Choosing cutlery should be simple, but many people over-complicate the matter and can end up spending far more time than is necessary deliberating over the tiniest of design variations. It is even suggested that attributes such as colour, weight and material can influence how our food tastes. A recent study in the journal 'Flavour' investigates this concept in a little more detail. Our advice is to make the basic choice between the two main grades of cutlery, and then simply choose a pattern that you like and that suits the venue.
The two most common grades of stainless steel cutlery in the catering industry, are 18/10 and 18/0.
18/10 is an austenite stainless steel, which has a 10% nickel content to go with the 18% chromium, and this is generally the highest grade of cutlery available. The nickel makes it highly resistant to staining, rusting, and corrosion. It also adds some weight to the product, which in most cases provides a better feel in the hand of the diner. The main benefit of 18/10 grade cutlery, aside from its mirror finish, is the lifespan. It's designed to look good, and perform well for a long time.
18/0 is a “ferritic” stainless steel, made up of around 18% chromium, but free of austenite forming elements, usually nickel. Cutlery of this grade feels light in the hand, and can be used in circumstances where corrosion resistance, and therefore durability is not considered to be overly important. The benefits of 18/0 cutlery are mostly found in its price tag, which can be a fraction of some of its 18/10 counterparts.
But as with many products in the catering industry, the price reflects the lifespan of the product. This grade of cutlery is certainly cheap, and will do a decent job in cafés or pubs where food is perhaps not the focal point. Just don't expect it to look good and hold its shape forever. View the the 'Klaremont' range here.
So once you've decided on the grade of cutlery that you need, the next step is to work out your budget. Bearing in mind that some 18/10 pieces can cost over £5.00 per piece, it's important to know what you can afford before you start looking at the different patterns. There's nothing more deflating than choosing a short-list of your three favourite patterns, only to find that all of them are in a different galaxy from what you can afford. View the Puccini range here.
So, once the budget is confirmed – all that's left is to choose the pattern that you like best, taking some care to ensure that it will fit in with the rest of the fittings in your restaurant.