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BLAST CHILLERS


Traulsen blast chiller


for easy recall. Furthermore, an on-board printer enables the operator to meet HACCP documentation requirements by tracking the temperature of the food at all times. The goal is to simultaneously improve food safety and ensure that large quantities of food can be prepared with consistent and repeatable results. For smaller batches, quick chiller units are also available. These use a cyclonic airfl ow system to chill food quickly


"Food safety hinges on the correct use of equipment, so controls


are becoming simpler" James Piliero


without the need to input complicated settings. In the smaller units an internal microprocessor controls temperature, and can transfer data through a wireless network to help operators comply with HACCP documentation requirements. As the foodservice industry comes to realise the benefi ts of this versatile technology, innovation is targeted at making the units easier to use and promoting food safety as a key differentiator over traditional refrigeration. “The technology for refrigeration is fairly standard. Usually there are a lot of


buttons and the programmes are quite complex. Food safety hinges on the correct use of equipment, so controls are becoming simpler. “The biggest problem with blast chillers is the interface with operators. One mistake and the food will not be chilled properly,” says Piliero. “Chilling is a mechanical process and blast chilling is just another method, but it’s important to document all food processes for safety purposes. If there is one gap in the documentation then there’s a safety risk. The whole process must be unbroken, so more comprehensive data is needed. “Our machines time out and start up automatically if a probe is inserted in order to meet legal documentation needs, so our customers aren’t tripped up by food safety regulations,” says Piliero. For Reggie Daniel, the key to pushing blast chiller technology to greater prominence in the market is to educate chefs. Once they have tried it, they rarely look back, and whether it is convenience, productivity or food safety they are most concerned about, they will fi nd that blast chillers have many answers. “You could tell chefs about food


quality. Blast freezing makes smaller ice crystals so there is less damage to food,” he says. At the moment chefs don’t understand the return on investment


(ROI), they look at the front-end costs and if they need to trim budgets they will often take out a big-ticket item like the blast chiller. One idea that pervades the foodservice industry at the moment is sustainability, so energy effi ciency is an important feature in kitchen equipment from cookers to ice machines. It would seem logical that blast chiller manufacturers would be focused on power savings. In fact, the way the equipment is used makes energy savings less of a priority. “There is no Energy Star rating for blast chillers in the US,” says Piliero. Nevertheless, the latest blast chillers from Traulsen have an energy saving mode. In terms of sustainability there is the safe use of refrigerants. Energy effi ciency is important in many types of equipment, but blast chillers spend a lot of time on stand-by, turning on and off to maintain a steady temperature.”


Because of this on/off mode of operation some manufacturers, including Traulsen, use two compressors to handle cooling processes – a large compressor for blast chilling and a smaller one to maintain a cold temperature. However, UK-based Adande has a unique system for refrigeration and blast chilling that is winning over a growing number of chefs around the world (see below).


MOVING FORWARD BY GOING BACK TO BASICS


The principle behind Adande’s technology is simple: cold air is denser than warm air. From this basic concept Adande designed a fridge and freezer system that holds cold air in insulated drawers. Mainly used as a refrigeration unit, the Adande drawer system can also operate as a blast chiller. “Our units are fl exible and suit people with a small requirement for blast chilling. Usually, our type of customer would have to buy expensive desktop units that use


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up space, have one function and are often idle,” says Ian Wood, managing director at Adande and inventor of its technology. “We introduced a blast chilling option, so the drawer can be set to refrigeration, freezing or blast chilling. For the cook-chill function our capacity is only fi ve kilos, but the market for blast chilling in smaller operations is starting to grow,” he adds.


But the most important driver of growth in the market will be


the eff orts of manufacturers and consultants to educate chefs and push the concept of cook-chill. “The blast chiller is a great


piece of equipment, but we need more manufacturers in the market,” says Daniel at Camacho. “At the moment the high price makes them a hard sell for what is basically a refrigerator on steroids. Bring the cost down and the blast chiller will become a front-line piece. We need to educate chefs about what they can do.”


For more go to foodserviceconsultant.org


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