– three things I love to do. Come with!
Before applying for the BasqueStage, I had never heard of Sammic, the kitchenwares manufacturing company that sponsors my time here in Spain. I’ve seen several pieces of Sammic equipment in the kitchen at Martin Berasategui. However, on Monday, I got the chance to visit their offices and factory.
Sammic makes dishwashers, blenders, mixers with paddles and dough hooks, immersion circulators, vegetable prep machines, salad spinners, blast chillers- pretty much everything you would need to outfit a professional kitchen. Located in the Basque hill town of Azkoitia, the Sammic headquarters are an interesting mix of administrative offices, research and design labs, and a manufacturing warehouse.
On one floor, we met the engineers who design the equipment; around the corner, we saw the foundry where the aluminum is actually melted and poured into molds.
We pushed on through the assembly lines where teams of men affixed the abrasive slats on potato peelers, or lined the electrical wiring for vacuum sealers. I had always thought pieces of equipment of this size were assembled somewhere in China, whereas here the manufacturing occurs just down the hall from the designers.
Independent of that fact that Sammic sponsors the BasqueStage, I was impressed with the company’s core values. Sammic has kept skilled manufacturing jobs in the area, rather than outsourcing to another, lower-labor-cost regions. Also, the company is a cooperative, with employee partial ownership at a surprising 90%, meaning almost all employees at Sammic have a financial stake in the brand’s success. I’m excited to be working with a company whose practices I can respect.
Another thing that struck me was the crucial role this kind of equipment plays in the modern kitchen. Especially in the United States- where we eat more than 50% of our meals out of the home- high quality, quick service restaurants are the new players in the food market. People want healthy, tasty food. They want it with speedy counter service and convenient locations. I couldn’t help but draw the connection between the two realities; companies like Sammic make this kind of food possible.
So just how do these machines contribute to good food for more people? With high quality equipment, casual restaurants can prepare fresh food daily while maintaining a relatively low price point for their customers. For example, Sammic’s first product was a potato peeler; it can peel 30kg of potatoes in 90 seconds. Their dynamic vegetable prep machine can shred whole heads of cabbage or root vegetables, and fast.
It puts the power to prepare roasted potatoes or vegetable springs rolls back into the hands of the restaurant, rather than buying something precooked or prepackaged. As a cook interested in opening a high quality, casual restaurant in the future, I was excited to see some of the possibilities.
One of my job responsibilities will be to film demonstration videos with Sammic equipment. I’m looking forward to seeing how these machines work and how they can be applied in the kitchen. Stay tuned for videos and cooking demos; I’m sure Elisha and I will have some great outtakes too!