Brad Carter is head chef and proprietor of Michelin star restaurant, Carters of Moseley, Birmingham. 35 year old Brad realised his dream when opening the restaurant with his partner Holly Jackson (32) in November 2010. Critical acclaim from diners and industry professionals soon followed, with the award of a coveted Michelin star in September 2015 and winning the Good Food Guide Readers’ Restaurant of the Year 2015 competition. Edwin Adkins, Development Chef at Danish combi oven manufacturer, HOUNÖ A/S, quizzed Brad about his use of HOUNÖ combi ovens.
How did you first discover HOUNÖ?
I was introduced to the HOUNÖ brand by my kitchen designer, when we were setting up Carters in 2010. At his suggestion, I did a trial cook on a HOUNÖ combi oven and was impressed with the flexibility and control that it provided. We specified 6 grid and 10 grid models with the standard digital controller and selection dial interface. I have been hooked on HOUNÖ ovens ever since.
How many and which model HOUNÖ ovens do you have in your kitchen?
We have since replaced the ovens with 6 grid and a 10 grid touch screen models, which are user-friendly and easy to programme. The ovens are the workhorses of our kitchen and really help with productivity – it is like having another chef on the team.
How do you use your HOUNÖ ovens?
With the HOUNÖ ovens, the only thing holding you back is your imagination. It is such a versatile piece of kit – we use it for proving, roasting, steaming, baking, sous vide cooking and even holding. The temperature range of the HOUNÖ ovens is very useful. Unlike other ovens on the market, the HOUNÖ allows a holding temperature of as low as 30°C, meaning that we can maintain optimum moisture and quality of pre-cooked food, prior to finishing and service. The steam injection feature is also a massive asset, which helps us deliver the perfect balance of moisture and texture for all food, from chicken to our speciality breads.
We also use the HOUNÖ ovens for water bath cooking. We fill a tray with water and heat to 58°C, before placing vacuum packed portions in the tray. It is an ideal way of cooking lamb, venison and salmon, prior to finishing. The flexibility of the HOUNÖ ovens has meant that we haven’t had to invest in other, potentially expensive appliances. It also means that we are making the best available use of floor space in our kitchen.
What other benefits do the ovens offer?
In addition to their culinary benefits, the ovens offer a number of operational features, which are invaluable. The CombiWash fully automatic cleaning system, together with the HOUNÖ PROTECT package, significantly reduces manual housekeeping regimes, which are required to maintain the oven spotlessly clean and hygienic. Cleaning is one of the most time consuming activities in the kitchen and the automation of the process cuts down on the number of man hours required, saving labour costs. We run the cleaning program after every service and once a week we make use of the deep cleaning function, which keeps the oven in mint condition. The fact that we are using the oven for so many different cooking processes also means that we are using less pots and pans, reducing the amount of washing up for further manpower and cost savings. The HOUNÖ ovens are inherently energy efficient, which helps us keep a lid on electricity costs.
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