The KISS method of kitchen design; Keep it Simple and Strong, is the innovation of Howard Breeden, the co-founder of Cook’s Correctional. Having spent many years in correctional kitchen management along with a formal culinary education, Howard understood the environment and the demands of the correctional kitchen and addressed these in kitchen design method. The following is our second installment from an article that appeared in Corrections Forum in 1996, written by Howard. It’s as relevant today, as when it was written. (click here to see the first post)
At Cook’s Correctional Kitchen Equipment and Supply, we encourage our customers to identify the number of meals needed, with specific times and time limits. In dining room feeding where food must be held, it is critical to determine the time span of service and the time allowed for each inmate to consume the meal.
This timing issue determines the amount and size of holding equipment and cooking equipment. Longer feeding times may permit batch cooking if the institution has enough paid labor to supervise the kitchen.
Future needs should also influence kitchen design. Depending on an area’s inmate population growth rate, it may be cost-effective to specify equipment sized to handle twice the current inmate population because of probable growth or double-bunking.
Flow is a key element for design for all kitchens, but especially in corrections. There must be a natural order of progression from the dock, storerooms and coolers to prep area to serving line, and for dirty trays from dining site to dishroom to storage and back into serving line. If you don’t have good flow, you may not be able to make the operation work without losses of efficiency.
Some maximum security institutions have installed a partial wall down the front of the food line to separate inmates from servers because of the potential for intimidation. Trays are assembled on one side of the wall and handed through a window at the end of the line. This blind feeding system provides greater security in dining room feeding.
The serving line issue also involves control and speed. For some inmate dining areas, guard rails can deter inmates from walking away.
For other operations, turnstiles with counters help prevent inmates going through the line more than once. Turnstiles also provide the food director with accurate meal-served counts.
This is the second installment in a series of posts.