The tiny combi contest

The Rational SCC XS can be used on countertops where space is at a premium.

The number of combi oven makers producing compact versions of their products is increasing all the time, as commercial kitchens continue to be short on space. But is this march towards minimisation affecting these appliances’ functionality, and where is the trend going?

Rational is one of the latest manufacturers to release a tiny unit, with its 6 x 2/3 GN SelfCookingCenter XS being launched in September. According to Rational UK’s national service manager, Mark Bloyce, the oven’s performance is comparable to larger models: “Following intensive research by Rational physicists, engineers and chefs, we succeeded in reducing the size without making any compromises. The SelfCookingCenter XS offers full Rational power and intelligence despite its minimal dimensions of only 55.5cm deep, 65.5cm wide and 56.7cm high. This is because the SelfCookingCenter XS is equipped with a fresh steam generator and has all the familiar assistants.”

The firm’s national corporate chef, Huw Davies, believes that the size of the combi oven will depend on the required unit functions. “The footprint will not only be determined by the required functionality but also the caterer’s menu demands and throughput,” he said.

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Lincat is supplying the Rational XS as the rebadged Opus SelfCooking Center XS for the UK market. Marketing manager Helen Applewhite emphasised: “It is 60% smaller than the OSC61, which was previously our smallest combi oven. The XS delivers exactly the same power, intelligence and efficiency of its full sized counterparts – just in a smaller floor space.”

Highlighting that the unit can be sited on a counter top or on optional wall brackets or floor stands, she added: “When combined with a matching UltraVent fume and condensation hood, the XS can be built into any installation, making it great for front of house applications.”

Lincat has also taken the mini trend into consideration for its new generation FilterFlow water boilers, along with multi-functional equipment, such as the newly-launched Opus 800 electric pasta boiler.

At Electrolux, its smallest model is the 350 x 560 x 465mm Mini Combi oven. According to Stuart Flint, regional training and demonstration manager at Electrolux Professional UK: “There is a fine balance that needs to be monitored between size and practicality. Smaller variants offer a great way of saving space in small kitchens, or operators not overstretching themselves financially.

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