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Author Archive | Kasy Allen

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

Water filters in their simplest form are, well, water filters – they filter out the impurities in water so that it is safe to consume.  Some types of water filters are used to filter ice and drinking water, whereas others are used to filter all of the water in an establishment, e.g. hard water, fluoride water, conditioned water.  Nonetheless, it’s important to know when you should be replacing your filters and the importance of water filtration in a restaurant.

You should also know the difference between filter heads, pre-filters, replacement filters, scale removers, and water filter systems.  Here’s a quick overview on what each of these categories are.

Filter Heads

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

Filter heads go on top of water filters and hold them in place.  You’d typically unscrew the filter from these to change out your water filters, i.e. they’re the head of the water filter system.  Filter heads should only have to be replaced when they are broken, leaking, or are clogged.

Replacement Filters

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

It’s easy to know when to replace an old filter if you can read the specifications on the filter itself.  However, if you’re unsure, try to time a replacement every six months or when the water begins to show signs of the following:

  • Water pressure drops significantly.  Many water filtration systems have a PSI (pounds per square inch) indicator needle.  If that needle is in the red or below 30 PSI, replace your filter.
  • The water tastes or smells funny.
  • Mineral deposits (or scale) start to build up in the equipment the water is being filtered through.

If you replace your water filter and you’re still seeing signs of cloudy water or bad taste, you’ll likely need to use a pre-filter as well.

Pre-Filters

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

Pre-filters add an additional layer of filtration to help purify water. As the name suggests, these filters are used in the beginning stages of filtration – when water that needs to be filtered comes in, the pre-filter works to filter out sediments like rust and silt particles.  They also help extend the life of your replacement filters.

Scale Removers

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

If you have hard water, you likely are very familiar with scale build-up.  Scale forms in the piping of faucets and equipment and causes issues overtime.  It also causes hot water heaters and equipment that uses hot water to run less efficiently, because scale makes heat transfer much more difficult.  If you have an issue with scale, you’ll likely need to invest in scale remover and a scale inhibitor (also known as a scale stick).  The scale inhibitor simply holds the scale remover, whereas, the scale remover is the action-Jackson of getting rid of scale build-up without adding any impurities to the water that is being filtered.  The scale remover Tundra offers is non-toxic and safe for food service equipment.

Water Filter Systems

Shopping Guide for Water Filter Section

Finally on our list are water filter systems.  Tundra provides over 50 water filter systems that are complete with filter heads and replacement filters.  Some come with a scale inhibitor and scale remover and others are much larger, providing more water filtration.  The size and type of a water filter system you should be investing in, depends on how you run your business and what equipment you already have (or are planning on purchasing).  Although most equipment will have guidelines on what filtration system is best, you also need to be aware of how much water and ice your business will be using – including room for future growth (you don’t want to spend money on a smaller ice machine that you’ll likely outgrow within a year’s time).

If you’re unfamiliar with the workings of water filtration, we’d highly recommend chatting with one of our sales team members.

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Are You Using the Right Zester?

Are You Using the Right Zester?For most bakers, zesting is an everyday occurrence (as well as, at most bars), but for others, it’s a simple zest here and there that’ll satisfy.  From the diehard zesting enthusiasts to the people trying it the first time, here are a few tips and products to help you learn more about the art.

Don’t believe it’s an art?  Did you know that lemons and limes that come from a normal grocery store typically have pesticides sprayed on the outside?  So, even if you scrub the fruit before zesting it, you’re still going to get those pesticides in your recipe.  Besides, when zest is added to the side of a beautiful cocktail, it does start to resemble art.

The Heart of Zesting

For lemons and limes, you’ll always want to find a fruit that feels heavy for its size – this means it’s perfectly ripe. And it’s best to pick your fruits and vegetables from a natural food market, to ensure nothing is sprayed on the outer layer.  Other fruits and vegetables that you could zest, include potatoes, oranges, grapefruit, and apples; actually, we’ve seen avocados zested too.

Whichever fruit or vegetable you’re starting with, make sure to scrub them clean and then wipe them dry.  When you get ready to zest, it is only the outermost layer that you want to take off.  The white part is called the pith, and will give the recipe a tart flavor.  Finally, if you zest more than your recipe calls for, it’s okay to freeze the remaining bits for a few months.

Safety Notice: If you’ve ever zested, you know that you should always keep Band-Aids nearby, but if you haven’t, well, zesting usually involves scrapped knuckles and fingers.

The Zesters

Microplane

Microplane zesters produce a fine, airy zest that is perfect for cake toppings, or to swirl into popsicles before freezing them.  Because the zest is so small, it’s easy to eat, and doesn’t take away from other ingredients, but make sure to avoid the pith.  You can also use them to finely shred parmesan cheese to top Caesar salad and pasta dishes.  These zesters are usually small enough for the waitstaff to carry them from table to table.

Manual Citrus Zesters

These little gadgets are handheld and are also easy to carry around.  They produce a thicker zest than the microplane zester, and the length of the zest can be from very short to long (it takes some time to get used to it to get these different lengths).  These types of zesters will usually take more time to get the end result, but they are very inexpensive.

Vegetable Peeler

For thicker strips, you can also use a vegetable peeler to shave off big pieces of garnish.  There’s the handheld type of peeler, and the table mountable ones that help do the job much quicker.  Again, you’ll have to watch how close you get to the pith.

Zip Zester

The Zip Zester is very similar to a table mounted vegetable peeler, but was made specifically for busy bars and bakeries looking for an easy zester.  This zester is capable of creating:

  • A thick peel for swirled garnish that can be added to the side of drinks.
  • Thin ribbons that can easily be shaped in bows and ribbons.
  • Fine zest or strands of zest.

To create the different types of zest mentioned, you’ll need the 4 different blade types (the main product only comes with the blade for thick peels and fine zest).

What makes the Zip Zester unique is that it helps save time (up to 10 times faster than other zesters), helps prevent knuckle scrapes, and totally avoids the white pith.  It is also capable of cutting potatoes for curly fries, fruit strands to infuse vodka, and other garnish types similar to the zesters mentioned above.

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What You Need to Know to Use a Mandoline

What You Need to Know to Use a Mandoline

Here’s the thing, mandolines are scary, and the majority of us have our bloody tales of hit fingers or knuckles, so why do we keep using them?  If you ask most Chefs, their response is simple, it’s those perfect, even cuts that can be sliced down to size, within seconds. 

If you’re in the market for a new mandoline, don’t let tales of injury leave you missing out on a unique kitchen supply item that can help save time, while delivering perfect cuts for presentation.

Safety First

Mandolines typically come with a hand guard, and if you’re inexperienced with them, we’d advise to always use the hand guard until you’re more familiar with how the mandoline works. Yes, each mandoline is different, so you need to get to know the one you’ll be working with. 

Some people like to slice down until theirs about an 1/8 of the way through the vegetable or fruit and then just discard (or save for broths) what’s left.  Other people continue to use the hand guard, while others feel comfortable slicing down to the very end.  Yet, another solution is to use cut resistant gloves when slicing away.  These gloves are great for all types of cuts, but make sure to look into the different cut levels before making a purchase.

Know the Blades

In case you haven’t picked it up by now, these blades are very, very sharp, but when looking to purchase a mandoline, you should definitely know more about it than just its sharpness.  Our mandolines range from $6 to $150, and the biggest difference in these products is the blade length and type.

Blade length ranges from 3.63 inches to 6.5 inches wide.  When trying to decide on the right length, think about what you’ll be cutting and the average width of that vegetable or fruit.  Potatoes, tomatoes, and apples can easily take up the space of the larger blade, but a carrot or lime could be cut just as easily on the shorter blade. 

Make sure to look at how many blades come with the mandoline and what each of those blades do:

  • Are they adjustable for different size cuts?
  • Do they offer a variety of cuts, like crinkle cut, waffle cut, julienne, straight?
  • Are there specialty blades for tomatoes or grating cheese?

Final thoughts on picking a mandoline, is to check the warranty of the item, whether it has a stand (or if it is handheld), and if it is dishwasher safe.  You could hand-wash a mandoline, but remember the safety factor behind doing this.

See the mandolines available at Tundra or visit us over at Pinterest to see yummy mandoline recipes.

P.S. Do you know the difference between mandoline and mandolin?

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2nd Annual Dreamstaurant Contest: Finalists Announced & Votes Are Rolling In

2nd Annual Dreamstaurant Contest: Finalists Announced & Votes Are Rolling In

Tundra Restaurant Supply launches social media portion of contest – vote on your favorite finalist.

Boulder, CO (January 13, 2014) – Today, Tundra Restaurant Supply (eTundra.com) announced their top seven finalists for the second annual Dreamstaurant contest. In alphabetical order, the finalists competing for the grand prize package of $40,000 are:

•    Athan Miller – Steamers Coffeehouse, Jack’s Bar and Grill
•    Curtis Beebe – Pearl in the Grove
•    Geoff Suk – New Concept/Restaurant
•    Jeff Labhart – Bonta: Natural Artisan Gelato
•    Jerry Nevins – Snow & Co
•    Kathleen Rana – Jersey Girl Café
•    Tory Nelson  – Wapiti Colorado Pub

The public and the finalists are encouraged to cast a vote for their favorite Dreamstaurant finalist and share their favorite with their friends. Votes can be cast on a daily basis until the voting period ends on January 31, 2014.

The contest winner will be announced February 4, 2014.

Why is Voting so Important?

Although Tundra’s own judges have the final say on the winner, they need the public’s help on who they think should be picked. Tundra is basing the winner of the contest on an 8-point grading system, one of which is for social response. The higher the votes a contestant gets, the more points they can get in this category.

Let the votes begin!

About Tundra Restaurant Supply

Tundra Restaurant Supply believes in taking action to solve customers’ problems so that those customers can sustain and grow the relationship with theirs. By following this mission they have grown to be the leading international distributor of restaurant equipment, supplies and parts for the food service industry: including over 60,000 items by more than 600 different brands. Tundra also offers restaurant design services by designers with more than 30 years’ experience in the industry, and other specialty items in the plumbing and janitorial trade.  Tundra has expanded since its conception, but has always held true to its roots of creating a culture to always have fun – learn more about Tundra and their mission.

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How a Fry Cutter Works & How to Replace the Blades

How a Fry Cutter Works & How to Replace the Blades

With over 180 vegetable and fruit cutters in stock, it can start to get overwhelming with which one is right for your business, and what to do when a repair is needed.  The good news is that with most manual cutters, DIY is easy.  One of our latest customer questions came in about our Nemco FryKutters:

“When I need to replace the blade on my Nemco fry cutter, do I have to buy a whole new blade grid, or is there another option?”

Well, the good news is that there are options; so, we’ll take this opportunity to share with you the benefits of fry cutters, as well as, how you can DIY replace the blades.

What a Fry Cutter is Used For

I suppose we should start this off by saying that the fry cutter goes by many names.  Nemco calls theirs a FryKutter, but other people refer to it as a potato cutter; either way, this food prep machine is able to cut a lot more than just the starchy favorite it is named after.  Within minutes you could have piles of cut potatoes, celery, bell peppers, carrots, and tomatoes.  You can even do fruits, if you’d like.  Some of the FryKutters do sweet potatoes, but not all of them, so always ask for help or do your research before making a new purchase.

And if you’ve never used one, it’s as easy as sticking the vegetable between the pushing block and blade grid, pulling the lever forward, and, voila, sliced vegetables (or fruit).  You can mount the Nemco FryKutter on a table, cutting board, or on the wall (many people prefer wall-mount so that gravity can do what it does best, and help the vegetable slide on through). 

Replacing the Blades

We have to give a precaution before we start this.  You will be messing with blades, so watch your fingers as you try to rebuild your grid.  Other than that, let’s get started:

1. Unscrew the wing nuts towards the end of the fry cutter. When the wing nuts are removed, you should be able to slide the blade guard off of the fry cutter.

How a Fry Cutter Works & How to Replace the Blades

2. If you flip the blade guard over, you should see two Philips head screws that you’ll need to unscrew.

3. Once you unscrew the Philips head screws, remove the top plate (also referred to as the spacer), turn the bottom plate over, and start knocking around the edges so the blades fall out.  You could use the handle end of the screwdriver to knock it, or some other hard plastic.

4. When all of the blades pop-out, you’ll turn the bottom plate back over, and get ready to begin building your grid out of the new replacement blade parts.  Depending on the size of your fry cutter grid, replacement blades come in a 1/4” blade set, 1/2” blade set, and 3/8” blade set.  Now, it’s easiest to know beforehand that you’ll be dealing with two types of blades in the set. One blade will have the sharp edge on one side, and the slits on the other side.  The second blade will have the blade and slit on the same side.  For ease of instructions, we’ll simply call them Blades 1 and Blades 2 from here on out.

5. Starting with Blades 1, you’ll place 2 of the blades on one side of the bottom plate with the blades facing down, and the slits facing up.  Do the same thing on the opposite side.

6. Working from the outside in, continue to place Blades 1 the same way as you placed the first 4 blades.

7. For Blades 2, you’ll do the same thing, but in the opposite direction that Blades 1 lie, and with the slits and blade facing down. Sometimes, you may have to shift the blade slightly to make sure it fits into place between each of the slots.

8. Now, put the top plate back on, screw on the Phillips head screws, and replace the blade grid, with the sharp edges facing toward the pusher block (the part that pushes the potato through the blades).

9. Replace the wing nuts, and you should be good to go.

If you’d rather not replace the blades yourself, you can also purchase the blade grid, complete with the plates:

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To DIY or Not to DIY: Should You Make That Repair?

To DIY or Not to DIY: Should You Make That Repair?

When Tundra started, more than 20 years ago, we were a simple plumbing parts distributor.  Working out of a garage, our founder, Michael Lewis, began going door to door to see how he could help different businesses in the food service industry get the parts they needed to stay up and running, which quickly expanded Tundra to house more parts to serve its customers needs.

What he learned was that a lot of people in charge of running a kitchen were intimidated to make repairs, even simple ones.  Being the honest man he was (and still is), he took this as an opportunity to help teach people how they could make the repairs on their own.  The idea was that there were parts that you should have no problem installing yourself, while there were others that should be left to a professional.  Michael called them always DIY parts, sometimes DIY parts, and never DIY parts.

Always DIY Parts

Always Do It Yourself Parts require very little research and no technical skill to install. In general, if a part can be installed without the use of tools, it’s an Always DIY Part. Some typical examples include knobs, fryer baskets, light bulbs and hood filters.

If you’re trying to cut operating expenses in your kitchen, these are great items to start with. Because Always DIY Parts don’t require a service tech for installation, you start saving immediately on service labor, and you avoid the usual tech markup. Additionally, these parts can typically be used on multiple pieces of equipment and are generally in-stock ready for same-day pick-up or delivery. Usually, it would not make sense for a kitchen to stock replacement parts, but Always DIY Parts are one of the exceptions. Since most of these parts are multi-use (items like knobs), it may make sense to keep a few extras on hand.

To DIY or Not to DIY: Should You Make That Repair?

Sometimes DIY Parts

Sometimes Do It Yourself Parts require a small amount of research and little to no skill to install. These parts typically require the use of basic tools for installation, such as a screwdriver or wrench. The skill level for Sometimes DIY Parts is rather broad and spans from screwing in a refrigeration latch to installing a thermostat. While a thermostat is more difficult to install than a latch, the process can easily be taught. Everyone’s range for Sometimes DIY Parts is really determined by their confidence and comfort with making repairs.

Examples of typical Sometimes DIY Parts include refrigeration gaskets, switches, light fixtures, and high limits. While a lot of these items are typically multi-use parts, they are not necessarily needed as frequently so may not always be in stock. It is important when purchasing this category of parts to have a conversation with one of our sales team members to gauge the required technical knowledge for your specific part need.

With these parts, a little confidence and experience can go a long way to save time and money. This being said, most individuals can install Sometimes DIY Parts. If the installation is more difficult, you can always call a service tech to assist and still purchase the part yourself to save you the tech’s part mark-up.

To DIY or Not to DIY: Should You Make That Repair?

Never DIY Parts

Never Do It Yourself Parts require the highest level of research and advanced technical knowledge to ensure the installation is done properly. Some common Never DIY Parts are refrigeration compressors, steamer boilers/generators, and parts for any 480 volt equipment. Odds are, you’ll want to contact an experienced service tech for these repairs.

Never DIY Parts are typically not in stock, because the parts are linked heavily to specific OEMs, making it unlikely multiple people will need the same part on a frequent basis. While it is best to use a service tech for these types of repairs, you can still look to purchase the necessary parts. To speed up the ordering process, present our sales team with the make and model number of your piece of equipment, as well as the item you need.

To DIY or Not to DIY: Should You Make That Repair?

Have DIY Questions?

We know that this only slightly covers how to gauge if you should be doing repairs yourself, but as it was Michael’s intention, we do hope that this helps you walk away with a slightly better understanding of what you should have in stock in your own kitchen.  And of course, if you have any questions on how to DIY on any of your food service equipment, let us know, we are lucky enough to have a lot of team members with years of experience in equipment repair.

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Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

Rosseto is not like your average catering supplier.  They strive to bring a sense of style and elegance to the catering and buffet world that is unlike most.  With clean-cut lines, their eye-catching products help display the beauty that is in catering, the food.  From dry food dispensers to some of the most versatile catering displays, here are a few of our favorite products from Rosseto.

Riser System

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

Rosseto’s riser system is a mix of different size towers and tempered glass in multiple shapes and sizes that can be fit together to make different types of display layouts.  It can be setup for a simple breakfast bar, or built out to include warmers at one end and fade to beverage holders at the other end.  The crisp look ads style to the table without hiding the beauty the chef worked so hard creating.

Notice how in the picture above there are slits in different areas of the risers?  This allows for different bends and shapes so that the display can fit in multiple areas, rather than just in a straight line.

Warmer Solutions

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

The trend in catering has long been turning to food being cooked in front of the customer.  It helps make the food more enticing when customers can see it, smell it, and talk to the cook that is preparing it.  With Rosseto’s warming solutions, you can build the warming station into the riser system, so everything flows and looks incorporated.  There are square solutions, like the ones pictured above, and round solutions where a pot can sit on top, or sunk into the display.

Dry Food Storage

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

If you’re running an ice cream or frozen yogurt shop, you know that even adults get excited by seeing the toppings displayed and self-served.  With Rosseto’s line of dry food storage dispensers, you not only get to display those toppings in an impressive way, but you also get portion control technology that saves you money.  From 1.5 tbsp to 1 tsp, each portion delivered can be measured to within 1 gram of what is dispensed, which means controlled portions that saves from unintentional spills.

Dry food storage is also great for cereals, coffee beans, tea, spices and bar snacks.  Since the storage containers are sealed, it keeps the product fresher, longer, which means no more stale peanuts or cereal or tea and spices that lose their flavor.

Dry food storage containers can be wall-mounted or placed on the table top, depending on what option you select.

Cooler Solutions

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

Have product that needs to stay cool: drinks, tapas, cheeses, fish, etc.?  With Rosseto’s cooler solution, you’ll be amazed at how beautiful a bowl full of drinks or display of tapas can look.  Mixed with other catering solutions from Rosseto, or alone, the cooler solutions help bring chilled beverages and foods to the table without compromising décor.

Beverage Dispensers

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style There are beverage dispensers and then there are artfully created beverage dispensers.  In multiple color varieties, the beverage dispensers also integrate with the other display stands from Rosseto.  There’s also an ice chamber that floats atop the beverage, to make sure it stays cool as it sits.

Bakery Cases

Rosseto Catering & Buffet Supplies With Style

Last, but not least, Rosseto also offers bakery cases, beyond its riser system.  With sliding drawers that are clear, and design detail to help showcase food, the bakery system helps keep baked goods fresh, while adding grace, even with their tiered clear displays that come in two-three stacks.

Have you invested in Rosseto products for your catering business or buffet display?  Share your story with us below.

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Shopping for the Right Knife

Shopping for the Right Knife

When shopping for cutlery, there are plenty of different price points for knives suggesting a range of qualities. Picking the right knife comes down to how it feels in your hand when you’re cutting. Most chefs would recommend cutting with a friend’s knife before purchasing a new one, but if you can’t do that, at least knowing the different styles of knives can help you narrow down the options.

The most used all-purpose knife in Western kitchens is the chef’s knife. These knives are versatile in that they allow for a diverse set of cuts and applications. Santoku knives are similar to chef’s knives, but have a thinner blade, which makes them better for slicing vegetables. From there, you get more specialized with the other knife types: boning knives, paring knives, cleavers, etc.
Final recommendations, find a knife that feels lightweight, but sturdy in your hand, has a comfortable grip, and is sharp. If you aren’t familiar with the different brands of knives, try a less expensive option before investing in a pricier one. The brand of knife you choose is completely dependent on what feels right; so it’s worth trying out a few.

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Stainless Steel Gauge and Series

Stainless Steel Gauge and Series

Looking for a stainless steel work table, and need help deciphering between the gauge and series assigned to the tables? Don’t feel lost; some people say that stainless steel is magnetic, while some say it’s not. The truth is, both statements are correct, but it depends on what series the equipment was made with.

The series of a stainless steel work table refers to the type of material that was used to form it. 300 series tables are composed of nickel and chromium, which make it one of the most durable and corrosion resistant series. While the 300 series is not magnetic, it does account for 50% of the world’s production of stainless steel. The 400 series is composed of low carbon steels, making it less durable than the 300 series. However, it is magnetic and resistant to corrosion (although not as resistant as the 300 series). When you’re shopping for work tables, like  Elkay’s, you’ll see the 300 and 400 series most commonly. Don’t be mistaken though, there are 5 major classes of stainless steel, which are then broken down even further into 250 different grades.

The gauge of the stainless steel identifies the thickness of the metal – the larger the gauge, the thinner the metal. For example, a 22 gauge will be thinner than an 18 gauge. A 16 or 18 gauge steel is generally appropriate for a commercial kitchen working table, while a 22 or 23 gauge table will be easily damaged and dented.

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Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

You’ve likely thought everything through when it comes to ensuring you and your staff’s safety in the kitchen. More often than not, however, one of the easiest protective pieces gets overlooked.

Cotton oven mitts are not a sufficient barrier from the likely perils of a commercial kitchen. They do not protect from liquid and vapor burns, they are not NSF certified, and they do not offer thermal protection. In a commercial kitchen you need these qualities in an oven mitt and that’s why we recommend  Tucker’s BurnGuard mitts. They are built to last 10 times longer, and because they’re more durable than cotton mitts, they will definitely save you money in the long term.

Stay Safe With Tucker BurnGuard Oven Mitts

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