Experimenting with CVap ovens helped Chef Patrick Roney master its basics. But networking with other chefs who used it was mind-expanding and unexpected. Read on as he talks about learning new ways to use it, as well as how CVaps save labor, and become almost like staff members.
How did you meet so many chefs who also used CVap?
I know it sounds corny, but it was a wonderful day that I met (Winston Corporate Chef) Barry Yates at a Star Chefs conference in New York. I told him what I was doing with CVap, and he started giving me his own research information. That exchange of information between us is still happening.
During that Star Chefs event and one other I attended, I got to see what other chefs were doing, and I dug in further. At the second Star Chefs, I got to work the Winston booth and get feedback and find out how restaurants were thriving by using it.
What types of restaurants were using it?
It ran the gamut: fine dining, barbecue, fast food … and it didn’t matter what type, really, because CVap was the workhorse allowing them to save labor, time, money, effort, staffing, greatly increase quality and create new things. I learned a lot from being around other users.
You’ve mentioned that it saves time cooking by letting you do other things. Does that ultimately benefit your labor cost?
It saves people in the kitchen, which helps save labor. When I first used it at The Oakroom, I had a small team there—just four of us in that kitchen—so we called the CVap the Fifth Man. Every night we were open, that thing was running.
It also lowers the stress of a kitchen to have CVap in there. There are a lot of things happening during the early part of service—a lot of stuff that one cook is expected to pay attention to. Having that CVap prepped and full of whatever that cook needs, all of it staged and ready to finish or go right to the plate removes stress from that cook’s scope of responsibility. What then happens is it opens up a lot more opportunities to be better at some other aspect of the dishes coming off that station. The cook can do other things because CVap is taking care of the rest.
Now that you’re at Ashbourne Farms, where all events are large-scale dinners, how does CVap help?
When you’ve got to have 300 pieces of something cooked exactly the same for a high-end function, you can’t beat them. But to be able to cook and hold those perfectly for two hours before service, that’s what’s really amazing. Knowing you can do that frees you up during crunch time when so many plates are spinning. You have that ace in the hole.
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