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New Zealand's Hospitality Business magazine writes about Mibrasa

Mibrasa was featured in New Zealand’s May edition of Hospitality Business magazine. Blair Clement, general manager of the restaurant Social Kitchen talks about why Mibrasa is the new nationwide buzz in New Zealand. 

For more information about Mibrasa in New Zealand, get in touch with our exclusive distributors, Wildfire commercial kitchens and bar.

It’s getting hot in here.

It’s getting smoky out there. Charcoal ovens, Wood fire grills and darn big smokers are the raging hot cooking things, it seems, as Smart new restaurants get fitted out around the country. Essentially, however, decisions about kitchen design and equipment installation start with deciding the restaurant concept, then the menus needed to achieve that concept, as Kathy Ombler learned.


Blair Clement has had a lot of new fit outs to think about. He oversees many of the Macfarlane group of restaurants and cafés, mostly in Taranaki but increasingly nationwide and says he currently has responsibility for about ten kitchens. Of all of them, the one that has given him the biggest buzz is the Social Kitchen, which opened in New Plymouth late last year and for which Clement is also general manager.


The main reason for the buzz, he says, is the Mibrasa® Charcoal oven they’ve installed. “This oven is a first, so learning how to get the best results was by trial and error. That’s been really exciting and it’s doing great things.” Why the new Mibrasa®? Let’s backpedal a touch. “When we start a new place we think about the restaurant concept we want and what menus we need to achieve that, then we build the kitchen to suit,” says Clement. “For example I’m now working on an Italian-themed restaurant so obviously that will have a pasta cooker in the line.


“At Social Kitchen we wanted a relaxed, shared dining, ‘extension of our own homes’ concept.” Add to that a South America influence and natural flavours and, well, a charcoal oven seemed just the fit.


“The big point of difference for Social Kitchen is our Mibrasa® oven,” Clement adds. “All our meats are cooked over charcoal as opposed to gas or electricity. So you get your smoke infusing through the meat and adding flavour. Plus it’s a dry heat compared with the wet heat you get from gas, so you get beautiful caramelisation on the outside, and better colour.”


As the Social Kitchen website says, “meat dream are made of these” (we’re talking mains such as Taranaki Rubi Fields free range pork belly, Taranaki Green Meadows skirt steak, or porterhouse, and Wairarapa lamb rack as a whole or half.)


“The oven operates at around 300 to 450°C, at 11am we’ll load it up,” says Clement. “It’s very quick to heat up, then we’ll maintain the heat for the entire day. Generally it’s not hard to maintain the temperature. We had to learn by trial and error, we took it up too high once, that wasn’t ideal.


It’s the biggest of its kind and very efficient. We have a 90-seater restaurant and have never struggled with capacity. A key thing is that we are combing the oven and chargrill. If you take a half-kilo of rib-eye, for example, conventionally you sear it off then put it in the oven and that might take 20 minutes. With the Mibrasa® we can do both those elements of cooking at the same time, so ten minutes max.”


It’s also energy efficient, he adds. “It’s probably dropping our gas bill by a third. Obviously we have to buy the charcoal but we can use the oven for slow cooking as the heat dies down.


Proud designers and suppliers to Social Kitchen

The Social kitchen team commissioned Wildfire to design and fit-out their latest kitchen and bar. This cosy restaurant boasts an impressive show kitchen featuring the Mibrasa® Charcoal oven and matching Waldorf Bold Chilli red enamelled cooking line.


Mibrasa® Charcoal ovens provide unique and delicious flavour to all foods cooked in them. They are an efficient way of cooking and provide an aroma and authentic flavour that is unbeatable.


Wildfire is New Zealand’s leading commercial kitchen design company. With comprehensive experience in all areas of kitchen design, operation and fit-outs, our reputation is built on dynamic design and attention to detail.


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