A little help towards keeping your saute A-OK

Have you ever found yourself trying to maintain a recipe or stressing to get a plate finished and into the window, but the sauté unit isn’t burning properly? Are half the flames ‘dancing’ or ‘floating’ off the burner? If so, you are likely experiencing a problem with the gas pressure. If the problem is affecting the all of the burners at the same time, it’s most likely a defect at the pressure regulator and you’ll need a professional to come replace it.

However, there are some steps you can take to try and resolve the issue yourself, saving you downtime and money. In the event some of the burners are lighting, the first place to review are the orifices (where the gas is emitted out of the burner and ignites). Check these openings to see if they are clogged. Over time, various conditions can naturally occur (carbon, debris, starch) that would block the hole and make them inoperable. If this is the case, simply take a paperclip, clean out the opening and your burner should ignite again.

If you find that the burner is lit, but your cook time is taking longer than expected, you may have a temperature issue. Simply put, the flame isn’t reaching the desired level of heat (the flames may appear yellow or orange). The remedy for this is to clean and adjust the air shutter at the front of the burner tube or Venturi, where the air and gas mix to produce a proper flame. In this case, you can remove the burner of the unit, clean the shutter of any grease or other build-up and then reinstall it on the burner valve and the mounts for the burner. If you have never done this before, odds are that this is your issue. In the event this doesn’t solve the problem, you may need to loosen the screw that holds the shutter tight and adjust it by widening or narrowing the opening. This adjustment will control the volume of air being released into the Venturi and should allow you to obtain a blue flame again. Once the desired temperature is reached, be sure to tighten the shutter back down once and you can start cooking again.

Obviously the best solution to avoid these challenges is to have your commercial cooking equipment on a preventative maintenance program, either with a qualified outside vendor or by training your team to stay on top of maintain the burners. By removing the burners once a week, brushing them clean with a wire brush and running them through the dish machine, you can save yourself from a lot of unnecessary frustration and potentially unnecessary service calls.