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A commercial kitchen contains many individual pieces of equipment that need to be used in concert to prepare meals for hungry customers. Many of these appliances, including ovens, refrigerators, ice machines, are the same as you would have in your own kitchen, but in a commercial setting these machines are often larger and of industrial strength to be able to make larger batches of food for the restaurant's or cafeteria's customers.
An oven is the most widely used appliance in a commercial kitchen. It is used to heat food to any temperature that is required to cook or warm it thoroughly. Many ovens are used just for baking, be it bread and muffins or desserts and cakes. Ovens used in a commercial kitchen are usually bigger than the ones made for domestic use so they can cook more food at the same time. Commercial convection ovens use either conductive metal coils that are heated by electricity or gas to heat and cook the food.
Refrigerators help to keep food cold, maintain its freshness and avoid bacteria or mold growth, which is hazardous to one's health. Many varieties of refrigerators exist for different purposes. A refrigerator set to a specific temperature may be used for just vegetables or beverages, for example. For convenience, many commercial refrigerators have glass doors so that kitchen staff can see the food they need from outside and do not have to waste time opening and closing the door to look, which can expose the food unnecessarily to warmer temperatures, causing freshness to deteriorate.
Commercial ice machines have one purpose: to make large quantities of ice for the kitchen. These machines first make ice from water and then break it up into smaller cubes. The small ice cubes have many uses throughout the kitchen. Ice is used in cold beverages and drinks. Fresh meats and seafood can be kept in ice to keep them handy for the cooks by cutting out an extra trip to the refrigerator. Ice is also used to keep metal bowls cold when whipping cream for desserts.
Hot food cabinets or warming cabinets are used in kitchens to keep cooked food warm before it is served. This allows kitchens to cook food in advance and have it hot and ready for when it is ordered by customers. Warming cabinets are ideal for keeping completed dishes hot while chefs prepare other dishes for a table's order. This allows all of a particular table's food to be delivered hot at the same time.
Based in New York, Noah Sharp has been writing about film and pop-culture since 2002. His articles have appeared in "Reelin'" magazine, as well as the website Everything's Fantastic. Sharp received a Bachelor of Science in film from Ithaca College, with minors in writing and art history.