Month: April 2014

Sneak Peek: a 16 oz. Cook’s Brand Tumbler is Coming

Cook's Brand Co-polymer Tumblers

Cook’s Brand Co-polymer Tumblers

In 2005,  Cook’s Correctional launched their own Cook’s Brand Co-Polymer Correctional Tumblers and Cook’s Brand Polycarbonate Correctional Tumblers. When these were launched, we rolled out three different sizes:  the 8 oz., 9.5 oz and 12 oz. size tumblers.

Our customers have been very happy with the quality of our co-polymer tumblers and how well they hold up in the harshest of correctional environments.  During the design process, we spent reviewed many of the products that were in the market currently.   As with all our Cook’s Brand products, our goal wasn’t to just introduce a new tumbler that was the same as the other tumblers on the market — we wanted to introduce one that was better and designed specifically to stand up to the abuse of the correctional environment.  That’s why we engineered the Cook’s Brand Tumblers to have a base and rim that are thick-walled for longer life.  We also textured the surface slightly to hide scratches and minimize everyday wear.  The smooth lip of the tumbler ensures it is comfortable to use.

Cook’s has sold over 1 million correctional tumblers in the last 9 years. In July 2014 Cook’s will launch a new size to the popular product line in a 16 oz capacity. We are making this size, because our customers asked and we listened. The new 16 oz. Cook’s Correctional co-polymer and polycarbonate materials will be available for sale in the August 2014 Cook’s Buyer’s Guide.

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson

Got a problem with your item – let’s get that fixed quickly!

defects iconWe pride ourselves on carrying quality products that can withstand the daily abuse that’s dished out in the correctional kitchen. But with the volume of products we sell, we occasionally ship out a defective item.  When this happens, we know that you’re already inconvenienced because you ordered something, waited for it and now that it’s arrived – it’s not right. Our goal is to fix that as quickly as possible.

If you have an order from Cook’ s Correctional that included a defective item, please call us as soon as it’s convenient for you at 1-800-956-5571.  When you call regarding the defective item, be sure to have the following information available to expedite the call:

If it’s a small ware item:

  • The order / invoice number that relates to the item
  • Specifics about the defect you find with the item
  • What you were using it for or doing with the item when it broke

If it is an equipment piece you’re calling about:

  • The order / invoice number that relates to the item
  • Specifics about the defect in the equipment
  • How you were using the equipment when it broke or stopped working
  • The model number of the equipment piece

    Janet St. Clair, Customer Service Manager Cook's

    Janet St. Clair

  • The serial number of the equipment piece

Having the above information prepared before you make the call can help us to quickly track back the item history and will enable us to quickly resolve this issue for you.


Got small flies or gnats in your kitchen? They’re probably fruit flies!

Defender FFF-13 Starter Kit Fruit Fly Fighter

Fruit Fly Fighter from Defender

Fruit flies can be a problem year round, but as the weather warms up; temperatures in the kitchen heat up and windows and doors are opened, so you typically start seeing them in spring.

We’ve created this fact sheet for you to explain how infestations originate and how you can prevent them in your correctional kitchen this year:
Biology and Behavior
Fruit flies are common in all types of kitchens; correctional operations, restaurants, school cafeterias and even homes. Anywhere with unrefrigerated produce will attract fruit flies.

  • The adults are about 1/8th inch long and usually have red eyes. The front portion of the body is tan and the rear portion is black.
  • Fruit flies lay their eggs near the surface of fermenting foods or other moist, organic materials.
  • Upon emerging, the tiny larvae will feed near the surface of the fermenting mass. Because the larvae feed only on the surface on the over-ripened fruits and vegetables, the damaged area can be cut away without having to discard the remainder for fear of retaining any developing larvae.
  • The reproductive potential of fruit flies is enormous, laying anywhere from 400 to 500 eggs. The entire lifecycle from egg to adult takes about one week.
  • Fruit flies are especially attracted to ripened fruits and vegetable, but they also breed in drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, trash containers, mops and cleaning rags. Any area that has developed a moist film of fermenting material.
  • Infestations can originate from over-ripened fruits or vegetables that were previously infested and brought into the home. Also, the adults can also fly in from outside through inadequately screened windows and doors.
  • Fruit flies are primarily nuisance pests. However, they also have the potential to contaminate food with bacteria and other disease-producing organisms.

The best way to avoid problems with fruit flies is to eliminate sources of attraction:

  • Produce which has ripened should be eaten, discarded or refrigerated.
  • Bruised or cracked portions of fruits and vegetables should be cut away and discarded because eggs or larvae may already be in the damaged area.
  • All areas where food is stored should be cleaned out. A single rotting onion remaining at the bottom of the bin, or fruit juice spillage under a refrigerator can breed thousands of fruit flies. So can a recycling bin with soda cans that aren’t rinsed which is not emptied or cleaned.
  • Windows and doors should be tightly fitted with 16 mesh screens to help prevent adult fruit flies from entering from outdoors.

Once your operation is infested with fruit flies, every area that is a potential location for breeding must be located and eliminated. Until all breeding sites are removed or cleaned, the problem will continue no matter how often insecticides are applied to control the adults:

  • Locating the actual source of attraction and breeding can be challenging and can require thoroughness, diligence and persistence. Potential breeding sites like garbage disposals and drains can be inspected by taping a clear plastic food storage bag over the opening overnight. If flies are breeding in these areas, the adults will emerge and be caught in the bag.
  • After the source of attraction and breeding is eliminated, a pyrethrum-based, aerosol insecticide made for janitorial supplies for foodservice may be used to kill any remaining adult flies in the area.
  • Alternatively, you can construct a trap by placing a paper funnel (rolled from a sheet of notebook or butcher paper) into a jar which is then baited with a few ounces of cider vinegar or a slice of banana. Place the jar trap(s) wherever fruit flies are seen. This simple trap will soon catch any remaining
    Marketing Manager, Cook's

    Candace Meneou

    adult flies for removal from your kitchen.

The busy correctional kitchen is a great location for the fruit fly to set up house! Working with facilities across the US, we’ve had plenty of customers come to us with this problem – and Cook’s Correctional has been able to help them with easy-to-implement, cost effective solutions. If you are concerned about a potential fruit fly invasion, give us a call and let us get you set up to stop them before they start this year.

Information courtesy of the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment / UK Entemology webpage on Fruit Flies.


Is Stainless Steel stronger than Aluminum?

How strong is it?

How strong is it?

We carry a lot of Stainless Steel and a lot of Aluminum products – most often you’ll see both materials in transport products like meal delivery carts .  In fact, our two most popular meal delivery carts are the Stainless Steel Meal Delivery Cart and our Aluminum Tray Delivery Cart, both from Cook’s Brand.


So this question is pretty common and most assume that stainless steel is indeed stronger.  And the answer is…’s really about the gauge (or thickness) of the aluminum and stainless.

There are very heavy gauges of aluminum that are much, much stronger than light gauge stainless steel. One more concept to keep in mind is that aluminum gauges are not the same as stainless steel gauges. A 2 gauge aluminum sheet is thicker than 2 gauge stainless steel.

Jeff Breeden, CEO Cook's

Jeff Breeden

Want to know more?  Here is a good link to check different thicknesses of metals…

How to Make the Perfect Hard-Boiled Egg

hard boiled eggWhile I doubt that too many correctional kitchen operations will be coloring eggs this holiday for their trustees, there will still be lots of egg coloring going on in general, and it’s always nicer when the inside of your egg is perfectly cooked rather than overcooked. An overcooked hard-boiled egg has a greenish looking yolk rather than a pretty yellow one and some people think the egg tastes sulfurous.

Here’s the directions to make perfectly cooked hard-boiled eggs, for all of you who will be coloring them for the Easter festivities:

  1. Buy your eggs at least five days in advance of boiling them. This will make them easier to peel. Fresh eggs will always be difficult to peel, but if you aren’t able to get your eggs in advance, you should steam them for 20 minutes to hard cook them rather than boiling them and they will be easy to peel.
  2. Get a large saucepan and put the eggs in a single layer then cover with at least one to two inches of cold water. By starting with cold water and then bringing the eggs to gently to boil, you’ll have less chance of a cracked egg.
  3. Add a tablespoon of vinegar to the water. This will help keep the egg whites from running out of any eggs that do crack while they are cooking. If you are concerned that the vinegar will affect the taste of any eggs that do crack, then you can add a ½ teaspoon of salt to help prevent the cracking and to make the eggs easier to peel.
  4. Put the burner on high and bring the eggs to a boil. As soon as the water starts to boil, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds.
    Reduce the heat to low, return the pan to the burner and let simmer for one minute. Note that if your eggs have already been boiling for a minute, because you didn’t notice right away that they started boiling, then you should skip this step.
  5. After a minute, remove the pan from the heat, cover and let sit for 12 minutes. If you are doing a large volume eggs at one time, you can check for done-ness after 10 minutes by sacrificing one egg. Simply remove it from the pan, run it under cold water and cut it open to see if it’s fully cooked. If not – then you can cook the remaining eggs for a couple more minutes. Timing can vary based on pan size, egg size, number of eggs, etc. When in doubt, let the eggs sit a little while longer. This method is fairly ‘gentle’ and you can leave them sit as long as 15+ minutes without over cooking them.
  6. Finally, after the 12 minutes is up, remove the eggs from the pan with a slotted spoon and place them into a bowl of ice water or you can
    Marketing Manager, Cook's

    Candace Meneou

    strain out the water from the pan you are using , fill it with cold water to cool the pot, strain it again and fill it again until the eggs cool down a bit.

  7. Once cooled, strain the water from the eggs and store them in a covered container in the refrigerator. Be sure to eat your cooked eggs within 5 days.



What makes a good tray delivery cart?

Cook's Brand Stainless Steel Tray Delivery Cart

Cook’s Brand Stainless Steel Tray Delivery Cart

We have a ton of experience with tray delivery carts, so much that a few years ago we felt we could design and build carts that were superior to anything on the market.

So what makes a good cart…

To start with, you need a strong frame for the entire cart and shelves. One of the biggest areas of failure on a cart is the front of the shelf, where it is typically just welded. On our carts, we reinforce the top/bottom shelves with square tube so when the inmate sits on it or overloads it, the shelf won’t break.

Next, you must have great casters. Casters that are large enough to be pushed easily through the yard or down to the housing unit at the end of the facility. We like 6” polyurethane, non-marking casters which hold about 2000 lbs. Yes, no one will ever put 2000 lbs. on it but why take the chance!

Beyond casters and a sturdy frame, corner bumpers, welded handles and heavier gauge stainless steel are also very important. But when purchasing a new 2 shelf cart, the primary focus should be on the frame and casters. IF the frame and casters are made to

Jeff Breeden, CEO Cook's

Jeff Breeden

withstand corrections abuse, the cart will last you a long time.

Your cart can be Stainless Steel or Aluminum – we carry Cook’s Brand carts in both materials and have many customers who purchase each of them.  The difference in the materials really won’t affect the life of your cart so much as the appearance, weight and the price as aluminum is less expensive than stainless. If you in the market for a cart, make sure to look at how it’s built to be sure it will last in your operation.

Need a lighter weight food transport solution? Meet the Kanga Box.

Kanga Box Transport Carrier

Kanga Box Transport Carrier available at Cook’s Correctional

Does your staff complain about the food transport carriers being too heavy? “I can’t lift the top loader when the pans are full of food”? I need another worker to help me lift the End Loader so we can load the pans correctly?

If these are all comments your staff has made in the past, then we have a new product that we want to introduce to you. Say Hi to the Kanga Box Transport Carrier product line.

This innovative new food storage and transport product line of pan carriers is available in four different styles, and all of these are available in six different eye-catching colors. What makes these carriers so unique is the material that these are made from is lightweight yet strong.  You’re staff will love that the Kanga Box is a durable, lighter solution to standard pan carriers.

Not only are these very light weight, the Kanga box has a perfect closing lid, is totally impermeable to liquids and hot steam, and has ergonomically shaped handles for easier lifting and carrying. The Kanga box is dishwasher safe to 176 degrees Fahrenheit.

Brian Richardson

Director of Merchandising, Cook’s

If you require a food transport option that is durable for your correctional kitchen, consider the Kanga Box as a new solution!

Want to place an order fast? here’s some tips to keep it quick!

phone callDo you have lots of spare time at work? Nope – we didn’t think so! That’s why we do our best to help you place your orders with us as quickly as possible.  That’s also why you’ll find the Quick Order option right on the home page of the Cook’s Correctional website.

Still, sometimes it’s better for you to place your orders with us via the phone, email or fax.  We do our best to be friendly and pleasant to talk to, but we understand that you’ve got a lot more on your plate than just placing kitchen supplies orders with the friendly people over at Cook’s!

Today’s post provides a couple of tips to help you get the fastest service possible from us:

If you have the following pieces of information ready before you call, then we can help you get your order placed accurately and quickly. And if you’re ordering via fax or email, be sure to include these pieces of information so that we don’t have to hold your order up while we contact you to get this:

Sales order numbers – When placing an order via email or phone call please make sure to always request the sales order confirmation number. This is great information to have in case you need to call in about the order at any time. The order confirmation number can be referenced when obtaining tracking information, obtaining an invoice, needing to set up a return, or any other inquiry you might have regarding the order.

Contact Information – When faxing an order please make sure you reference an account number, if you know it, as this will make sure to place the order under the correct account. Please make sure to specify if the order needs to be under an Aramark, GEO or any other corporate food service provider. Make sure to reference a contact of who we can call or email if we end up having questions about your order.

Janet St. Clair, Customer Service Manager Cook's

Janet St. Clair

When emailing and inquiring about an order, please make sure to have either your account number or zip code available. This will help us to put your orders in the correct account and get the order process started as quickly as possible for you.

The Origins of the Flex Tray

Cook's 335 Brown Flex Trays

Cook’s 335 Brown Flex Trays

Did you know that the super durable, NSF approved Flex Trays originated with the simple bakeware found at Bed, Bath and Beyond. When silicone was introduced to the consumer market 8 years ago, we thought that it would be a great material for correctional trays.

Now, there were a lot of things we needed to address…it needed to be super sturdy, incredibly durable and meet all foodservice standards. It took us 2 years to find the right silicone (all silicone is not the same) and engineer the product so it would stand up to corrections abuse.

After we had this figured out, we worked with NSF to certify the product which is the only flexible corrections tray to carry this certification. We now have six different Flex Tray designs to choose from along with Flex Tumblers, Flex Mugs, Flex Bowls and the Flex Spoon.

Jeff Breeden, CEO Cook's

Jeff Breeden

The Cook’s Brand Flex Products are a great line of correctional meal serving products and currently being used in 100’s of facilities across the country.