Equipment problems...

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by andrew563, May 20, 2006.

  1. andrew563

    andrew563

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    The past two nights I have had more major equipment problems than I ever have had. Thursday night about eight p.m. dining room is full, full rail of tickets, no problem , we are kicking it out just fine. I go into the walk in to grab more steaks. ITS WARM IN THERE!!! I look at the temp. its sixty five. My stress level goes from 0 to 70 in an instant. I yell to my sous,"Get over here, we have a major problem. " I jump back to the line, he starts icing down all the proteins. i am on my cell calling the repair guy, while still putting out orders and firing new ones. Turns out the freon had leaked out. Okay, problem solved.

    Tonight, we get the first hard rain storm of the year. I am outside watching the streets flooding, thinking, "Well, this kills my dinner business tonight," I go back into the kitchen, my pantry cook yells to me, "Chef, there is water coming out of the hood!" sure enough, water is leaking out of the hoods, right over the deep fryer! I grab a sheet pan, put it over the fryer and turn it off. I am thinking, I have never seen this happen before. What do i do. The owner walks in right then, he sees what is going on and says, "What the **** do we do about this? " After awhile, it stopped raining in my kitchen. I obviously 86'ed all deep fry items. Right now I am thinking about tomorrow night. There is a parade that goes right in front of our rest. We are going to be packed and busy all day. What is going to go wrong tomorrow night?
     
  2. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

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    When it rains again, put some degreaser in the fryer and let the rain wash it for you. :)
     
  3. chrose

    chrose

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    Get someone on the roof asap to solve the leaking. Leaking freon is just one of those things that can happen to a compressor, but water coming through the hood is downright dangerous, and a fire code violition. The health dept. and fire dept. can shut you down quick. So get the hood guys there and have them fix it.
    We had that situation when I was at the Mayflower hotel in DC. One spring afternoon we got a typical DC mini hurricane. Our side of the kitchen was fine, but when we looked down the line to the room service/banquet kitchen water was pouring in through the hood into a bank of deep fryers. All as they were prepping for the afternoon tea service. Fire dept. was there tromping thorough the place, oy what a mess. Thank god it wasn't on my line!:eek:
     
  4. andrew563

    andrew563

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    Thank god nothing happened tonight, in fact the annual parade downtown killed our business. Monday we have people checking the rooftop. We are located on the ground floor of a downtown building. We couldn't even get up there to check on it ourselves, it seems noone had a key. My closing cook last night did tell me that he had alot more work on the floors though.
     
  5. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    Old stuff breaks. Buildings leak. Drains back up. Coolers freeze or get hot. Employees destroy thing by accident..... It really only sucks if you have to pay for yourself.
    I just got a new thermostat for my 1974 Lange convection oven-a steal at $270.00 plus labor....
     
  6. peachcreek

    peachcreek

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    So this morning I go into the restaurant and immediately smell greasetrap. The janitors had knocked the drain from my triple sink into the greasetrap and cracked it ever so slightly.....Wake up and smell the what? And to think that this morning before work I though my biggest stress today would be doing my monthly taxes. Isn't it wonderful the way life can take your mind off of your problems by giving you crisises to deal with?:crazy:
     
  7. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Never forgot the first time I cra**ed my drawers, locking up, getting ready to go home, turning off the lights walking into the walk-in and having a balmy breeze blow on my face. T'was the night before christmas, and the walk-in was loaded with pastries, cakes, turkey and ham platters and the temp was +9 and rising. Of course I couldn't get a mechanic, and my head was filling with horrors of 100% food cost, food poisoning, etc. etc. I called the Chef at the Hyatt, about 2 kms down the road and asked him if I could borrow some fridge space. The EC there, being German, alwys gave me hard time with my Swiss-german accent, but he heard the panic in my voice and talked me down. Best advice I ever got: Give the walk-in an Enema. Yup, hook up the garden hose and spray down the evaportor coil that was choked with ice. Once I washed down the Ice, the temp started to go down, and within two hours it was back to normal. All that walking in and out, loading and stacking, and it being in Singapore with an ambient temp of +30 and humidty of 94%. That warm, moist air just stuck onto the coil and wouldn't go away.


    Things are even worse if you are the owner. I've had mornings where I've come in and smelled greasetrap too, seems the thing had rusted out. Guess who sourced, purchased, hauled, dismantled the the 3 well sink, installed, drained and hauled out the old trap? And on a Saturday morning too...

    On another Sunday morning a few years later, as I"m coming into work I see a 4 foot hole smashed into the west wall window and the security guard (had the biz in a large industrial complex) with his foot on the bumper of his car was yakking into his cellphone.. I'll never forget the next two sentences, I asked him:
    "Have you reported it to the cops yet?"
    "No... why? Reported what?"
    He was busy on the phone calling in a burst water main that was slowly sinking in the front gardens. Of course my walk-in was running on a water cooled compressor then too. Couldn't do anything for almost two days except rent a generator for the walk-in...

    Now at my new place, I've had newly installed 11/2"copper lines for the heating system burst on me. If I do say so myself, I moved pretty fast with a ladder, hose clamps and rubber sealing gasket that fateful Friday afternoon when the d/w said: "Chef, it's raining in the storeroom"... Except I had to tighten the hose clamps every few hours or so until I could get a plumber to solder a new elbow on....

    I get to clean up after the crack hookers and their johns in my parking lot, the mess the racoons make when they manage to heave up the locked lid on a two yard dumpster open enough to crawl in. (Clever little beasts, racoons) removing grafffitii on the building's walls ( got three different brushes loaded with diffrent colours of paint, all cling filmed up nicely and stored in the freezer just for that...) Pouring a new footing and building a new door frame and wall for the storage room so no creepy crawlies can get in, and ......
     
  8. greasechef

    greasechef

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    If your fridge and/or freezer crap out, ask Sysco to loan you a trailer for a few days. I've seen them do it a couple of times. The trailer has a generator and it's own fuel. Front of the trailer is frozen, then refridgerated.

    If you have a once a year need for a big refridgerated space, I have seen them loan a trailer on one occassion for that too.

    Doesn't hurt to ask, your rep might just ask you to buy a couple of cases of over priced haddock for the effort. I suggest, buy the haddock!
     
  9. foodpump

    foodpump

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    Hold on there Greasechef! Yes, guys like Sysco and GFS will lend out reefer trailers, but for PLANNED events: Months, several months of advance warning. Assuming, of course, that you have good pull ( read that a major account) with the rep. For emergencies, especially for smaller guys with walk-ins 1/4 or even 1/8 the size of the reefer trailer, fahgettaboutit.

    Not being harsh with Sysco here. Those reefer trailers cost alot of money, and even Sysco doesn't have one or two just sitting idle in their yard. The boys in the warehouse take anywhere from 2 - 5 hours to load each trailer for daily drops, so if a trailer gets pulled out of service with no warning (and the tractor unit as well, since it doesn't have a trailer...) the company loses mega bucks in loading time, goods not being delivered, lost business, deterioting products, and as well, the use of the trailers to haul goods from freight stations to the warehouse. In other words a mega logistical headache with some very P.O'd customers who didn't get their delivieries as scheduled.

    The best thing for stuff like refrigeration malfunctions is:

    1) Know your refrigeration, it's components, and how it works.
    Refrigeration ain't magic, and refrigeration doesn't make things cold. Refrigeration removes heat. This is why the back of your fridge at home and the compressor at work dump out heat.

    2) Basic maintenence.
    The best thing to do is to brush/vacuum the radiators of the units periodicaly. Most refrigeration runs on 4 or 6 hr cycles, with a 15 min. cycle for defrosting of the coils. Know these cycles. I do my housekeeping in the w/in freezer at 8 in the morning when I know I've got a 15 minute window without the fan blowing freezing air at me.

    O.K., I'll get off my soapbox now.
     
  10. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    If push comes to broken fridge....there are refer rentals in our area. There's always dry ice....
    STL had electric outage for 3 1/2-4 days last fall and one of my restaurant friends threw out thousands upon thousands of dollars in meat. Did not feel safe enough to serve it.
     
  11. david jones

    david jones

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    Torch the place for the insurance...