Skills shortages, cost pressure, digitisation – these are the challenges faced by caterers in industry catering. Then there are the increased expectations of customers with regard to quality, special diets such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten or lactose-free as well as a varied menu. So in addition to good ideas and clever concepts, kitchens also need a partner who knows the challenges, supports them from a technical perspective and allows them to produce large quantities. Rational has created such support with iKitchen.
“We have combined the iCombi Pro, iVario and ConnectedCooking into a system solution under the name iKitchen,” Thomas Hofer, Managing Director RATIONAL Kitchen & Catering Equipment Trading FZCO at Rational, explains the principle. The objective is to facilitate the work, particularly in large kitchens from a volume of 500 meals per day, streamline processes and thus save space, money, energy and raw materials. Thomas Hofer knows one good example. Let’s take for instance a kitchen that is originally equipped with a tilting fryer, boiling pan, deep-fat fryer, pressure cooker, convection oven and a stove. In such a kitchen you can replace all the appliances except for the stove with an iCombi Pro and iVario. This will save up to 40% in space. At the same time, these two appliances together will cover up to 90% of all conventional cooking applications. With some applications, such as boiling pasta or cooking using the sous-vide method, they can even take over from each other and thus increase the flexibility of a large kitchen significantly. This also generally supports healthy cooking methods. According to Thomas Hofer: “With the iCombi Pro, for example, you can deep-fry without fat. The chips turn out as crispy as you want, but have much less fat. And with steaming, the vitamins and nutrients are much better preserved.”
The two identical user interfaces, which guide the user through the menu according to the same principle, show that the two appliances are made to collaborate. The cooking systems also have intelligent functions, which once again make them very easy to operate thus significantly reducing the rate of errors. Even untrained staff can therefore have easy access to various cooking applications. The fact that all resources are used optimally with iKitchen is also demonstrated in the overnight cooking function. Both the iCombi Pro and the iVario have this application, which saves so much production time and eliminates a lot of pressure from the kitchen.
The third component, ConnectedCooking, also helps productivity in that the networking solution can be used to manage and transfer cooking programs centrally, access and save HACCP data from both cooking systems and the iCombi Pro can even be controlled remotely. This saves many pathways, reduces the error rate and ensures a consistent standard in food production. The only thing left to do is load and unload. Max Meier first experienced iKitchen at the urbanhabor in Ludwigsburg, Germany: ConnectedCooking plays a key role in its kitchen processes and offers the essential convenience in data logging, storage and analysis. This means that all production and HACCP data can be analysed from the office. Thomas Hofer conclusion too: “Rational describes iKitchen as ‘productive and flexible. Like never before.’ Very apt, because large kitchens can work even more successfully than before and face their challenges in a flexible way.” Or in other words, this ultimately enables production without compromise.