Club chefs enjoy the benefits of unique cooking technology at their fingertips, including an appliance known as the combi oven.
The combi oven combines the techniques of both a commercial steamer and a convection oven, freeing up space in the kitchen and encouraging unique cooking methods.
Traditionally, a club chef uses a combi oven on one of three settings: steamer, convection oven, or a combination of the two at one time. Overall, it allows the chef to closely control the relative humidity and temperature in the oven throughout the cooking process.
When working with the steam setting, chefs generally cook items that require high levels of moisture to avoid drying out the ingredients with traditional roasting. Dishes typically include steamed fish, vegetables, or chicken. The process is particularly ideal when steaming large batches of shellfish as well.
Convection cooking sends dry air out into the oven for even heating. While this process is particularly ideal for baking pastries and bread doughs, it can also be used for even browning of meat. Convection ovens can also speed up dishes roasting under a lid, such as a casserole. The circulating heat allows the dishes to heat faster and without drying out the interior.
Chefs that understand the importance of relative humidity can use the combination setting to further control the manner the food is cooked. The combination setting allows chefs to adjust the level of water vapor released into the oven while also using the convection setting to circulate dry heat. This method can produce evenly browned roasts without the risk of drying them out.
The benefits of a combi oven in a club are numerous. Its size allows for ingredients to be cooked in larger batches without losing precision and its versatility cuts down on cooking time. Many ovens will also allow for preset cooking options, simplifying the food prep process when working with recurring recipes and inexperienced staff.