Controlled grills and ovens help meet demand for ready meals

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"We are going to see a tremendous amount of growth in the ready-to-serve marketplace," says Walter Sommers, president of Ruprecht, a Chicago-based ready meal manufacturer. "And the cooking equipment we've recently purchased will allow us to participate in that growth."

The meat processor has invested in Unitherm's automated flame grills and spiral ovens to control the production of its heat-and-serve products and ensure consistent quality.

The equipment's built-in controls and ability to program parameters are maintained within very tight tolerances throughout the cooking process.

The preparer sets the temperature and time for which a food item will reside in the equipment and the humidity and fan speed. These parameters are stored in the controls to ensure that one product is exactly the same as the next.

Touch-screen controls enable the processor to alter equipment settings, creating new recipes that are stored for future use.

The Unitherm flame griller features multiple ribbon burners, some of which can be turned off or on to achieve the desired production scale. This enables chefs to achieve the look of flamed highlights and develop uniform colour on the surface of foods, such as chicken and steaks.

The spiral oven enables a built-in basting effect to be incorporated: as foods such as chicken spiral upward, the juice from each piece of meat falls on the next one, enhancing colour and texture.

Spiral ovens enable steaming, roasting, broiling and baking, and can be coupled with a chiller and loading system.

"We produce millions of pounds of fully cooked food annually,"​ says Sommers. "With the new continuous production equipment we've recently installed, we are nowhere near exceeding their capacities."

Unitherm Food Systems: 01233 502946

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