Combi ovens utilize several different cooking methods, like steam, convection and radiant heat, to increase cooking efficiency and product quality. Combination cooking allows the user to boil, steam, poach, bake, grill and fry all in one unit. This style of cooking was first introduced in Europe in the mid-1970s. Many European restaurants are located in old and historic buildings that limited the kitchen space. As customer traffic increased, a new method of cooking was required to meet the demands of expanding menu options. Combi ovens were invented to perform the cooking tasks of several different pieces of equipment in a single unit.
Foods such as fresh vegetables, starches and shellfish can be steamed, boiled and blanched by using the steaming features of a combination oven. Grilling, baking, roasting and browning are best done by the simple hot air convection settings. A standard radiant heat setting is also available for browning or crisping items. Of course, these cooking methods can be used interchangeably. For example, when roasting a turkey, one may want to use all three features. Use convection steam mode to cook the turkey quickly, and finish it off in radiant mode to produce the golden brown flesh.