With the rise and rise of coffee shops and cafes in this country, modular cooking equipment to heat and toast snacks has to keep up with demand.
Investing in a griddle or grill can also help many types of operators to widen their menu offerings for a relatively modest outlay.
A fairly recent entrant into the standalone salamander market is high end French manufacturer, Charvet. It provides gas and electric salamanders which it says are “traditional high powered, heavy duty, fast response tool for chefs who require the grill to achieve full temperature from standby in seconds”.
This year it launched the Charvet Infrared Salamander, which has rise and fall operation using a front handle. The 3kW power available achieves 400°C in 9 seconds or 570°C after 15 minutes’ use. The appliance features two independent cooking areas and a plate detection system, while the surface cooking area of 540 x 375mm is open on three sides.
Elsewhere, Falkirk-based Falcon Foodservice Equipment manufactures a range of grills and chargrills. As most kitchens use some type of grilling, some of Falcon’s best selling products are its medium duty gas Dominator Plus chargrills.
It also offers salamander grills, with heavy and medium gas and electric and all electric light duty models available.
The firm says all its products are manufactured using commercial grade, industry proven components to ensure reliability, performance and longevity. These are tested in the company’s laboratory and development kitchen before being subjected to field testing in busy working kitchens.
For example, its development chef worked very closely with the company’s design team on its Dominator Plus chargrills, demanding a number of features and attributes that are required in a commercial kitchen.
These included features such as cast-iron burners, radiants and brander bars, water trough, drip tray and fat jug, reversible, channelled and angled brander bars and a cooler holding area.
Over at Active Food Systems it manufactures the Synergy Grill brand of equipment. This grill and griddle range has recently been joined by the Synergy Mirror Griddle. The grill plate is said to be available to fit all grill sizes and can completely replace cast iron bars, enabling it to be used entirely as a griddle, or it can be specified to only replace a section of the bars so it can function as part chargrill, part griddle.
“We have ensured that we are only manufacturing using the highest quality mirror finish stainless steel which will be hugely longer lasting and will be much easier to clean and keep its aesthetically pleasing finish,” commented operations manager, Morag Anderson.
“The Mirror Griddle provides an overall flat heat for even searing and cooking which really works for some end users – in fact the griddle has been designed whilst working with a major restaurant chain specialising in hand made burgers.” [[page-break]]
Also new are Synergy Slow Cook and Resting Shelves which fit to the back of each grill size. The Slow Cook shelf slows down cooking and holds food whilst the Resting Shelf rests food before serving. The shelves work with the grill to provide a complete grill workstation.
“We are very flexible and are able to create and fulfil the needs of our customers. In fact we have just designed a garnish rail to satisfy a customer’s specific requirements, the lead time being 2 weeks from order point to delivery,” said Anderson.
The Synergy Grills are made using only parts and components sourced from the UK, such as stainless steel fabrication from Cambridgeshire, cast iron bars from the West Midlands and ceramics from Yorkshire.
According to Anderson: “Synergy Grills also include ‘flame-rectification’ technology which means no thermo-couple required, further reducing maintenance costs.”
On the subject of the future technological direction of grills, she commented: “Grill and griddle technology has not moved forward for over 20 years and still most manufactures are producing the old American type ‘gas guzzlers’.
“Technology that provides energy savings, is easily cleaned and doesn’t have fat trays or messy water baths that generate disposal costs and hazards has to be the future. Synergy Grill technology offers this now.”
Glen Dimplex brand Burco is another manufacturer on the expansion trail. From its base in Prescot, Merseyside, it has grown its range to include a selection of grills and salamanders, comprising a 2.8kW countertop adjustable salamander grill, a 2.8kW electric salamander grill and the 800mm, 6.8kW Titan gas salamander grill.
The latter is the latest addition to the range and features a quick heat up time, adjustable temperature range, a variable shelf height and ribbed aluminium branding plate. A removable fat tray and rapid clean design are included to aid convenience.
According to the firm’s head of UK sales and marketing, Jon Usher: “Burco Commercial as a brand can trace its origins back over five decades and in that time has used extensive research and development programmes to develop one of the most consistently reliable, quality ranges of commercial catering equipment in the industry.
“Taking into account operator feedback, we are proud to have been able to continually develop and expand our range specifically to suit the needs of modern day commercial kitchens.” [[page-break]]
He summarised: “As with much of the commercial kitchen equipment that is in the market, the technology behind grills and salamanders is seeing appliances being launched with greater power options, designs being enhanced to make the most of limited space and reliability being further improved by using the latest manufacturing techniques and quality materials.
"I believe this is something that will continue to advance the market for grills and salamanders going forward.”
Another manufacturer, Lincat, offers possibly the widest selection in the industry, with a choice of 49 griddles, 17 chargrills, 11 grills and 14 salamanders.
These fall into one of three product ranges: the Lynx 400 range of counter-top equipment, the Silverlink 600 range of gas and electric modular equipment and Opus 700, Lincat’s range of heavy duty prime cooking equipment.
Its most recent additions were the 1,200mm wide OG7403N/P and the 1,500mm wide OG7404N/P chargrills in its Opus 700 range. Using infrared ceramic plaque burners, these chargrills are said to deliver energy savings of 55%.
Marketing manager Helen Applewhite said: “The burners produce intense heat output from relatively low kW input, to achieve outstanding cooking performance and energy efficiency.”
All of the company’s griddles, grills, salamanders and chargrills are designed and manufactured in the UK, operating out of a purpose built 100,000ft2 factory in Lincoln.
“Product assembly takes place in specialist cells to maximise efficiencies and ensure products are produced to strict quality standards, using high-quality components,” detailed Applewhite.
Looking to the future, she predicted: “Innovative features such as automatic plate detection and rapid heat up and hold functions bring greater efficiencies to the kitchen, saving both time and energy. In terms of our product offering in this area, all we can say is: watch this space!”