A professional kitchen needs special equipment. Private business owners know that often in a small kitchen of a cafe, restaurant or canteen it is necessary to place a lot of necessary devices, without which proper preparation of dishes and storage of food is impossible. However, there are some tweaks to help you optimize your workspace. These are special freezing and refrigerating tables that combine a storage space for food and a work surface. The range of such equipment has expanded significantly recently. On the one hand, this is good – you can choose a refrigerated or freezer table that will best suit your needs. On the other hand, you have to deal with numerous nuances in order to make the right choice.
# 1. How do freezers and refrigerators differ?
Each of us understands the purpose of refrigeration equipment. Typically, refrigerators are made in the form of a cabinet, but there is another variation for catering establishments kitchens – these are freezing tables, which additionally also function as a work surface. Convenient and economical.
The difference between freezing and refrigerating tables lies in the maintained temperature regime:
refrigerated table is designed for short-term storage of fresh or chilled food. It maintains a temperature within the range of -2 … + 100C. For a long time in such equipment, you can store drinks, confectionery, groceries and some other types of products, provided that the required temperature regime is observed;
The freezer table (also low-temperature) allows you to maintain lower temperatures, down to -120C and even -180C, is suitable for storing semi-finished products, frozen foods, ice cream, etc.
Externally, freezing and refrigerating tables are no different. As for the pricing policy, refrigerated tables are on average cheaper, but much depends on the size, equipment and type of surface. The name of the manufacturer is also important: if necessary buy a freezer table cheap, pay attention to the products of domestic companies, which in quality have already caught up with the products of foreign manufacturers.
# 2. The main types of refrigerated tables
This type of equipment can be classified according to various criteria. So, for example, depending on the place of installation, tables are divided into wall and island. The most common classification is by purpose. Freezing tables, as a rule, are produced universal – these are their technical features.
Refrigerated tables can be of the following types:
- saladettes, intended for storing salads, are distinguished by the presence of special refrigerated trays;
- for pizza. They can also have special containers for fillings and toppings, differ in the presence of a cooled surface.
No. 3. Execution material
The outer casing of refrigerating and freezing tables in most cases is made of metal; models with plastic sheathing are very rare. There are much more options for the execution of the countertop:
stainless steel is the most popular and versatile option. Steel tolerates mechanical stress, temperature extremes, high humidity, it is easy to maintain and hygienic. You can safely put hot dishes on such a countertop; it can be washed with rather aggressive cleaning and disinfecting agents;
stone surface. Usually pizza tables are made with a granite cooled surface. The dough on such a tabletop rolls out very easily and does not stick. Recall that such tables can be supplied with a display case for topping, such equipment can be seen in some pizzerias;
a polypropylene tabletop is a very convenient option that allows you to carry out all operations with products directly on the work surface, without using special boards. Polypropylene, which is used in this case, is very durable, hygienic, does not absorb odors, and is easy to clean.
Many manufacturers also offer refrigerated counters with glass doors. These are the so-called showcases that are used in cafes, pizzerias and shops.
No. 4. Dimensions and content
The size and layout of the fridge / freezer table depends on the needs of the particular kitchen. The standard height of the equipment is 80-85 cm, which allows the chef to comfortably prepare meals. The standard width is 60 and 70 cm, less often there are tables 80 cm wide. Tables 70 cm (700 mm) wide are called gastronorm tables. This is the most popular format for using standard containers.
Tables can vary in length more widely. Two, three and four door tables are available. Sometimes, instead of the usual doors, there may be drawers, but in this case the price of the device rises.
The inner space of the refrigerator / freezer is divided into several chambers and filled, as a rule, with shelves or trays. They hide behind blind or glass swing doors or drawers. It will be convenient for chefs to store portioned food and dough in the drawers, and behind the glazed doors – to place food for their display.
The number of sections and trays, their location can vary greatly from model to model – here everyone chooses for himself. Some tables provide the ability to change the distance between the shelves. There is also an automatic door closing function – such a solution will greatly simplify the life of cooks.
No. 5. Temperature regime and power consumption
When choosing a refrigerator and freezer table, pay attention to the following parameters:
range of supported temperatures. Naturally, you should initially decide what type of products the equipment will be used to store, then it will not be difficult to make the right choice;
there is a temperature controller in every refrigerator, only the accuracy of the setting, more precisely the step, can differ. It is better to take a model with a minimum step – it will allow you to create strictly defined temperature conditions for storing food;
climatic class. Like a normal household refrigerator, the freezer / refrigerator is designed to operate under certain conditions. The manufacturer specifies a range of acceptable ambient temperatures. If the equipment will stand in a hot shop, where a sufficiently high temperature is always maintained, it is better to take a table designed for operation in the so-called. “Tropical conditions”, at temperatures above + 400C;
energy class. Almost all modern technology is energy-efficient, but still, when choosing, you should pay attention to the features of thermal insulation. Of great importance are controllers that monitor the temperature inside and outside the chamber, react to the frequency of door opening and allow you to maintain an optimal temperature regime;
cooling system. As a rule, all professional refrigeration equipment uses a dynamic refrigeration system, i.e. the products are blown with cold air, due to which it is possible to quickly restore the temperature regime, even with frequent door openings. It is better not to take equipment with a static cooling system to the kitchen of a catering establishment.
In addition, pay attention to the thickness of the walls of the table: the more, the better the thermal insulation and less passive heat loss.
No. 6. What else needs to be considered?
When buying a refrigerator or freezer table, pay attention to the following nuances:
convenience and reliability. For more comfortable work, the table is equipped with a control panel and various indicators. They should be as clear and easy to use as possible. It is better that all metal corners are rounded – this reduces the risk of getting hurt in a hurry. For the convenience of work, in some models a high side is provided on one side of the tabletop;
automatic defrosting is not the first necessity, but in conditions of constant workload in the kitchen it will be a significant plus, as it will simplify the life of the cooks and make the storage and cooking process continuous;
refrigerant. Without going into technical features, we note that the refrigerant should be as efficient as possible and minimally harmful to the environment. Today, as a rule, R600, R290 are used, as well as R404a, R134a, all of them are absolutely safe for the ozone layer;
the compressor should be, on the one hand, powerful enough, and on the other, not too noisy. A kind of golden mean.
In order for the equipment to serve you as long as possible, you should adhere to simple operating rules. The main thing is not to overload the refrigerating container, otherwise it will be difficult for cold air to circulate, which can lead to breakdowns, and the lower the compressor power, the higher the probability of breakdown. You cannot put hot dishes in the refrigerating table – there is a separate type of equipment for rapid cooling, these are blast freezing devices. Another enemy of refrigeration equipment is high humidity, so all liquids and foods with high humidity must be stored in sealed containers.
No. 7. Large manufacturers of refrigerated and freezer tables
The name of the manufacturer is a guarantee of reliability. It is clear that a large company aimed at creating a positive image and long-term work in the market will not release a low-quality product. On the contrary, large companies are constantly updating their model lines, introducing innovations, providing guarantees and offering service.
The largest and most reliable manufacturers of refrigerated and freezer tables include:
Electrolux is an Italian company that offers several lines of refrigerated tables in different price segments. The manufacturer’s equipment is appreciated all over the world, its quality is always at a high level, therefore the prices are appropriate;
Hackman is a Finnish company that pays attention to every detail. The products are distinguished by high quality workmanship of all details, environmental friendliness, the presence of convenient digital control panels and high prices;
Fagor is a Spanish company distinguished by the widest range of products and constant line updates. The manufacturer offers tables of different widths and equipment, with different types of surfaces and in different price categories;
Polair is a large Russian company that specializes in the production of professional refrigeration equipment. Its products are the optimal balance of price / quality;
EQTA is another domestic manufacturer that offers a wide range of refrigerated and freezer tables of different sizes. The company uses advanced technologies in production, the quality of the products is almost not inferior to foreign counterparts, but is cheaper;
- among domestic companies, it is also worth highlighting Hicold, KAYMAN, Cryspi.
Probably, the fact that the success of any catering establishment depends on the selection of refrigeration equipment does not need an explanation. You should start buying when it is decided what size the table should be, what products will be stored there, and for the preparation of which dishes the work surface will be used.