Upon seeing the name Alfred Dunhill on any item, one can be sure that it is the best of its kind.Such attention to detail has to be paid for. High standards command a high price. But as Mr. Alfred used to say: The best is cheapest in the end! Why else have his products been so sought after since 1893? (Alfred Dunhill website)

At 27, Knightsbridge, you’ll find Alfred Dunhill – purveyors of all things exquisite. Should you work there, you will also find Kate Van der Watt, Chef Manager at its workplace catering facility “Café 27” – a hidden gem in the basement of Alfred Dunhill. Kate’s background is firmly ensconced in UK blue chip company restaurants. The outlet caters for staff and clients of Alfred Dunhill which amounts to some 150 covers each day. With a catering staff of just three, Café 27 provides a daily breakfast and lunch menu which is on a two week cycle with different hot dishes every lunchtime – from pizzas to stir fries in addition to regular dailies of jacket potatoes, full salad bars, a deli bar and the ‘seriously sweet selection’.

The kitchen space is very limited, allowing for just two microwaves. There is simply not the space for bulky catering equipment. Valera, sole UK importers of Sanyo professional catering equipment, has provided the perfect solution with its revolutionary Induction Hob.

“Without the Induction Hob, we wouldn’t be able to do half the things we do – it has enabled us to expand our menu”, enthuses Van der Watt, “it really has made such a difference to our lives here. It adds variety to the menu and makes it so much more exciting. It’s really straightforward to use and my staff are really comfortable with it even when I’m not around. In fact, one of my staff has asked for the smaller one at home. We really couldn’t live without it now”.

On a basic level, life BI (Before Induction) meant an eggless environment. Now they’re poached, fried and scrambled – you name it -Kate cooks it!

“I can make chips in oil now and we can make stir fries which are really popular here. Chicken Chow Mein, paellas , hash browns – the induction hob gets used for everything imaginable! We had steak, egg and chips on the lunch menu last week and the Induction Hob got used for all three”.

Induction technology is ideal in a restricted/small work environment as it transfers heat directly from the hob to the food in the pan – heat is only generated when pan and hob connect. This saves energy, reduces fuel bills and is a much safer way to cook in a busy kitchen. It also means the heat is taken out of the kitchen, creating a better working environment for the kitchen staff.

Not only that but the fact that the Sanyo counter-top models use a simple 13 amp plug means it can be ready anytime, anywhere at the flick of a switch.

“One of the best things about the Induction Hob is that I can move it around so easily. I can just unplug it and put it where I need it whether I’m doing theatre cookery for business functions or any kind of catering presentation. I can just turn it round – it looks great on show” says Kate.

The unique service that Valera provides not only includes advice on equipment care and maintenance but also staff training, food testing, menu planning and enhancement.

Pratap Gadhvi, Valera’s Managing Director says “Cooking with induction is quicker, safer, cheaper and Chefs can enjoy instant temperature control. Also, where traditionally this technology has only worked with expensive high ferrous content pans, Sanyo counter-top models from Valera need only standard 18-8 or 18-10 stainless steel”.