The industrial or professional hot plate, known as the fry-top, is an essential element in the majority of industrial kitchens in restaurants. This equipment is manufactured in stainless steel and the work surfaces are based on cast iron or chrome-plated steel sheets, which have to cope with countless types of food and cooking methods, and therefore they frequently get dirty.
Procedure for correctly cleaning the work surface of industrial hot plates:
To prevent their hot plate from ageing and to keep them looking thoroughly clean, cooks clean their hot plates every day after each service.
For this process, it is essential to follow a series of steps. There are two possible options:
1. The more environmentally-friendly and natural option: While the plate is hot, pour a generous amount of ice over it and use a special scraper designed for use in industrial kitchens (made of Teflon in the case of hard chrome hot plates) to remove the dirt, collecting it in the grease collection drawer. Check that this does not overflow. The ice causes a thermal shock on the surface of the hot plate that helps to detach a large part of the dirt. Make sure that the hot plate is thick enough to withstand the thermal shock and that it will not crack. Fagor Industrial hot plates are thicker than the average hot plate in order to prevent the risk of cracking and breaking. In some cases, pumice stone is used to remove the dirt, although this method may damage the surface of the hot plate.
2. Option using chemical means: When the hot plate is cold, use a special scraper designed for industrial kitchens (made of Teflon in the case of hard chrome hot plates) to remove the cooking remains. Next apply a small quantity of a chemical cleaner and leave it to act for a few minutes. With the exit hole to the grease collection drawer closed with a plug, pour water at a temperature of 55-60 ºC over the plate, and leave for a few minutes. Then remove the plug and drain off all the surface water. Lastly, use a sponge to clean the hot plate and rinse thoroughly with clean water.
Once the hot plate is clean, dry all the surface thoroughly with kitchen paper. To ensure the hot plate is thoroughly dry, it can be turned on for a few minutes.
After drying, optionally, and only for cast iron hot plates, the surface can be wiped over with vinegar or lemon (natural degreasers). Avoid pouring any acid (vinegar, lemon, etc.) over chrome-plated hot plates when cleaning.
Lastly, wipe the industrial hot plate again with a serviette soaked in olive oil. This serves to prevent rust. The last step is particularly important for cast iron hot plates, whereas for chrome-plated ones, this step is recommended but not really necessary.
If you follow these steps every day, you can be sure that your hot plate will remain in optimum conditions throughout your career in the catering sector!