Mobile Catering Food Worktop Requirements

by Ron
(Central Scotland)

Hi David,

A truly inspirational website and the info is brilliant.

I'm a 60 year old trucker who has lived out of the many catering trailers the length and breadth of mainland U.K. and on a few of the islands off the west coast as well. I've seen (and eaten) good and bad, horrendous and stupendous.

I've had the inkling to run a wee trailer of my own for a good few years and feel that I'm now over the hill for driving long hours and constant night-shifts, so now would be the ideal time for me to take the plunge.

I have started some initial enquiries with my local council with regards to a pitch that has had a few trailers over the years, the most recent being unbelievably expensive, he didn't stay long.

I'm not looking to make a fortune, just hopefully build up a reasonable turnover to make a modest living. I've been looking at trailers for sale and have seen some nice looking ones. Anyway, my query is:

I was under the impression that all worktops for food preparation had to be food grade stainless steel. A lot of the trailers I see for sale appear to have the bog standard laminated kitchen worktop that is generally used in the home. Is this legal?

I cannot find any other reference to this on the site (so far) and hope you can answer this for me as I'd hate to invest money in something that needs refurbished before I even sell a burger!

I don't doubt that there will be more questions coming from me, some silly and hopefully some sensible. Yeah, I know, the only stupid questions are the ones we don't ask.

Cheers,

Ron.

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Sep 22, 2013
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Worktops
by: Anonymous

I am in the process of converting a catering van, and have had several visits from enviro health, and also sent the plans for the van to them. As a temp prep area, we are using large polyproplene boards, which lift off when we are finished preparing and need to use the bain maries (this is what the boards sit on). This is the material that chopping boards are made from, and I've had no objections from EH. We can easily lift them off and wash them and are food grade quality. I think as long as the surface is not porous and can be washed and sanitised, it should be ok. My experience of EH so far has been great, any questions you have ask them because they are there to guide you.

Annette

Jun 21, 2013
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Thanks
by: Ron

Hi again David,

Thanks again for your help, but I did find that company eventually. It's trying to get new worktops that has me stuck. I might try one of the trailer makers to see if they can help me with a couple of off-cuts or lengths.

Ron

Jun 21, 2013
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Stainless Steel Worktops
by: David

Hi Ron,

I've had a look for you and can see that this website in the U.K sells what you need.

www.metalsheets.co.uk

Check them out, they sell on Amazon and Ebay.

Best of luck.
David

Jun 18, 2013
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Next Query
by: Ron

Thanks for the info re shifting the grease...

Next. Where can I get mail order circle polished stainless steel worktops, cupboard doors and sheets for the walls/ceiling?

Maybe I'm being thick, but I don't seem to be able to find a supplier online, for worktops.

Thanks in advance.

Ron.

Jun 18, 2013
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Removng Grease
by: David

Hi Ron,

These few suggestions have been given to me in the past:

A solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water which seems to work well in removing grease

Baking soda is another good way to remove grease but requires a lot of scrubbing

Or pop into your local store and see what commercial products they have available.

Regards,
David

Jun 18, 2013
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Well, I got a trailer.
by: Ron

Hi folks, for anyone interested.

I spotted a bonnie wee trailer for sale but it got snapped up before I had a chance to go to see it. It was listed in a dealer's site south of the border. Anyway, after trolling Ebay and Gumtree for a few weeks, I finally found one in Aberdeen shire which was in daily use and was within my budget in Aberdeenshire. I popped up to have a look and gave her a deposit there and then, we agreed I could collect it the following wee-end. The wifie selling it seemed to have lost interest in it and it was pretty grotty inside.

I arranged storage and fetched it back the following week-end then promptly started stripping out the interior for refurbishment, cleaning and painting , or possibly for lining with polished stainless steel. The equipment was all in working order, but need a really good deep clean ... and I mean DEEP.

The first item to get the treatment was the double chip fryer. It got completely dismantled by drilling out all the pop rivets and after a few days of scraping and scrubbing I wasn't getting too far on with it. I even tried using a blowtorch on some of the more stubborn caked on oil and this did help, but in the end, I (somewhat unconventionally) put all the sections in my bath and filled it with really hot water and lots of soda crystals. It took a good few days of constant soaking in hot water and soda (removed only so I could shower and the water was refreshed at least twice a day) before the gunge started to soften. Then it was given a good scraping and it is now gleaming like new, awaiting re-assembly with stainless steel pop rivets.

The next item to get the treatment will be the griddle, which, if anything, is in a worse state than the fryer was. Many of you will know this, but I was pleasantly surprised when I realised that the heavy griddle plate can be removed from the base section ... though mine was so severely welded by old fat and gunge that I spent ages trying to find the bolts/rivets/welding which was holding it on. It will also be completely dismantled and I see no reason why I shouldn't be able to get it gleaming like new also.

To be continued ... Anyone know a good way to get the oily gunge off the walls and ceiling?

I don't think the trailer will fit in my bath!!!

Jun 17, 2013
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Work Surface Mobile Catering Vehicle
by: David

Hi Ron,

Good to hear from you!
The work surface need only be capable of being cleaned easily so laminated type work tops seem to be adequate.

Personally I would opt for stainless steel worktops and can’t understand why people don’t use them in their food vehicles. Even my first catering truck has stainless steel worktops and splash backs and this was an old vehicle.

It just looks cleaner and more professional (shinny) so if you can still to stainless steel worktops.

While you’re here Ron, when considering a catering trailer please make sure that all catering equipment has the CE mark or it won’t pass any GAS test and you won’t get a certificate.

This has happened to someone else and they are now unfortunately stuck with catering equipment they can’t use.

Best of luck!
Regards,
David


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