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Learn how to buy the right restaurant equipment and supplies right here.

The Elkay Difference

elkay-foodserviceNowadays, stainless steel in a restaurant kitchen is as ubiquitous as the kitchen sink!

And companies like Elkay do both (and more).

Family-owned since 1920, Elkay entered the market by creating the high quality sinks. Serving both the residential and commercial markets, Elkay quickly expanded into the manufacture of faucets, water coolers, drinking fountains and better fillers to meet new demands of a changing marketplace. Elkay products have been praised for their durable products all crafted in stainless steel.

We hear about stainless steel all the time: cooks have long used stainless steel cookware, doctors use stainless steel instruments, and homeowners everywhere love the sheen of a stainless steel kitchen. But what exactly is stainless steel and why do we love it so much?

Stainless steel is a steel alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. Chromium is a lustrous, hard and brittle metal which takes a high polish, resists tarnishing and has a high melting point.

Still with me?

As a result, stainless steel does not easily corrode, rust or stain plus it’s extremely durable, recyclable—and for chefs, stainless steel (when wrapped around an aluminum or copper core) creates even heat transfer.

Plus, it just looks pretty.

You might not be concerned with aesthetics as much in the kitchen, however, where functionality is key. Elkay crafts their products in stainless steel because it’s long-lasting, easy to clean, and will not absorb odors (like plastic or other materials).

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Top 10 Easy DIY Fixes For Your Restaurant

kitchen-diy-fix

Between the front and back of house operations, chances are you have several different supplies and equipment that are used regularly in your restaurant. High-volume wear and tear on your equipment takes its toll on your products, and you may find yourself with breakages and breakdowns. The good news is that many items can be fixed yourself at a fraction of the price you’d pay for a service technician.

At Tundra Restaurant Supply, we sell over 22,000 parts that cover everything from beverage and cooking equipment parts, to electrical, furniture, janitorial and more. Getting just a little handy around the restaurant will save you time, and more importantly, money. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of 10 Easy DIY Fixes you can do now:

1. Utility Carts

The unsung workhorse of your kitchen, utility carts help your staff move dirty dishes, fresh utensils, and any other bulk items quickly and efficiently. If your cart loses a caster, it’ll be down for the count. Keep the workflow moving by stocking up on casters from brands like Rubbermaid.

2. Pre-Rinse Hoses

In a busy kitchen, your wash station is key to being clean and organized during the rush. When a breakdown happens, save yourself the cost of purchasing a brand new Pre-Rinse Assembly (which can set you back anywhere from $200 to $700), and instead locate your model’s pre-rinse hose part and make the fix yourself.

3. Refrigeration Gaskets

A tight seal on your refrigerator door is crucial to maintaining a low temperature that keeps product fresh and safe for diners. Not only that, when the seal on your door is weak, your refrigerator has to work harder to maintain a proper temperature—which creates a downward spiral of higher energy costs and poor performance that could result in more costly fixes down the road. Lucky for you, refrigeration gaskets are easy to replace and cheap enough to keep a few extras on hand. Be sure to check out our Refrigeration Door Seal & Gasket Buying Guide for more information »

4. Burner Valves

If your gas range seems like it’s on the fritz in your restaurant, don’t be alarmed. Burner valves regular the gas flow within your equipment, and chances are a quick replacement of this small part will get you cooking again. And the good news? It’ll only cost you $100 or less.

5. Food Storage

Your staff is in and out of your food storage containers several times a day, taking a toll on latching mechanisms. Luckily several manufacturers sell replacement covers, latches and more so you aren’t footing the bill for an entirely new container.

 

6. Mop Buckets

They’re not the most glamorous item in your business, but you can’t imagine keeping on top of your operation without it. Mop buckets serve a key purpose of keeping your restaurant clean (and in code). Don’t let a loose (or broken caster) prevent you from doing the job quickly and efficiently; keep a few casters on hand and you won’t be sorry.

7. Refrigeration Hinges

Your refrigeration hinges serve an obvious purpose—keep the door on! Protect your product within your refrigerator, walk-in, blast chillers and more with proper hinges. A quick hinge fix can save you a lot on unspoiled product. Interested in learning more about your refrigeration equipment? Check out our Refrigeration Buying Guide here »

8. Floor Drain Covers & Strainers

Less of a DIY and perhaps more of a simple fix, floor drain covers and strainers keep your pipes clean from debris. Prevent a pipe backup (and a bigger expense) cheaply and easily by stocking up on several of these products.

 

9. Light Fixtures

Sharp objects and darkness don’t mix. Keep the lights (and your thumbs) on and intact by keeping light fixtures on-hand for unexpected burnouts. Your kitchen staff will thank you.

 

 

10. High Chair Strap Kit

Kids are surprisingly strong, so don’t be surprised when you go through 4 or 5 high chairs before you find one without a broken strap. Have a few straps available to switch out and your diners will thank you.

 

 

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Juicing 101 – An Introductory Guide to Juicing

orange-juiceBoth commercial and residential fans have long praised the healthy, delicious taste of freshly-made squeezed juice. When you juice your own fruits and vegetables, you easily avoid the added sugars and other additives commonly found on marketplace shelves—and trust us, diners will notice the fresher taste. For those at home, juicing is also a great way to mix vegetables into the diets of picky eaters.

Ready to take the plunge and juice? Let’s get started!

There are different kinds of juicers?
Before you get started in juicing, consider which type of juice would work best for you. In the commercial environment, you’ll often find manual citrus juicers perfect for that homemade orange juice in the mornings.

For those at home, the prominent types of electric juicers on the market on centrifugal and masticating.

Breville JE98XL Juice Fountain Plus 850-Watt Juice Extractor

Centrifugal
Physical attributes: a large, stout base with a tall, primary column
Cost: Anywhere from $50 – $200 (typically)

The centrifugal juicer works fast, and by fast, I mean that suction in the column is strong and it’ll suck up your orange in a heartbeat. Less components also means less cleanup—which I definitely encourage you do immediately following each juicing session to keep the filter clean and operating efficiently.

Omega J8006 Nutrition Center Juicer

Masticating
Physical attributes: long, horizontal spout where pulp is discarded—looks similar to a meat grinder
Cost: Anywhere from $100 – $400 (roughly)

The masticating juicer mashes products through a rough mesh, making it ideal for extracting lots of juice from leafy, green vegetables. What you gain in output, you lose in time–it takes a bit longer than a centrifugal juicer to extract those juices and clean all of the components.

What do you do with leftover juice pulp?
Juice pulp, or the fibers that remain after extracting the juice from your fruits & veggies shouldn’t be thrown away! Often lauded as the healthiest part of the food, juice pulp can be added to a variety of dishes you can make. Including:

  • Breads (like carrot bread, zucchini, and more)
  • Muffins (leftover fruit pulp like apple works well for muffins)
  • Pasta sauce (works well with carrot, beet and other root vegetables)
  • Vegetable broth (be sure to remove the vegetable pulp before you juice your fruits)

You can also store leftover pulp in an ice cube tray and freeze for ‘green’ smoothies later.

Awesome, I’m ready to juice! Now what?
Deciding on a centrifugal or a masticating juicer is really a sense of preference; it should fit your lifestyle and your needs. Some questions you might want to consider are:

  1. Speed
    If you’re juggling a busy household and a full-time job, you’ll want something quick to juice and quick to clean. Centrifugal juicers are known for their speed, and with minimal parts to clean (which are easy to disassemble and reassemble again), you’ll be out the door in minutes.
  2. Price
    You can find both masticating and centrifugal juicers in the same pricing ballpark, depending on the model, however masticating juicers do start on the higher end. If that extra money for a masticating juicer is more than you’re comfortable to spend, then stick with the centrifugal juicer—the variance is output is relatively low when compared to its masticating counterpart.
  3. What do you plan to juice?
    Seems like a no-brainer, but if you’re more concerned with regularly juicing leafy vegetables, you’ll see a larger yield with a masticating juicer (and a larger bang for your buck). However, if you’re most looking forward to some fresh orange juice on Sunday mornings with the family, you might find the ease of a centrifugal juicer more your speed.

Whichever you juicer you decide, I guarantee you’ll find it hard to go back to the store-bought stuff after having fresh juice on the regular. And speaking of fresh juice, check out this simple (and easy) recipe for a healthy juice that’s perfect for sipping on while you cruise the farmer’s market:

Summer Cleansing Juice Recipe

  • 1 beet
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 2-3 carrots
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • Dash of ginger (ginger is great for the digestive system!)

Cut the leaves off of the beet and celery, and make sure everything is washed thoroughly before putting in your juice. Then, put everything in your juicer, and enjoy!

What kinds of juice will you enjoy this summer?

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Mechanical and Digital Scales [Buying Guide]

mechanical-kitchen-scaleThere are several types of kitchen scales you could purchase for your kitchen (around 10 or so, to be exact). Other than their obvious purpose of calculating the weight of an object, some scales are designed for specific business purposes; for example, a baker’s dough scale is used by baking professionals to measure dough, or the lesser-known keg scales help you track how many drinks were poured at the bar over the course of an evening.

If you haven’t used scales in your kitchen before, consider this: one of the leading causes of food cost variances is poor portion control. If you prep or line cooks are in the habit of “eyeballing” measures, you could see a variance of 5% or more. Beyond measuring baking ingredients for the perfect cake, you can use a kitchen scale to portion out steaks, measure pasta, or weigh a pizza pepperoni by pepperoni to ensure the appropriate amount of product is headed to diner’s plates.

In the new buying guide from Tundra Restaurant Supply, you’ll learn about the types of kitchen scales on the market, whether a digital or mechanical scale is best for you, and other scale features you may not have considered initially in your purchase decision (like a tare feature, air dashpot, or even being dishwasher safe).

Click here to check out the Mechanical and Digital Scales Buying Guide »

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Product Spotlight: Baking Brushes

Brush an egg wash on your rolls prior to baking for a golden, shiny exterior.

Brush an egg wash on your rolls prior to baking for a golden, shiny exterior.

When I moved out of my childhood home, one of the first things my mother bought me was a baking brush (like this one from Carlisle)—not surprising of course, since she is a baker herself and once owned a bakery in Miami, Florida called Afternoon Tea. A baking brush, also referred to as a pastry brush, is primarily used for spreading butter, a glaze, or an egg wash on food. For example, brushing an egg wash* over the top of bread dough yields a shiny, golden and crispy exterior (while still maintaining that moist, chewy interior we love about fresh bread).

pastry-brush

Traditional baking brushes have natural or nylon bristles, while newer models are opting for silicone bristles.

Traditional pastry brush bristles are made from either natural or plastic/nylon, while more modern adaptions include silicone brushes. Both types of brushes perform equally well, though you may find a traditional pastry brush offers a smoother, more complete coating whereas larger gaps occur with silicone bristles. Traditional brushes do run the risk of losing bristles over time (similar to a paint brush), so be sure to inspect your food carefully.

Try brushing an egg wash on your next batch of dinner rolls for extra color and flavor.

*an egg wash is a lightly beaten egg mixed with either 1 tablespoon of milk or water

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Protect Diners with Purple-colored Kitchen Products

Nothing ruins a dining experience more than an allergic reaction. A diner experiencing an allergic reaction can be quite serious, and symptoms range from asimple rash to the inflammation and closing of one’s throat.

When there are (literally) several cooks in the kitchen, maintaining consistent food-allergy procedures is crucial to keeping diners safe. And it’s not just the food itself which requires attention to food-allergy safe measures—have you trained your front-of-house staff effectively so they are aware of how the food is prepared? Do they know the best way to communicate allergy concerns between the diner and kitchen? Who is responsible for making special order dishes? How do you prevent cross-contamination?

Since becoming an industry standard, several manufacturers have released a line of purple-colored products designated as ‘allergen free.’ Some of those brands include:allergy-free-products

  • American Metalcraft
  • Cambro
  • DayMark
  • Mercer cutlery
  • Precision Pours
  • San Jamar
  • Stanley
  • Tablecraft
  • Thunder Group
  • Vollrath
  • Winco

Utilizing purple-colored cutlery, cookware, kitchen and baking supplies helps ensures that a single, non-contaminated tool is being used in the food preparation of someone with a food allergy. A simple washing may not remove allergen proteins from equipment (like Vollrath’s frying pans), which is why you’ll want a designated knife (we like Mercer Cutlery) and cutting board (try San Jamar) for even your basic needs.

Allergen free Cambro containers allow for advance prepping, so you’ll know that when you arrive for your shift what you’re grabbing from the refrigerator is safe to use. Mercer Cutlery’s silicone baking mats and pie servers make baking gluten-free treats a breeze. You can even utilize Cambro’s allergen free measuring cup to keep gluten-free flours and ingredients separate from your main operation. Be sure to designate ingredients and plates with either bamboo picks or colored labels which are great for freezer boxes, dry storage, and food rotation containers.

Keeping organized is the key to safe and secure kitchen. What other tips do you have for protecting diners with allergies?

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What Type of Knife Sharpener is Right for Your Kitchen?

Kitchen Knives & Sharpening Steel

Whether you’re shopping for your home kitchen or commercial kitchen, knowing what knife sharpener to use will help determine if your knife collection lasts a year or for many years to come. Besides, if you’re going to invest the money in building your knife collection, you owe it to yourself to learn a bit about keeping them sharp. Here’s a quick guide on the difference between knife sharpeners – including when you should be honing instead of sharpening.

First, Let’s Learn About Honing and Sharpening

There are 2 main ways to get a better edge on your knife: honing and sharpening. In most cases, you’ll simply hone the blade, not sharpen.

On to the Sharpeners

There are 4 main types of honing rods/sharpeners: sharpening steels, sharpening stones, manual knife sharpeners, and electric knife sharpeners.

1. Sharpening Steels

It’s important to note that sharpening steels are actually honing rods. The industry term is sharpening steel, but this is simply a misnomer for what is actually a tool that is used for honing knife blades.

Victorinox Sharpening SteelSharpening steels are primarily used by Chefs before and after they use their knives. They help to hone the blade and give the perfect edge between cuts. The main difference in the type of sharpening steel to use is the cut type and blade shape.

  • Cut Type. Depending on the cut type, you’ll get a lighter or heavier hone on your blades. For a lighter hone, choose a ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­fine, smooth, or helical (a spiral cut on the rod) cut type. For a heavier hone, choose a ­­combination, regular, or diamond cut type. For a look at the different cut types, take a look at these Victorinox sharpening steels.
  • Blade Shape. Round blades (or rods) are the most common type of sharpening steel used in kitchens, because they’re super easy and fast to use. Oval blades (or rods) give a bigger surface area for honing, but may slow you up if the steel is turned slightly out of place.
  • Material Type. Honing rods are commonly made of 3 different materials: steel, ceramic, and diamond (a steel rod with a diamond abrasive). By utilizing the ceramic and/or diamond rods, these materials are actually more abrasive than steel; so as you hone, you are slightly creating a new edge with minimal grind. Don’t think of it as sharpening, just a much more refined hone.

2. Sharpening Stones

Victorinox Sharpening StoneAlso referred to as whetstones, sharpening stones are great for sharpening very dull knives. The knife’s blade edge should be perpendicular to your strokes, but can be put against the stone at different angles to really bring the blade to a new layer of metal. Sharpening stones are also great for sharpening other odd blades, like razors and scissors. For more on how to use a sharpening stone, check out this knife sharpening video.

  • Pro Tip. Another good way to sharpen scissors is to cut through a few squares of some fine grit (finishing) sandpaper, ~240 or greater (the higher the number, the finer the grit). Treat this technique the same way you would a sharpening stone, by going through a couple levels of coarseness for more severe/dull jobs.

 3. Manual Knife Sharpeners

Victorinox Manual Knife SharpenerManual knife sharpeners offer an easy way to get your blades sharp, but at a lower price point than their electric counterpart. Manual knife sharpeners are great for traveling Chefs as they’re easy to pack up and carry.

 4. Electric Knife Sharpeners

Electric Knife SharpenerElectric knife sharpeners add convenience when it comes to knife sharpening, but some may say that they don’t allow for as much control as other manual methods and aren’t really designed for portable use.

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You Make What with a Panini Grill?

When it comes to food trucks, space is of the essence. With limited counters, food truck owners have had to get crafty with the equipment they choose to work with, but the panini press (also known as a sandwich grill) offers the perfect solution for creative cooks. Here are a few ways that cooks with small kitchens are using panini presses for more than just sandwiches.

1. Omelets

Omelete on Panini GrillPhoto Credit: Food Network / YouTube

 Throw on the spinach, eggs, garlic, salt and pepper, close the press for about a minute, then fold your omelet together – quick and easy breakfast.

2. Hashbrowns

Hashbrowns Cooked in Panini GrillPhoto Credit: Buzzfeed

It’s so much easier to cook hashbrowns in a panini grill.

3. Salads

Panini Grilled Caesar SaladPhoto Credit: How Sweet it Is

No, seriously; it’s a thing. Grilling heartier lettuces, like romaine, actually adds a smoky flavor and crisp to the salad that is delicious.

4. Meats

Cooking Meat on Panini GrillPhoto Credit: The Kitchn

Think of it as a supped up George Foreman. Anything that grill can do, this one can do just as good, if not better. Meats to cook include, chicken, steak, salmon, hamburger, and bacon – yes, bacon my friend!

5. Vegetables

Panini Grilled ArtichokesPhoto Credit: White on Rice Couple

Sliced or not, throw those veggies on the panini press, close the lid and within minutes you’ll have perfectly grilled veggies.

6. Burritos and Quesadillas

Panini Grilled QuesadillaPhoto Credit: Tracey’s Culinary Adventure

Using a panini grill to warm up and toast burritos and quesadillas is an easy way to deliver mouthwatering flavors.

7. Pizza

Panini Grilled PizzaPhoto Credit: The Kitchn

You could close the panini press and make a perfectly grilled pizza, but the sauce makes a mess. Instead, keep the panini press open and let the flavors melt on top as the dough cooks.

8. Kebabs

Padron Peppers Skewered with Chorizo and GrilledPhoto Credit: Martha Stewart

Kebabs are quick and easy on a panini press.

9. Cheese

Kasseri Grilled CheesePhoto Credit: Serious Eats

Yes, cheese between slices of bread is always great on a panini grill, but to get cheeses with a thick outer shell (like brie) melted on the inside a panini grill is the way to go.

10. Desserts

Panini Grilled Lemon Pound Cake with Peaches and CreamPhoto Credit: Kitchen Daily

Being able to heat up a slice of pound cake, and then top it with freshly grilled peaches is a dream, right? You have to try this recipe with a panini grill.

Get a Waring Panini Grill
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The Right Gas Connectors & Hoses for Your Restaurant

Dormont Gas Connections

If you’re in the market for new gas equipment, it’s important to know that new gas connectors, hoses, and/or kits should be purchased at the same time, and when it comes to gas connections, safety in your restaurant should be as much of a priority as finding the right new equipment.

Dormont Gas HosesDormont is one of the food service industries leading suppliers when it comes to gas connections, hoses, and kits. With increased safety features and an engineered design specifically for commercial kitchens, Dormont is the only way to go for making the health inspector happy and keeping your business safe. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love Dormont too:

  1. Every hose is made in the USA.
  2. SnapFast disconnects help you to quickly and easily disconnect the gas hose so the equipment can be easily pulled away from the wall for cleaning.
  3. The trademark blue coating around the hose adds an antimicrobial protective coating and helps reduce kinks and damage to the hose.
  4. SwivelMAX helps the hoses spin 360⁰, which adds durability to the hose line, while also allowing equipment to be closer to the wall.
  5. Stainless steel material is resistant to a wide range of corrosive substances and adds extra durability to the hose.
  6. Their FAQs are quite lengthy and worthy of helping anyone figure out how to DIY with Dormont.

When it comes to the right gas connections, hoses, and kits for your restaurant, residential gas hoses will never do.  Trust Dormont and know that you’re making the right decisions for your business when it comes to gas safety.

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What are the different types of China dinnerware material?

iTi China Dinnerware

As one of our largest suppliers of restaurant dinnerware, International Tableware is able to offer the advice needed to make a more informed decision when it comes to choosing the right dish material for your food service needs. Here’s a quick list for helping to find the right restaurant China dinnerware material when shopping for new plates, bowls, and cups.

Bone China

Bone China is the type of China you think of finding in fine dining restaurants. It has a very refined look, yet is durable enough to withstand constant use.

  • Durability: High
  • Look: Elegant
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Price: $$$$
  • Weight: Light
  • Oven to Table: No
  • Color(s): Bone White

Ceramic

Ceramic China can differ from piece to piece making it a very unique addition to any table. It’s one of the most commonly used materials in restaurant dinnerware as its price point is low, but durability is reasonable.

  • Durability: Medium
  • Look: Sensible
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Price: $
  • Weight: Light
  • Oven to Table: Yes
  • Color(s): Variety

China

China gives you the elegance of Bone China, but at a lower price point. You also get a variety of colors, patterns, and finishes that you don’t see with other dinnerware materials.

  • Durability: Medium
  • Look: Classic
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Price: $$$
  • Weight: Light
  • Oven to Table: Yes
  • Color(s): White/Patterns

Glass

Some glass can be used from oven to table, but others can’t. To verify, look for a stamp on the bottom of the plate to verify if it is oven safe.

  • Durability: Low
  • Look: Modern
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Price: $$
  • Weight: Light
  • Oven to Table: Yes/No
  • Color(s): Clear/Textured

Porcelain

Similar to glass, look for a stamp on the bottom of the porcelain piece to see if it can be placed in an oven. Porcelain has a classic style that goes well in fine dining establishments, and rarely comes in any color other than white.

  • Durability: Low
  • Look: Classic
  • Texture: Smooth
  • Price: $$$
  • Weight: Light
  • Oven to Table: Yes/No
  • Color(s): White

Stoneware

Stoneware is one of the most versatile pieces of dinner ware material as it can come in a variety of colors and different finishes, e.g. satin, matte, shiny,etc.

  • Durability: High
  • Look: Rustic
  • Texture: Porous
  • Price: $$
  • Weight: Heavy
  • Oven to Table: Yes
  • Color(s): Variety

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