Choosing a Cutlery Set
Nearly every cutlery set used in general foodservice is made from stainless steel - even if it is finally plated with electro-plated nickel silver (EPNS).
Looking After Nickel-plated Cutlery
With EPNS, the thickness of the plating determines both the durability and the price. Cheap EPNS may look good initially, but will not have a good lifetime cost. EPNS is generally used in top end restaurants and has a very elegant and classical look. Careful maintenance of EPNS cutlery is required with regular cleaning and the use of a silver polish to keep the lustre.
Stainless Steel Utensils
Stainless steel is used by most restaurants and is a mixture of steel, nickel and chromium. This type of cutlery set is described according to the nickel and chromium percentage content. The most common restaurant grade of stainless steel is labelled 18/10, which means that of the 100 parts in the steel, 18 parts are nickel and 10 parts chromium.
Dishwasher Safe Cutlery Sets
The advantage of 18/10 cutlery is that it is a really hard material that is both resistant to scratching and dishwasher safe. There are so many great patterns of cutlery available to suit all manner of styles. The traditional patterns such as Harley, Jesmond, Bead, Kings and Dubarry are universally called Parish Patterns.
Hollow & Solid Handled Designs
Another consideration is the choice of handle design. Hollow handles have a lighter, chunky feel in the hand, while solid handles are much firmer and smaller. Although there is no difference in durability, you will find that a hollow handle is more expensive.
When purchasing a new set of commercial cutlery be aware that the interpretation of a specific pattern may well differ between that of one company and another. You should also consider the age of the range and subsequent stock availability.