In the world of commercial kitchen equipment, induction hobs are not new at all. Until very recently, though, this technology wasn’t used by very many commercial kitchens. The reason for all of this is that the catering industry trusted more traditional methods like electric and gas. While it’s easier to simply stick with the model you already have and play it safe, there are a number of reasons why you’re better off taking that leap of faith and upgrading to an induction hob model. In this post, we’re going to take a look at what induction hobs actually are as well as some of the features, benefits, and prices involved.
Just what are induction hobs?
Induction basically works on the principle that you can and should have your heat on demand. In the past, it was very common for chefs to have to turn all of their cooking equipment at the beginning of the day. The result of having all of this equipment turned on at once was that the kitchen would grow quite hot. The heat would be so oppressive, in fact, that chefs would have to turn on other devices that would remove some of the heat. All of this would tend to add up to a high energy bill and a great deal of energy that was completely wasted. With induction hobs, though, none of this is necessary. Chefs can turn the hobs on and off whenever they want and basically won’t have to use a lot of the inefficient systems that they used to use.
There is a great deal more control on an induction hob than there is on an electric or gas system. Liquids in pans can be brought to a certain temperature and then kept there. This is something that just wasn’t possible before. With that increase in control comes an increased chance of making mistakes, however. Some chefs have noted that the controls on induction hobs are a bit on the touchy side. There is a learning curve involved, but once that learning curve is understood, chefs tend to rave about induction hobs. There is also a greater chance of brushing up against the controls and either changing the settings or turning off the hob altogether. Once these quirks are gotten used to, though, the induction hobs are often preferred over older electric or gas models.
Induction hobs cook things much quicker than electric and gas models too. The things that are cooked also cool quicker, so this means that you have a lot more control over the cooking process now. For instance, it’s entirely possible to bring a liquid to boil in literally seconds where older models would require a minute or two to do the same thing. For cooking something as fickle as sugar which needs to be at just the right temperature, most induction hobs actually have a feature that beeps once the sugar has reached the ideal temperature. You can think of induction hobs as smart grills in the same way that smartphones have developed over the years.
Along with the benefit of saving on energy costs by not having to have the machine running all the time, there’s also the benefit of a totally even cooking surface. Gas and electric can cook things in an uneven fashion, but that doesn’t tend to be the case with induction hobs. These are machines that have been precision-designed to cook things properly. There are issues with using pans that are smaller than the cooking area, but once this other learning curve is overcome, it will be fairly easy for any catering staff to run their operation the way they want to.
How does it work and what are the features?
Induction hobs work by using an induction coil in a way that it functions just like an electromagnet. When this magnetic field comes into anything that’s magnetic, it will then heat up that material and thus cook whatever is inside of it. In this way, the machine literally induces heat into the pan, which is how the cooking happens. Since the heat is going on on the inside of the pan instead of underneath it as is usually the case, the generation of heat is completely stopped once that pan is removed from the heating element. The way that heat control works is that the electromagnetic field itself is adjusted. This allows for incredibly precise heat control once the method has been learned by the chef and their catering staff.
The good news for catering staff, is that they won’t have to get used to all new brands should they decide to take the leap into induction hobs. Many of the trusted brands that have previously dealt in electric or gas are now taking their chances on this burgeoning technology. It’s entirely possible that a chef could keep the same brand and even purchase an induction hob that is very similar to their existing model.
As we’ve seen, induction hobs really are the energy efficient option. It’s also much quicker to cook something on an induction hob, and the level of control that you have is far greater. These grills are also far easier to clean. This will lead to a more hygienic environment for your catering staff. The power outputs that are used for induction hobs are much more precise. This is what ensures that you’re not wasting any energy or heating up your kitchen needlessly. Since there’s only one filter that you need to worry about cleaning on an induction hob, the process of keeping your hob clean and hygienic will be far easier. Another overlooked aspect of induction hobs is that since there are no open flames involved, it’s literally impossible to have a kitchen fire. There’s also not much ventilation that needs doing if there’s any at all. Also, you don’t need a gas lock system. These can be quite pricey for the older systems out there, so this is a big plus.
The cost of your particular induction hob will vary quite greatly, depending on what type of features you’d like to have and that sort of thing. They tend to range from £50 to £1,500 for units that are for a single zone on a tabletop single zone tabletop unit and £3,000 to £20,000 for an oven range that is four zones. You’ll want to look into what kind of components you want to have, how robust of a machine that you need, and the type of heating elements used. Whatever you choose, you’ll be getting a machine that’s far more advanced than older models.
There are a variety of reasons why you should consider upgrading from your old electric or gas unit to an induction hob model. These aren’t just a passing fad in the commercial catering industry. These are highly advanced machines that offer a great deal of convenience to chefs and catering staff. There are a variety of factors to keep in mind when thinking about taking the plunge into induction hobs but there truly is no better time than now to invest in a technology that is only going to further advance as we look ahead into the future.