Turning out beautiful, fresh and delicious food for hundreds and sometimes thousands of people everyday is no joke, but it is part of the daily routine for Christchurch based caterers, White Tie Catering.
Delivering the best quality food on time and within specified guidelines is essential for this growing company, and since late last year, the assistance of an Irinox blast chiller at kitchen HQ has proved a godsend.
We spoke to White Tie’s food services manager and executive chef, Lil Huckle, about the business and the impact installing the Irinox has had.
Lil has more than 20 years’ experience in food including mentoring at the New Zealand School of Food & Wine. She is in charge of developing new recipes, working on menu ideas and managing White Tie’s team of 10 permanent chefs and the many more part-time and casual chefs that work in their kitchens.
(Not to mention the mounds of paperwork that go into running 15 events, four kitchens and feeding more than 15,000 people per week.)
Lil has been with White Tie for three and a half years and has had a blast chiller on her wishlist since using one in kitchens overseas.
“We successfully tendered for the Forté Health catering contract last year, and as part of the Ministry of Health accreditation process, our consultant recommended we purchase an Irinox,” Lil says.
“Being able to rapidly bring food down to a safe temperature for storage was essential for us to meet the Ministry criteria.”
But the benefits for White Tie of having a blast chiller that can also cook at very low temperatures didn’t stop there.
“We use it for a whole range of low temperature cooking, from the best ever sous vide to tempering chocolate, proving bread, braising meats and even caramelising condensed milk!”
“Braising meat like beef cheeks or beef bourguignon is very simple, we just place a temperature probe in it and then leave it to cook. Because it cooks very gently we get up to 15% higher yield due to less moisture loss, and the food holds its shape much better.”
Lil says that the benefits of using the Irinox also include savings on power bills because less heat extraction is required in the kitchens, and being able to whip up ‘last minute’ orders for things like potatoes dauphinois that would previously need to be pressed and chilled overnight.
“We also freeze down meat trimmings until we have enough to use for a dish, getting a result that is almost as good as fresh meat. We blast freeze all of our baked goods too and get a much better result than with a traditional freezer.”
The White Tie kitchen team have taken quickly to using the Irinox, finding it very easy to clean and work with, and coming up with new ideas for menu items that make use of its unique features.
“Most importantly, we get a super consistent, high quality result; we no longer need to hire in ovens because we can use the Irinox overnight; we are cutting our power bill (which is one of our major overheads), reducing wastage and gaining a higher yield on a number of products.”