MASTERING THE MENU
Pat LaFrieda joins Penn Plaza
When renowned NYC butcher Pat LaFrieda opened a new food store at The Pennsy on Penn Plaza, it needed the finest equipment to create ready-to-eat food that mirrored the quality of its well-established brand.
THE PROJECT – CREATING THE LAFRIEDA EXPERIENCE
The Pennsy is a high quality, gourmet, food hall. Housing five of the best-known culinary names in New York – The Cinnamon Snail, Mario Batali with Mary Giuliani, chef Marc Forgione, chef Franklin Becker’s The Little Beet and LaFrieda – the 8,000 square foot space, which is just minutes from Penn Plaza and Madison Square Garden, has become a must-visit destination for New York foodies.
Quality meat purveyor Pat LaFrieda saw The Pennsy as an opportunity to showcase its products and has opened its first food store. Selling everything from signature hot steak sandwiches through to The “commuter” package - a range of uncooked steaks, burgers and sausages for commuters to pick up on their way home from work, it’s a perfect introduction to the brand.
Selecting the right people and the right equipment was crucial to creating the perfect LaFrieda experience. The Menumaster’s MXP22, a high speed combination oven that cooks 15 times faster than a conventional oven, was a clear winner.
Combining three cooking energies – microwave, forced convection and infra-red radiant, it cooks at high speed without drying the meat out or compromising its quality. A steak is cooked in a minute and 15 seconds, a chicken cutlet in two minutes and vegetables in just 45 seconds, making it a core piece of kit for signature sandwiches.
Speed is not its only selling point. The ergonomic door design, which drops below the cooking surface when opened, makes it easy for the operator to place food inside and remove it. The ability to stack one oven on top of another without specialised stacking kit gives the flexibility of two ovens in the footprint of one and advanced programming enables the pre-programming of up to 360 menu items. And, thanks to its in-built catalytic convertor, the Menumaster MXP22 doesn’t produce any smoke which is crucial for The Pennsy’s vent-less environment.
THE RESULTS – HIGH QUALITY AT HIGH SPEED
Totally overcoming the chef team’s initial scepticism about using a microwave, the ovens have become the soul of the kitchen. Without them LaFrieda would not be able to produce fresh, beautiful food in that environment.
Pat La Frieda chef – Kenny Cuomo – said: “Being a classically trained chef having worked in Europe and all over America on some of the most high-end ovens you can imagine, I never thought I would be able to produce the food out of this oven at such a high level.”
Cuomo’s boss adds: “It truly tastes like you’re eating steak off an open grill; I was shocked.”