Smooth Operator – Have you got a blender in your kitchen?
Nowhere in a chef’s kitchen is power and performance more appreciated than in a blender.
Find out how to choose the right one for your business
If you think blenders are all about smoothies and more use in a bar than a kitchen, think again. There’s a whole new generation of power performers out there. These multipurpose workhorses are perfect for chefs who need to tempt diners with ever more creative textures and tastes and serve them in seconds.
Professional blenders give chefs total control over the food preparation process from a light touch to lots of power and speed. Spinning blades at the speed of sound [almost], they can handle just about anything you throw in them. They can whip up delicate spreads, batters, salsas, sauces, dressings and perform the heavy duty crunching of grains and beans for hummus, nut butters, fruit powders, crushed ice, thick blends, sorbets and purees.
Experts agree on three factors that separate the men toy’s from the boys’ – jar shape, blades (number and position) and motor strength.
Fingers On the Pulse
With speedy delivery essential to boost the lunchtime and breakfast trade, powerful blenders keep kitchens competitive. But how do you choose one that’s right for your kitchen?
Chefs are very passionate about their brands but if you are looking to upgrade or buy your first, you need to choose one that works for your style of cooking, your menu and your kitchen set up. For example, some chefs like manual controls whilst others prefer to be able to set a machine and walk away to multi-task.
Noise is another factor and if you have an open kitchen you may need to consider a quieter, less powerful option or buy one with a noise insulating cover. If your recipes are complex, an electronic blend cycle memory is also a bonus; it remembers your regular recipes saving time and letting others prep for you.
Chefs Want Power
Power, durability and variable speeds were top requirements according to chefs surveyed by starchefs.com. Consistent results, easy to clean and use also rated high as well as an automatic shutoff to let the machine cool down rather than burnout.
Professional machines aren’t cheap – but they are much more effective than domestic models with up to 10 times more power and the ability to withstand years of heavy duty use. Invest in the right smooth operator and you could give your kitchen a competitive edge for creative as well as speedy service.
As Glynn Purnell, Chef Patron of Michelin-starred Purnell’s in Birmingham, explains: “We’ve had a Blendtec Chef for four months and the smoothness of the puree’s is unreal! The speed and power of the Blendtec halves the amount of time it normally takes to blend the same puree’s we’ve previously been making. It’s the most productive, cost effective blender I’ve ever used…..coarse to smooth in 90 seconds!”
Early or Late, Bespoke Blends are Great
Set up a blending bar and bring a bit of theatre to your morning or evening service by whipping up healthy breakfasts or delicious cocktails and drinks in front of customers who can select their favourite ingredients.
With nine of out 10 people associating ‘fresh’ with healthy, the simplest way to tap into the nutritious breakfast trend is to blend something before their very eyes. For customers seeking easy on-the-go options, blend a low-fat Greek yogurt with a fresh fruit combination of their choice – whizzed and topped with toasted granola. This can be part of your take-away or sit-down menu. Protein, such as Greek yogurt, is popular for weight management because it is low in calories but filling, and a winner for spring and summer.
Power blended ‘made from scratch’ raw fruit or vegetable drinks full of vital fibre, proteins, vitamins and minerals are another healthy option that let’s you tap into into the trend for healthy ingredients and fresh seasonal products. Not only will customers get something fast and delicious, but they’ll be ticking several boxes on their five-a-day lists – and thanking you for helping them do it.
The bespoke option particularly appeals to children and families as they can exclude – or disguise – the fruit and veg they dislike from their power mix.
For cocktail service, professional blenders are a must: only they have the muscle needed to crush ice, and blend quickly and consistently for long periods. The new cocktail trend this summer is alcoholic milkshakes. Bars and restaurants all over London have gone daft on dairy with ideas such as vanilla and rum, bourbon and maple syrup, pineapple and strawberry with light rum and coconut shakes from £6.50 a pop. Tell your customers to forget the diet, think of a flavour combinations they’d like to try and shake it up.
To get the best out of a bar or counter top blender, you will need several jars – preferably stackable to save space – and an area to clean them. The most powerful blenders make the smoothest, fastest mixes but need heavy-duty motors. Always think about buying one with a noise insulator option or create an attractive cupboard to house your blender. If you take the cupboard route, choose a model with electronic memory controls so you can programme your recipe, press the button, close the door and walk away to prep your next blend.
Top 5 Blends
· Liquefying fruit and veg
· Smoothies and Shakes
How blenders work
· Blades spinning up to 39,000 rpms create a vortex
· The vortex pulls food through the blades
· Food hits jar base and is sucked up the sides in a repeat cycle
· Curvy jars make food move faster
· Blades should be long not sharp
· Smoothness depends on narrowness of gap between blade and jar
· Motors power blades: more watts mean tougher ingredients are blended faster
· Copolyester jars don’t crack under pressure