Several tips and tricks can help extend fry life.
Chef Vincent Barcelona, director of culinary sales at Stratas Foods, admits that his company occupies an interesting space. A seller of foodservice oils, Stratas Foods would certainly sell more oil to its customers if deep-fryer oil was changed more often. Instead, Stratas Foods dedicates time and resources to educating those same customers on how to prolong oil life.
“Really, we’re really in the business of taking care of our customers,” Barcelona says. “What’s good for them is good for us. If you’re not protecting your customer, that will come back and bite you in the end.”
Chef Barcelona—a James Beard-recognized chef who opened and ran multiple concepts in the New York metro area—says properly managing oil has numerous benefits. Those benefits include saving money, as well as the fact that food coming out of the deep fryer tastes better and when using high oleic frying oils. Here are a couple of tips that Barcelona and his team often discuss with operators.
Know Your Colors
The color of deep-fryer oil says a lot about when oil should be changed. Stratas Foods offers a Fry Test Kit, with bilingual instructions, that helps staff monitor fry life. The kit includes tools to skim particulates, and outlines best practices when it comes to filtering oil.
Fryer oil will darken for a number of reasons. The primary culprit of oil darkening is, of course, frying food. But other causes can include normal oxygen exposure, carbon build up from leftover food particles, the salt in batters and coatings, excess water, prolonged high temperatures, and even exposure to light.
In order to keep light exposure to a minimum, deep fryers should be covered during downtime.
Barcelona also recommends properly cleaning fryers before they are refilled. Many things can go wrong during this process if staff isn’t properly trained.
“If somebody had explained this part to me when I was running restaurants, I would have been grateful,” Chef Barcelona says. “When you’re cleaning a deep fryer, following the right steps is really important. Everything from thoroughly rinsing out all the soap residue, to ensuring the fry baskets are cleaned—those are little things that go a long way.”’
These tips and tricks—in addition to many other insights—are resources offered free of charge to customers of Stratas Foods. It’s another area where Stratas Foods is looking out for its customers rather than just trying to move more oil.
“Change may not happen overnight,” Chef Barcelona says. “But it happens quicker than you think. We usually start with fry tests in the busiest stores and evaluate the performance of oil management at a location. Once they see the results of what we’re able to do in extending oil life, they usually roll it out to additional locations. Because this is about the bottom line—profits and money. And that’s a huge incentive for everyone involved.”
For more information on buying less oil, visit stratasfoods.com.