgian style ale with a bold flavor and a high ABV. “Don’t forget to serve it in a Trappist glass” adds Sabin. The beer is brewed in a monastery by monks. The required glass (which resembles a chalice) works well with the complex abbey ales.

Food Inspired Cocktails According to Chad Gensler, a local bartender in Toledo, food inspired cocktails are also on trend. “Shots and drinks that taste like different types of food seem to be a fan favorite” says Gensler. “Particularly the breakfast shot (Jamison, butterscotch schnapps and a chaser of orange juice), it tastes like pancakes.”

Rum Yep, it’s making a comeback. “RumChata has been a favorite with the ladies” adds Gensler. RumChata is a cream liqueur that is made from a blend of five-time distilled Caribbean rums with Wisconsin dairy cream and flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, and other flavors. “You can mix RumChata with Loopy vodka to make it taste like fruit loops. Or mix it with honey-infused whiskey to make a nice little Honey Nut Cheerios cocktail” said Mr. Gensler.

Rum will also be featured in the always-popular daiquiris this year. Of course, these aren’t the daiquiris of spring break’s past; gone are those frozen, overly-sweet concoctions.  In 2013 you’ll see more “dressed-down” daiquiris that often consist of no more than three ingredients. Stick around, I’ll be making some in a later blog post.

Shrubs Finally, drinking vinegars, or “shrubs” are having their moment in the sun. In the days before electricity, and refrigeration, fruits like strawberries and blackberries were mixed with sugar and vinegar as a way to preserve the fruit. The addition of alcohol to extend that preservation was a delicious surprise. Shrubs are on the rise again and they’re surprisingly versatile. For those teetotalers out there, alcohol isn’t required to make a shrub the perfect pick me up for a hot summer day. You’ll find a great tutorial for making shrubs at home here.

NAPICS 2013: A Recap

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This weekend Burkett Restaurant Equipment was at the North America Pizza & Ice Cream Show. Sunday and Monday, eight Burkett Restaurant Equipment representatives spent time walking the Columbus Convention Center, meeting vendors, watching demonstrations, testing the latest wares, and tasting some of the best pizza and ice cream around.

NAPICS 2013 had plenty to show off. Our staff appreciated the smaller vibe this year; it offered more time for in-depth conversations with vendors and visitors, and the chance to view all 175 of the exhibits more than once. NAPICS is a great show for both new and veteran pizzerias and ice cream shops. It’s a great way to learn about the industries’ newest POS systems, food and beverage, novelty items, and equipment suppliers. Check out some of our pictures from the weekend below:

 

Is Valentine’s Day a Friend or Foe?

A recent Zagat Valentine’s Day Survey found 43% of couples are planning on going out to dinner to celebrate, with an average expected bill of $142.11. Those are big figures. What’s bigger you ask? I’ll tell you; the number of blog posts and articles encouraging people to stay home for Valentine’s Day. So I ask, Valentine’s Day: friend or foe?

It’s a double-edge sword to be sure. That kind of business has to be a bright spot in the post-holiday spending hiatus most people seem to take. Then again, have you ever worked in a restaurant on Valentine’s Day?

Imagine half of the people in the city you live in going to dinner on one night. Now imagine that all of those people are going to want to have drinks, appetizers, savor their meals, and top it off with a decadent dessert. Instead of encouraging your staff to turn those tables, you’re balancing the fine line of giving each couple a great Valentine’s Day dining experience while being mindful of reservation times and waiting patrons.

As a former waitress, I know how daunting Valentine’s Day can be. The tips from that night are almost worth the hassle. Trying to give each couple a romantic, intimate night out while also being attentive and giving them great service…decidedly not worth that hassle. Now do it all over again, 20 more times (with a smile, of course).

With all that said, when the night is over it’s a great feeling. You’ve given people a special night that they will remember and share with their friends and family. You experienced firsthand the magic that happens behind the scenes in an efficient kitchen. You can cross it off your list, “I survived the Valentine’s Day rush!”

So you tell me, is all this hype about avoiding crowds and restaurants true for you? Or do you live for the nights when the stream of people filing into your restaurant seems non-stop? Better yet, if you wrote a Valentine’s Day survival guide, what tips would you give to fellow restaurant owners and employees?

So What Exactly is NSF International?

ImageIf you have commercial grade kitchen equipment and supplies, you’ve probably seen the NSF logo on many of your products. But do you know what it means to have an NSF certified product? Not to be confused with the National Science Foundation, the foodservice related NSF does not stand for anything today, although in the past this acronym stood for the National Sanitation Foundation.

What is NSF International?  NSF International is a not-for-profit organization that inspects and tests a variety of products to ensure that they meet adequate standards of safety. “Manufacturers, regulators and consumers alike look to NSF International for the development of public health standards and certification that help protect the world’s food, water, health and consumer products.” (NSF, About Us)

What is NSF Certification? A Product that is certified or listed means that NSF has determined that a tested product meets NSF’s standards of safety. It is only after a product is certified, that a manufacturer is allowed to use the NSF Mark.

What does it mean to have an NSF product? Products stamped with an NSF logo have been put through rigorous testing to ensure that they are safe. These products are also guaranteed to be accepted by state and local regulatory agencies (i.e. health inspectors). Keep in mind also that NSF Certification is not a one-time activity. Tests are periodically performed on a product to ensure that it continues to meet the standards after its initial certification.

Are all commercial kitchen supplies NSF approved? No. Certain items must be certified to pass health inspections, such as Refrigerators, Ice Machines, and Freezers. Other items that need to be thoroughly sanitized such as Countertops, Prep Tables. Make sure to check with your insurance provider to see what products they require to be NSF certified, as they may not cover damages caused by a non-certified product.

What commercial products are NSF certified? Many of the items that you find in your restaurants kitchen are NSF certified. This list includes

  • Warewashing Equipment, Detergent and Chemical Feeders for Commercial Spray-Type Dishwashing Machines
  • Ice Machines,  Automatic Ice Making Equipment
  • Refrigerators, Storage Freezers, Dispensing Freezers
  • Cooking, Rethermalization and Powered Hot Food Holding and Transport Equipment, Mobile Food Carts
  • Water Heaters, Hot Water Supply Boilers, and Heat Recovery Equipment
  • Commercial Powered Food Preparation Equipment
  • Refuse Processors and Processing Systems
  • Manual Food and Beverage Dispensing Equipment, Commercial Bulk Milk Dispensing Equipment, Vending Machines For Food and Beverages
  • Thermoplastic Refuse Containers, Air Curtains for Entranceways in Food and Food Service Establishments
  • High Pressure Decorative Laminates for Surfacing Food Service Equipment
  • Dinnerware, Oven Mitts Used in Commercial Food Service
  • Food Equipment, Food Equipment Materials,  Supplemental Flooring, Special Purpose Food Equipment and Devices,
  • Disposable Food Contact Gloves
  • Code of Practice on Cleanability of Commercial Food Equipment Used in the Retail and Catering Sector

Does NSF offer classes to train my employees? Yes. NSF offers over 50 classes such as Food Equipment Sanitation Certification and Kitchen Products Certification. If you have over 6 people who need to be trained, NSF provides cost-effective onsite training. They also offer customized programs. For more information, contact NSF directly: training@nsf.org

Vitamix Recipe: Zucchini Pancake Batter

A Vitamix Blender is not just for blending and smoothing soups, juices, and salsa. Get really creative for your customers with this delectable recipe for Zucchini Pancakes. It’s easy to make and a healthy alternative that your customers will love.

Zucchini Pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 2 C Chopped Zucchini
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/4 t Salt
  • 1/4 C Sugar
  • 1 t Cinnamon
  • 1/4 t Allspice
  • 1 1/2 C Whole Wheat Flour
  • 2 t Baking Powder

Directions:

  1. Place milk, zucchini, egg and the spices into your Vitamix Food Blender.
  2. Select Variable 1. Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to Variable 4 or 5.
  3. Blend 15-20 seconds. Remove lid plug and add flour and baking powder through lid opening. Replace lid plug.
  4. Blend 15-20 seconds or until mixed.

How to Select the Right Vitamix Blender for Your Business

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When we think of high volume, premium blenders, we think Vitamix. But which one is right for you?

Commercial food blenders are categorized into two different types: beverage blenders and food preparation blenders. Beverage blenders make smoothies, frappés, and frozen cocktails silky and pulverizes ingredients quickly. Food prep blenders provide power and performance anywhere from delicate chopping to blending coarse ingredients. Whatever your food service needs, Vitamix has a blender that will meet the demands of your business with easy to use controls, durability, and flexibility.

Use the table below to find a list of guidelines based on usage to help you select the right Vitamix machine for your business. With options such as automatic shut-off, optimized programs, and built-in timers, Burkett Restaurant Equipment carries the right Vitamix machine to suit your business. Visit the Vitamix page on the Burkett website for more information, fast purchases and shipping, or call 1-855-224-2079 to speak with a sales representative.

Number of Blends/Day Type of User Recommendations
1-50 drinks per day Smoothie Shop or Restaurant Drink Machines
2 Speed, 2 Step Timer
Drink Machine Advance
1-50 drinks per day Bar or Restaurant Bar Boss or Bar Boss Advance
50-100 drinks per day Smoothie Shop or Restaurant The Quiet One Blending Station Advance
Over 100 drinks per day Bar, Restaurant or Cruise Ships Portion Blending System
1+ blended product per day Any end user with Mix-ins Mix’n Machine
Mix’n Machine Advance
Type of Blends Type of Use Recommendations
Any ingredients for back of house Food Preparation Vita-Prep
Extra thick and heavy use Food Preparation Vita-Prep 3
Large Capacity/Heavy Blends Food Preparation XL Machine

 

After choosing the right machine, consider additional containers for your Vitamix blender to cut down on serving time between batches. Multiple containers allow for processing multiple batches of soups, smoothies, frozen cocktails, and purées leading to shorter prep times and fast service. Find the right container for your machine on the Burkett website here!

Take Our Bakeware Quiz!

Think you know everything there is to know about baking? Test your skills with a fun Bakeware Quiz!

1. Which Pan would you use to bake a Cheesecake?

A- 10″ Angel Food Cake Pan

B- 12″ Spring Form Cake Pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. True or False:

Baking Sheet Pan has rimmed sides to prevent juice from spilling into the oven.

3. Which Pan is best for making a layered cake?

A- 8″ Cake Pan

B- Full Size Sheet Pan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Which Pan has a distinctive ridged ring shape?

A. Angel Food Cake Pan

B. Bundt Pan

5. A customer comes into your bakery and orders a cake for 23 people. What size Sheet Pan will you need?

A. 1/4 Sheet Pan

B. 1/2 Sheet Pan

C. Full Sheet Pan

 

So how do you think you did? Scroll to the bottom to get the answers.

All 5 Right…. You’re a Baking Genius!

3-4 Right…. You’re getting the hang of this baking stuff!

Less than 2… Head over to our website and research all the different pans before you bake your dessert! Answers 1- B 2- True 3- A 4- B 5-  A

Must Have Baking Supplies in Your Baking Caddy

Whether you are opening a Gourmet Cupcake Shop, adding desserts to your restaurants menu, or just cooking at home for the family, make sure you have the necessary supplies to make your creations successful. If you take a look in your cupboards, you’ll probably find that you already have many of these products. Make sure they are in good condition (no cracks or rust) and put them in a Baking Caddy so that they’ll be organized and on hand when you need them. Head over to Target or Wal-Mart and pick up a Clear Container Storage Bin with Lid to store all of your supplies.

9″ Spring Form Cake Pan

Bake Ware…. These are the essential pans that you can’t live without. Depending on what your baking, you’ll need Baking Sheets and Pans, Spring Form and Cake Pans, Cake Sheets, and Muffin Pans. Each one serves a different purpose so make sure you’re using the right pan for your recipe. For example, if you are making an Apple Strudel that creates a lot of juice, making it with a Cookie Sheet will leave your oven with an undesireable mess. On the other hand, a rimmed Baking Sheet will not allow juices to drip off the pan.

Cooling Rack….Perfectly baked and piping hot, if you leave cookies or cake in their

17×25 Wire Cooling Rack

pan too long they’ll stick. Instead, use a wire cooling rack to speed up the cooling process. It’s inexpensive and comes in a variety of sizes.

Mixing Bowls…. Where else would you mix up perfect cake batter? Make sure that your mixing bowl is at least 1.5 times larger than your batter to allow ample room to mix the batter.

Utensils…. Whisks, Spatulas, Wooden Spoons, Pastry Brushes and Cutters, and Pie/Cake Servers are just a few of the utensils that you’ll need in your Baking Caddy.

13″ Cake Stand

Cake Stand…. Whether you created scrumptious cookies, delicious pie, or a layered cake, proudly display your creation in a covered Cake Stand to give it a grand presentation.

 

 

 

Remember to leave us a Product Review on ANY Bake Ware during the month of June for your chance to win a great Baking Starter Set! Everyone will also receive 200 Burkett Bucks towards your next purchase. Just follow this link -> http://goo.gl/qelh9

 

How to Convert a Refrigerator to a Keg Cooler

Did you know that you can convert an old refrigertor into a Keg Cooler? While this may not pass a health inspection for your restaurant or bar, a converted refrigerator Keg Cooler makes an excellent backyard drink dispenser. The Internet is full of how-to’s, and well…. here’s one more.

Step 1: What You’ll Need…. Check appliance stores, Craig’s List and your local newspaper for old refrigerators. Make sure the refrigerator is at least 24 inches high and 17 inches wide if you want to fit a standard 1/2 barrel keg. We also recommend that you leave about 5 inches on the top to leave room for the shank and hose. Next, get the Keg Conversion Accessories. You’ll need:

  1. Aluminum CO2 Tank- 5lb tank will last 7-8 kegs and the aluminum will not rust.
  2. CO2 Gauge
  3. 5/16″ CO2 Line
  4. 3/16″ Beer Line
  5. Shank
  6. D-Style Coupler
  7. Faucet
  8. Drip Tray
  9. One Fiber and One Neoprene Washers
  10. Clamps
  11. 3/4″ Hole Saw
Step 2: Get the Interior Ready…. Find your location and set the shelf  (which can be reinforced with bricks or lumber to keep it propped). With the hole saw, drill a hole in the front of the refrigerator for the shank. Go slow and take your time to ensure a clean hole.
Step 3: Install the Keg…. Insert the shank through the door and attach the flange, faucet, and handle on the refrigerators exterior. Then attach the CO2 hose and beer line making sure to pay attention to the IN and OUT pressure. Next assemble the CO2 regulator, place the keg on the shelf and attach the coupler.
Step 4: Pour and Enjoy… I don’t think you need  directions here.
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