The fact that stainless steel has to be used in commercial kitchens is due to its excellent physical, chemical and antiseptic properties for use in professional or commercial kitchens.
There are many types of materials that could be used in food environments but almost all have some particularity that makes them unsuitable for use in the kitchen.
In addition, stainless steel is an indispensable material for use in industrial kitchens, because the main factor in food sanitation guidelines is hygiene in production and preparation areas in the kitchen.
The main reason of using stainless steel in a commercial kitchen is a matter of hygiene at work. A fundamental premise when handling food is that areas, supports and any equipment that may come into contact with food cannot be porous, nor transmit flavours or be in any way toxic to the food being worked on.
If you have a commercial kitchen, no matter how small it is, the fact that the equipment used is stainless steel creates a professional character that would be highly valued in any inspection.
Stainless steel is ideal for the production and hot cooking areas under hoods, as it is an ideal material that is inert to various aggressive substances and microbiological organisms, is easy to clean and highly resistant. Type 304 18 gauge is recommended
Wood is a very malleable material and can be made into many different shapes, but although it can be treated in many different ways to optimise its use in food, it is practically forbidden for many different reasons:
It is a porous material, its characteristics can be altered by the ambient temperature.
It can burn (and in environments where it is “played” with fire it would be somewhat dangerous, and many others.
Wood, being a generally organic material, is susceptible to developing and promoting the growth of microorganisms that are not at all positive in a food handling environment.
Until a few years ago it was a common material as an element to give robustness to steel tables, when placed under the sheet, as meat picks, cutting boards of various shapes, etc. but no longer.
Its use is virtually prohibited and has been changed many times with the High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). But polyethylene is affected by high temperatures (it is still a plastic)
The most standard solution is the manufacture of stainless steel furniture due to its perfect adaptation to the hotel and food industry. Stainless steel has several properties for use in the kitchen:
• It can be manufactured in many different ways
• Its resistance to high temperatures and sudden changes in temperature is exceptional
• It is a non-porous product
• Does not transmit flavors (as with some other metals)
• It is a material that is very easy to clean (which we will discuss in another article)
• Not especially expensive compared to other materials
From the aesthetic point of view, it will have its detractors, but the homogeneity of a whole set of furniture, kitchens, household items, tools and other stainless steel in order and clean is perfect in any picture, do not you think? When it is clean it transmits a sensation of cleanliness that few materials offer
Why is it so necessary to use the stainless steel in a commercial kitchen?
Stainless steel has a non-porous surface, which means that no liquid or substance can penetrate its surface. So it is a safe choice when it comes to use with food and beverages because there are no chemicals that can migrate into your food from these products.
Stainless steel is one of the most common materials found in kitchens today because it is durable, easy to disinfect and resistant to corrosion from various acids found in meat, milk, fruits and vegetables.
In all kitchens, cleanliness and hygiene are indispensable. The stainless steel cooker resists the attacks of meat juices and aggressive chemicals used to clean and sterilize them.
Simply apply a disinfectant every day to your stainless steel surface and you can work with confidence that you have a hygienic surface.
Bacteria, mold and other common household germs don’t stand a chance with stainless steel because they can’t penetrate the non-porous surface.
What material is not suitable for a work surface in a commercial kitchen?
A commercial kitchen is very different from a residential kitchen, basically because the work in a commercial kitchen is much heavier and more frequent, so it requires support surfaces whose main attribute is both physical and chemical resistance while maintaining antiseptic properties or easy to clean.
in this sense the two materials less suitable for use in commercial kitchen surfaces are wood and marble or granite.
If you want to know more about the different kitchen countertops, you can read this more detailed topic I wrote.
These materials are of great beauty and are quite common in residential kitchens, but for example wood, is a material that requires continuous maintenance is highly porous and does not resist high temperatures.
Marble and granite are also materials of high porosity, in addition to its dark color does not favor hygiene, marble is susceptible to staining with various substances.