The Covid-19 pandemic has meant that many businesses are having to make big changes. With reduced staff, a restructure of operations and the need to adhere to social distancing measures, the way a kitchen functions has had to adapt, including the menu on offer.
However, a solution to combat these changes is implementing a cook-chill system. Why? To better preserve food’s longevity, the need to be better prepared is paramount, which is why using blast chillers can be a game-changer. So what is blast chilling and how can the cook-chill process help?
Blast chilling works by reducing the temperature of food from +70°C to +3°C within 90 minutes, and then holding it until it’s required. This system can keep food at this temperature for up to five days before regeneration with no loss of quality, which provides enormous flexibility for businesses coping with the demands of the “new normal”.
Standard fridges are unsuitable for chilling food this way, as the heat radiated by the food increases the chilling time, raises the temperature of the refrigerator and can degrade any other food stored in there.
The key to blast chilling is to get the food through the danger zone between 63°C and 5°C, where bacteria grows most aggressively, as quickly as possible. A Williams blast chiller features advanced Airsmart technology that uses multiple air streams simultaneously to reduce the temperature quickly, without dehydrating the product.
Modern blast chillers, including all products in the Williams range, can be programmed to handle a variety of foods, controlling the airflow and air temperature to ensure perfect results. The Williams soft chill function is designed for food that requires a more gentle process to maintain quality, such as fish, while the hard chill is ideal for denser foods like meat, that require a more robust approach.
Furthermore, Williams blast chillers are capable of starting the chilling process with food at 90°C, compared to 70°C for conventional models. This has the advantage of minimising downtime between cooking and chilling, helping to keep the food fresh, saving staff time and reducing contamination risks.
Blast chilling is suitable for any business application. For example, the Williams blast chiller range includes compact reach-in undercounter models capable of processing as little as 10kg, allowing the process to be easily used in smaller kitchens. At the other end of the scale, Williams has roll-in units that can handle 320kg, safely and fast.
Another benefit is flexibility. Blast chilling pairs particularly well with modern multi-functional cooking appliances and combi ovens, allowing for quantities of food to be cooked and then chilled for storage efficiently. The latest addition to Williams’ range, the WTBC70, can accept three types of trolley including the model for Rational’s new iCombi Pro.
This flexibility allows businesses to adapt to the changes being brought by lockdown. For example, the importance of takeaway business has increased massively during lockdown. Blast chilling makes storing pre-prepared batches of food for regeneration when orders are received simple, allowing for a quick response without compromising on the quality of the meal.
As with any commercial kitchen equipment, it is important to keep blast chillers clean and well maintained. All Williams products are designed with this in mind. Their sturdy stainless steel construction is easy to clean while important internal components are front accessible, making maintenance and repairs simple. For example, on the WTBC70, all four panels around the refrigeration system on top of the cabinet are removable – so engineers can access the system from any angle.
Control is also simple, with programs selected via just three buttons. The progress of the cycle monitored and controlled automatically by accurate temperature probes inside the cabinet. This makes it easy to train staff on new equipment, another advantage for businesses trying to cope with additional pressures during the pandemic.
A blast chiller can play an important role for kitchens undergoing many changes due to Covid-19. Whether it’s by helping the reduced workforce, better preparing food that lasts longer or both, blast chilling is one way to maximise productivity and Williams has the ideal solution.
For more information check out our cook-chill guide.