What you can serve from your kitchen depends on the cooking & heating equipment you choose (and your volunteer’s culinary skills). Here are a few hints on what to cook in your kitchen…
The mere mention of a new kitchen can have your committee excitedly planning what to cook in it, and during the pre-planning stage it’s great to daydream. Yet when it comes to the real nitty gritty of kitchen construction, you may find that limitations on space, or budget, mean that you have reign in those plans to cook hot three-course meals for 50 people every week – or perhaps not.
What you can serve from your kitchen depends on what cooking equipment you opt for, but whatever you finally choose, you needn’t be limited on what you can dish up for your church visitors.
Heating only If your space (or safety regulations) restricts you from installing a full oven and hob set up, you may choose a food warming oven. It needn’t limit your choices – tray bakes made off site by your volunteers and warmed thoroughly on site are an easy way to feed a crowd. Pair with bowls of cold sides and salads, and you can serve a complete meal without cooking a scrap on site. Tip: Keep a few good quality food thermometers on site to ensure that everything that comes out of your heating apparatus is safe to serve.
Hob You may choose to have a hob without an oven, due to storage or floor-space limitations. It can be a surprisingly versatile set up, especially if paired with heating or microwave equipment. One pot recipes are ideal in this instance – and you can find some great suggestions here – and soups are brilliant as the cooler months draw in (especially if your church is one of those very beautiful, but very, very cold, listed buildings).
Domestic oven & hob If your kitchen won’t be feeding the five thousand and is going to be used more by your church groups and smaller events, a domestic oven could be right for you. While it does limit the amount of food you can cook on site, it is versatile. And on those occasions that you do have more mouths to feed, try solutions like baked potatoes with assorted fillings – you can fit a lot into one oven and serve with cold sides.
Catering oven With a large oven, you can let your imagination run wild. However, be aware that you will most likely be catering for a large amount of people. So unless Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver is a member of your congregation, it’s an idea to keep it relatively simple. A catering oven will, however, be an attractive addition to your kitchen if you are renting your space for weddings, christenings and even cookery classes.
It’s important to get the cooking equipment that’s for you, your volunteers and your church, but making the right choice isn’t always easy. At Steelplan Kitchens, our designers have years of experience creating bespoke kitchens that help churches to get the best of both worlds; installing commercial quality kitchens with a cosy, domestic feel. To find out how your church could benefit from a free consultation, call us on 0844 809 9186.