Declan McGillian, who worked as a chef himself for 20 years, knows just how unpleasant a commercial kitchen can be to work in when the extractor system hasn’t been cleaned or maintained properly.
“There’s a saying that if you can’t stand the heat you should get out of the kitchen,” says Declan, “but if you’re working in it and it’s your livelihood, you don’t have much choice.
“And while kitchens will always be hot and noisy, they’re a whole lot worse if grease and gunge is allowed to build up inside the extractor system, clogging the filters and stopping it clearing the air efficiently.
“Apart from the obvious fire risks, an extractor system that doesn’t function properly can make the atmosphere so oppressive that staff vote with their feet and leave the manager with a recruitment problem.”
Declan’s just launched the North of Ireland franchise of Hoodz International, the long-established extractor-cleaning specialist, and will be using his insight as a chef to help people sort their extractor systems in restaurants, takeaways, schools, nursing homes, industrial canteens and the food prep industry.
“A lot of people don’t relish cleaning the systems themselves as it’s a messy job and has to be done extremely thoroughly, getting into every crevice of what can be quite complicated systems,” says Declan.
“Imagine finding yourself uninsured and then having to rebuild your landlord’s premises at your own expense, as well as losing your own livelihood and possibly facing claims from other businesses or residents who’d been affected.
“TR19 compliance needs to be taken seriously, with before-and-after pictures to show the job’s been done thoroughly – and that means genuine pictures, not images that someone’s downloaded from the internet.”
Declan, based in Strabane but covering the whole of the North of Ireland, is happy to advise on what needs to be done, as well as helping clients keep their commercial kitchen extractor systems clean, safe and compliant.