Lesson 10:Catering Tools,Equipment and Fuels

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Hello learner, you are welcome to unit 2 on tools, equipment and fuel in catering. This unit introduces you to basic tools and equipment used in the catering industry and the various fuels used to prepare and cook food.

Caterers cannot start their business without tools, equipment and fuel; therefore, you should be able to identify and use the tools and equipment for the specific jobs in the business.

Tools, equipment and fuel are important items needed for catering because in catering food is prepared, cooked and served. These tools and equipment increase efficiency and save time. In this unit, we shall classify the tools and equipment into large, small and mechanical with their examples, how they function, how to choose and finally how to care, maintain and store them.

Fuels will also be considered here because they are the means by which food is cooked. They shall be classified according to their sources.


After studying this unit, learners should be able to

1.explain what tools and equipment are. 2.identify the tools and equipment by their sizes. 3.classify them according to their functions. 4.choose appropriate tools and equipment for specific jobs. 5.explain how to care and store tools and equipment. 6.use fuels efficiently.


What are tools and equipment?

They are the various items that are used during food preparation, cooking and serving. They include working tables, cooking pans, ranges, fryers, sinks kitchen utensils, mortar, blenders, mixers etc.

Can you add on to the list?

Well done. Let’s continue! These tools and equipment can be put into groups according to their sizes and functions.

When they are put into sizes then, they are classified as large, small and mechanical equipment.

a. Large equipment

These are the equipment or items that are big and sometimes fixed. They are heavy and clumsy to more about easily. Examples include working tables, cooking ranges, sinks (washing basins), refrigerators, fryers….

Which other items are considered large equipment in the kitchen?

That’s good!!

We can add ovens, microwave ovens, freezers, dish washers.

b. Small equipment

They are sometimes referred to as tools. They are small, easy to carry about and very important in the catering business.

Take a flash back into the kitchen and list all the tools that can be put under this group.

These include knives (all kinds), openers, spoons of all kinds and sizes, graters, pestles and mortar, colanders, sieves, kitchen scales. That is a good attempt. Keep it up.

There is yet another group which are classified as mechanical equipment. They are operated by electricity and are also referred to as appliances. Examples are mixers, blenders, liquidizers, slicers, mincers, electric kettles, food processor, rice cookers, toasters, coffee makers.

Now let’s see how we can classify the equipment according to their functions. The following functions can be performed using tools and equipment.

Measuring, mixing baking, cutting, cooking and preparation tools.

1. Measuring Tools

They are the tools used to gauge or estimate quantity of ingredients such as liquids, powders and flours and granules. Measuring tools used for liquids are usually made of glass or clear plastics with pouring lips and have clearly marked measurements. They are either jugs or cups, and sizes available are 1 cup, 2 cups and 4 cups; metric liquid measures come in 250ml, 500ml and 1litre sizes.

There are measuring tools used for measuring dry ingredients like powders, flour, granules and growns. They are usually made of hard plastic or metal. Though they are used to measure dry ingredients they can also be used to measure small quantities of liquids during cooking. They are also available in cups ¼ cups, 1/3 cup, ½ cup and 1 cup sizes with the metric equipment being 50ml, 125 ml and 250ml.

Spoons are also used for measuring ingredients. Although we can use the normal teaspoon, dessert spoon and table spoon to measure, specially designed ones are available on the market. These are made of metal or plastic and used for measuring small amount of both dry and liquid ingredients. They are available in ¼ teaspoon, ½ teaspoon, 1 teaspoon, and 1 tablespoon sizes. The metric equipment are 1ml, 2ml, 5ml and 25ml.

(See fig. 1) These are used for measuring volumes. Can you identify other tools for measuring? Yes, we can include the weighing scale. You can see the diagram in fig.2 ingredients such as meat, fish, flour, fat, doughs, granules, powders etc. They help in weighing large quantities of ingredients. They come in ounces (oz) and pounds (lbs) and grammes (gms) and kilograms (kg).

Do you remember the scale used in the butcher’s shop?

It is called the balance – It has metals of different weights that are put on the scale to help balance the weight of the meat on the other side of the scale.

2. Mixing Tools

They are very essential in many jobs in the kitchen. They are used for stirring, beating and whisking.

Can you identify some tools under this group?


They include wooden spoons, metal spoons whisks. Wooden spoons come in variety of sizes (small to large) and used mainly for stirring and mixing during meal preparation. Metal spoons also come in different size and shapes and are used for stirring dishing up, folding in of ingredients in flour cookery.

Whisks are used to beat, mix and incorporate air into mixtures. They include rotary whisks or beaters, balloon whisks and spring whisks.

(See picture of fig. 3)

3. Baking Tools

They are the tools that aid pastry making and baking in general. These tools include spatulas of all sizes (made from wood, flexible stainless steal (metal) and soft flexible plastics). They are used to turning fish, meat, pancakes, omelets and eggs when frying. They include fish slides with bent handles, slotted spoons, straight-edge spatulas are used to spread icing on cakes and to level dry ingredients during measuring. Example is the palette knife.

Flexible rubber or plastic spatulas are used to scrape bowls and pans and also for folding one ingredient into another.

(See fig. 4)

4. Cutting Tools

They are the tools that aid in cutting, chopping, shredding and peeling of ingredients.

Can you make a list of all tools that are used for cutting?

Well done!!

They include

(a) Knives of all kinds and sizes used for cutting, slicing, chopping and de-boning. The blade of the knife can be either smooth, sharp or serrated (saw-tooth edge) and sharp. Examples are cook’s knives (sometimes referred to as utility knives), slicing knives, utility knives and pairing knives.

A French, chef or cook’s knife is very versatile of all the knives because it does of the chopping, cutting and dicing of fruits and vegetables. Slicing knife is used mostly for cutting meat, fish, poultry, bread and soft vegetables such as tomatoes. A utility knife is a good all-round knife used for cutting tender vegetables, cheese, trimming fat from meat and the pairing knife is the smallest of all the knives and used for peeling, trimming and cutting eyes out of vegetables.

(b) Kitchen shears (scissors) are used only for food preparation and for trimming vegetables and herbs. Shears or scissors can be used for preparing (cleaning) fish and poultry but they are heavier than the ordinary kitchen scissors. They are used to cut through poultry, trim off fins and gills of fish and for cutting through bones of the fish.

(c) Peelers are used to cut or remove the outer skin of fruits and vegetables. They peel just the skin off therefore nutrients under the surface of the vegetable or fruits are preserved. They are also used to make decorations for garnishing like decorative carrots, cheese curls, chocolate curls and decorative cucumber

(d) Shredder or grater is usually a four sided metal tool used to grate and shred food items such as cheese, carrots, chocolate, okro, cabbage etc. The openings on the sides are of different sizes and dimensions therefore afford one to grate or shred food into either small or large pieces. Shredder – grates are also made from hard plastics and can also be made flat-round, flat-triangle and flat-square shapes.

Can you mention other food items that can be grated?

(e) Cutting boards are made from wood or hard plastics (acrylic) usually in a rectangular shape. They are sometimes built into the kitchen cabinet or counter. They are used for cutting and chopping foods to protect the surface of working tables and countertops.

(See fig. 5)

5. Cooking and other preparation tools and utensils

They are the tools and utensils that help in cooking which include saucepans (different sizes) frying pans, casseroles, pressure cookers, tongs, kitchen forks, ladles, colanders, strainers and sieves.

These are made from metal (aluminum or stainless steel) glass earthenware and plastics. Some of them are coated to make them non-stick cook ware. When used food does not stick or get burnt.

Saucepans and pots are normally used for cooking food in water or other liquids over direct heat. Saucepan usually have one long handle and pots have two handles.

(See fig. 6)

Sizes of saucepans range from 1 pint (0.54) to a 12 quart (12L) pot. They should have well fitting lids and handles should be heat resistant and comfortable to hold.

Pressure cookers cook foods more quickly than the conventional saucepans. This is because as pressure is increased, temperature increases.

Tongs are usually made of metal and used for turning meat and fish during grilling, fried foods, and for handling and serving baked potatoes, corn on cab, grilled fish and meat.

Kitchen forks are made of heavy-duty metal and used to transfer heavy or large chunks of meat and poultry from fire and roasting pan onto the platter.

Ladles are round cups with long handles and are used for dipping and pounding. They are often used to serve soups, punches, gravies, … can you add on to the list?

Colanders are perforated bowls used to drown fruits, vegetables and pasta after cooking. Strainers are used to separate liquid from solid foods.

Sieves are used to shift dry ingredients like flours, icing sugar etc. to remove impurities and humps.

(See fig. 7)

Casseroles are used for baking and made from glass, ceramics or earthenware. They are designed for freezer-to-oven use. That means that it can be used to freeze foods and at the same time bake or heat the food in it on fire (direct heat or oven). Frying pans come in three main types and are made from metal (aluminum or non-stick).

a.Shallow frying pans have straight or curved sides with some having pouring lips like the measuring jugs or cups. They also come in different sizes (small, medium and large). They are usually used for frying pan-cakes, omelets and fired eggs.

b.Deep frying pans are used for frying or cooking foods that require deep frying like fish, boufloaf, coated-balter fish, meat or chicken, chips (yam, plantain, potatoes). These frying pans have frying baskets to make frying easier and have lids

c.Works are of Chinese origin, they are deep, round and sloping sides. They have one long handle like the trying pan or two handles like the cooking pot. They are used for stir frying vegetables meat or fish. Food can also be steamed in the work because it have a well fitting lid.

There are a lot more tools and equipment but we shall stop here and look at how to choose, care, maintain and store tools and equipment in general.

Choice of tools and equipment

We have just seen the functions tools and equipment perform, therefore their choice depends on what use you want to put them to.

But generally, the choice of tools and equipment depends on the following

1.The kinds of jobs or tasks the tools will perform and how often they are used 2.The design and how to operate the equipment. You have to choose well-designed tools that can be assembled and operated easily (especially with appliances or mechanical equipment). 3.The quality of materials used from which the equipment or tool is made, for example stainless steel and rust proof tools and other durable materials. 4.Handles should be firm and should fit the hand comfortably so as to withstand constant use.

Can you add on some features that can help you choose tools and equipment?


Let’s see, what have you considered. Did you add that? 5.Handles of utensils should have heat resistant handles so as to make handling from fire easy? 6.They should be well-balanced so that they do not tip over 7.Lids should be well constructed and should fit tightly. Handles on lids should also be heat resistant and easy to be grasped with a potholder

How can we care and store these tools and equipment so that we can use them for a long time?


1.Follow the manufacturer’s direction for use and care. 2.Use the appropriate cleaning material for cleaning. 3.Do not soak wooden tools in water because they will absorb the water and rot. (can you make a list of tools made with wood or those that have some parts made of wood?)


Wooden spatulas, “stirring stick”, wooden masher, knife handles, frying pan handles, rolling pins chopping boards, bread board etc.

You have done well!

4.Clean stainless steel and non-stick pots and pans with ordinary sponge and soap do not use scourers or abrasives (steel, wool, wood ash etc) as they may scrap-off the non-stick coating. Stainless steel can be maintained by cleaning occasionally with very smooth scorning powders like vim etc. 5.Clean utensils according to the materials it is made from. (Metal, plastic, glass earthenware, porcelain etc)


1.Store small equipment and tools at a convenient location (e.g. in drawers in the kitchen, kitchen cupboards, basket etc) 2.Stainless steal and other metal tools should be wiped dry before storage. Otherwise stainless steel will have water mark stains and other metals may rust. 3.Hang tools that have handles and hooks for hanging. 4.Glass utensils should be stored carefully to avoid breakage. 5.It is more convenient to have tools and equipment arranged nicely on shelves, cupboards or cabinets 6.Cooking pots and pans can be stuck up into each other according to sizes to save storage space

Now you have done very well, you have almost completed Unit 2

Let’s now look at the fuels we use in the kitchen.

What are fuels?

They are the source of heat use to cook food.

Can you mention examples?

Oh, Yes.

They include firewood, charcoal, kerosene, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and electricity

Firewood and charcoal are solid fuel kerosene is a liquid fuel LPG is a gaseous fuel and electricity is derived from electric power.

All these fuels are used in stores or cookers and in catering stoves or cookers are called ranges. Fuels have their advantages and disadvantages.

Fired wood

This is the traditional source of fuel used in many Ghanaian homes. They are dried pieces of tree branches, coconut husks, coconut and palm branches, trunks of tree that have been splitted with axe or cutlass.


1.Less expensive as compared to the other fuels 2.They are readily available

Can you think about other advantages?

O. K. lets look at the disadvantages.


1.It makes the working area, the cook and utensils dirty. 2.The kitchen becomes smoky and uncomfortable. 3.Lighting the fire can be difficult if the firewood is not dry. 4.Smoke call be scented in the food. 5.Heat cannot be regulated when cooking

Any other disadvantages?

What about charcoal?

Charcoal is a type of fuel made from firewood using a special process to burn the woody substance leaving black hard carbon substances.


1.It is less expensive as compared to kerosene gas and electricity but more expensive than firewood 2.It is available every where


1.It also makes working area and utensil dirty. 2.Lighting of the fuel can be difficult if the charcoal is hard. 3.One can not regulate the amount of heat when cooking. 4.The cook will have to fun the fire to maintain the temperature of the fire

Can you think about other disadvantage if not then let’s move on to the liquid fuel – Kerosene.


This is a petroleum product which can be used is specially designed stoves. T he stove has a tank that holds the kerosene and pieces of cotton cords passed through tubes that are attached to the cover of the tank. The cords are pulled up the tubes with the remaining in the kerosene in the tank and then lighted to generated for cooking.


1.It is inexpensive as compared to gas and electricity. 2.It is easy to operate but can become smoky if not well assembled. 3.It can be used anywhere. 4.Worker and working area looks neat and tidy.

What about disadvantages?

1.It can explode if kerosene is mixed with other petroleum products. 2.cannot be used if there is no kerosene

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

It is a bye-product of petroleum is gaseous form use as fuel to cook. They are sold in gas bottles of small, medium, standard and commercial sizes. Tubes are connected from the stove or cooker to the gas bottles and when knobs on the bottles and cookers are turned on and lighted, fire is produce to cook food. It is one of the most convenient fuels used in the catering business.


1.It is a very convenient to use. 2.Working area, utensil and cook are as neat as possible. 3.It is less expensive as compared to electricity. 4.It can be used anywhere. 5.Worker can regulate the intensify of the heat as you cook by turning the knobs on the cooker/stove.


Do you think there are some disadvantages?

Let’s See!

1.It is very expensive as compared to fire wood, charcoal and kerosene. 2.When there is a shortage by supply fuel becomes difficult to get. 3.The cooker/stove with which the fuel can be used is also expensive. 4.Can be dangerous when there are leakages in the tube or on the regulator. 5.One cannot detect easily whether there is adequate supply of fuel because the gas bottles are not transparent.

That’s good keep it up.

Now let’s look at electricity.


It is a source of fuel generated from electric power, which are supplied through the electrical mains. Stove/cookers are then connected to the mains and the knobs of the stoves turned onto supply the heat.


1.It is very neat to use because it does not make the working area, utensils or worker dirty 2.The heat of fire can be regulated to suit the desired temperature.

Learner, are these all the advantages?

What of disadvantages?


1.It is very expensive to use because you have to pay huge electric bills. 2.Cannot be used when there is power outage (lights off) 3.The cooker/stove with which the fuel is used is expensive 4.Can give electric shock when faulty.

Well done

You have successfully completed Unit 2 and so you can go on to Unit 3.

Good Luck!!

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