I recently attended a demonstration of Rational ovens in Dumfries and Galloway. Very interesting stuff. The software in the ovens is able to calculate the quantity of whatever you put in and adjust cooking times accordingly so you have a very consistent result. All you have to do is tell it what you have put in and it does the rest. You are able to programme it to get the right amount of outside browning and internal cooking. I have to say I was sceptical before the demo as I was sure that you can’t cook a steak or fillet of fish as well in an oven as you can on the hob. But I was actually very impressed. The steaks had a really good colour on them and it was very accurate in the cooking of medium / medium rare. Another major major advantage is the energy saving costs. The ovens get to temperature rapidly and use a fraction of the energy during a service. The question in mind though is about the ‘deskilling’ of the chef element. I think they should not replace the more traditional cooking methods and chefs should certainly know how to do without them. But if used in combination I think they can be a real asset to a pro kitchen. I’m certainly thinking of getting one.

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