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Stir it up magazine October 2015

ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS The Importance of Oven Cleaning for Professionals THE ‘NEED TO KNOWS’ By Rik Hellewell, owner and managing director of Ovenu (www.ovenu.co.uk) professional oven cleaning specialists HARMFUL GERMS Leaving an oven unclean and unattended for long periods can lead to a build-up of food and residue stuck to the interior, which can rot and decompose inside the oven. A combination of a warm environment and build-up of unwanted food deposits provides a perfect breeding ground for unwelcome and potentially harmful germs to fester. IMPACT ON TASTE As well as being a potential health hazard, an unclean oven can also have a negative effect on the quality and taste of the food prepared. A build-up of grime, crumbs and burnt fat can result in a smoky and foul oven that becomes more challenging to clean. Food can also become contaminated with oily residue stuck to the inside of the oven if it is not cleaned regularly. FIRE HAZARD A lack of regular oven cleaning can also lead to an unwanted accumulation of oil and grease on both the outside oven surface and the interior. These are two of the flammable substances found in a kitchen environment, and if not addressed, their presence increases the likelihood of a fire. Leftover food and grease will also continue to burn when your oven is on, causing unwanted smoke to fill your kitchen. A build-up of unwanted smoke could have a negative impact on the work environment, you and your staff, and an increased risk of fire could lead to your business being unable to trade if this becomes out of hand. SELECTING THE RIGHT PRODUCTS In catering industry environments, it is often the case that an oven is in constant use. An often-overlooked area is selecting the right products to ensure the oven is cleaned properly and regularly. Particular attention should be paid to products containing caustic soda (also known as sodium hydroxide). This chemical becomes highly corrosive and hazardous when heated, can cause damage to the oven interior and severe burning if it comes into contact with the skin or eyes. >> Catering professionals depend on their appliances to ensure the smooth daily running of their kitchens, particularly their ovens. To a professional chef, a properly functioning oven is as fundamental as a high-quality paintbrush is to an artist. Oven cleaning is a chore that most of us love to hate, but with ovens in constant action in busy catering environments, it is imperative that regular oven cleaning is undertaken. Although it could be looked upon as an inconvenience, regular oven cleaning within the catering industry is fundamental for a host of reasons, and not all of them are obvious. THE PITFALLS OF AN UNCLEAN OVEN Catering professionals are likely to use double range ovens on a daily basis. Whether you use a gas or electric or dual fuel appliance, single or double oven, leaving these unclean for sustained periods of time can lead to a host of problems. Regular oven cleaning is therefore of paramount importance to safeguard those enjoying your dishes and ensure the smooth-running of your kitchen. When cleaning your oven, ensure you keep the area well ventilated to avoid breathing in the chemicals. Steering clear of toxic cleaners and using natural products instead ensures a sparkling oven without any potential health risks. THE HARD-TO-REACH AREAS When cleaning your oven, it is important to ensure you get to those tough and hard-to-reach areas, paying close attention to the top corners. The top of the oven is often missed, leaving grease and grime to build-up in these areas as much as the bottom of the oven. This section is particularly important due to the oven being in constant use throughout the day and evening in busy kitchens. Tackle the top of the oven by soaking an old toothbrush or dish brush in oven cleaner or a baking soda mix before scrubbing in a circular motion. Wire grills are probably the trickiest part of the oven to clean. Removing oven shelves and leaving them to soak overnight before the next day’s service will help to avoid a build-up of dried food and residue. “Regular oven cleaning is of paramount importance to safeguard those enjoying your dishes...” OCTOBER 2015 21


Stir it up magazine October 2015
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