Month: June 2014

Without a filter change, you’re water filtration system isn’t working.

Dirty water filters.

Filters after various levels of use.

Do you ever think about how much water consumption you have in your operation?  Dishmachines, ice machines, coffee brewers, kettles, steamers…they all require water for operation.  And the quality of your water not only affects the product but it affects the efficiency of the equipment.

All water contains minerals that can make it hard.  Calcium and magnesium are the main culprits.  Lime scale deposits, formed by these two minerals can clog pipes, reducing flow and coat heating elements, requiring more energy to heat water.  When our customers let us know that they have water issues, we will steer them toward a water filtration system.  There’s several brands; Everpure, Watts, Ice-O-Matic, Hoshizaki just to name a few.  Not only will a water filtration system reduce lime scale deposits, it will also filter out chemicals, like chlorine, minerals and small particles found in many water supplies with the potential to cause valve failure and plugged nozzles.  By using a water filter system, particles, as well as chlorine, will be reduced and likely extend the life of your equipment.

But, just because you’ve got a system in place, doesn’t mean you’re finished.  The system can only help you if you stay up with filter maintenance.  The filter cartridges are designed to remove contaminants and particles from the water.  The cartridges will eventually plug as this material is removed.  When filters get plugged up, it means that they are working.  In order for your filtration system to continue to working, the filters need to be replace periodically.

The frequency of changes depends upon your water quality and usage.  For example, if you have a high level of particles in your water they you will have to change your filters more than a location with little or no particles. Here are a few guide lines for filter changes:

Prefilter – the prefilter (coarse) cartridge should be changed when it becomes dirty to within 1/8″ of the core.

Submicron Cartridges – cartridges should be changed at the first occurrence of any of the following:

  • the gallon rating stated on the label
  • every 12 months
  • the pressure gauge needle of the filter system falls in the red zone while your equipment is calling for water.

A simple rule of thumb is to replace your filters whenever you notice a decline in the performance, whether it is a drop in flow rate and/or pressure or an unusual taste in the water.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

 

Little know fact about Sharp Microwaves

Sharp R-21LCF Microwave

Sharp R-21LCF Microwave

As you might imagine, we sell a lot of microwaves.  They go in the kitchen, the commissary and the ODR.  We have been aligned with various brands of microwaves over the years, from Amana to Panasonic to Sharp, which is the brand we recommend most now – for one simple reason:

It’s the only warranty left in corrections and the obvious brand to buy!

As you can imagine, microwaves can take some harsh abuse in correctional kitchen or seg unit.  In the past year, we have seen key players in the microwave category; like Amana and Panasonic, remove their warranties for the correctional kitchen environment.  Cook’s looked in the mirror and made a decision.  We have to sell Sharp microwaves to our correctional customers.  Sharp is the last microwave manufacturer that still warranties their microwave for the correctional foodservice application.

If your microwave breaks, call Cook’s and we will fix the problem for you.  At Cook’s Correctional, we keep most of the Sharp microwaves in stock, so if you order we can ship your new microwave out to you in less than 24 hours.  You can find all the different models of Sharp microwaves that we sell online here at our Cook’s Correctional Sharp Microwave page.

Brian Richardson

Director of Merchandising, Cook’s

New high security mop buckets from Geerpres

Geerpres 511 High Security Combo Mop Bucket

Geerpres 511 Mop Bucket

As a specialty foodservice equipment and supply distributor that focuses on the correctional market, we are continually looking for products that offer security features with the goal of incorporating them into the Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide and our website – so they are easily accessible to you.    When we came across the Champ 35 Qt mop bucket from Geerpress we were impressed with the design and production quality and added it into the 2014 catalog.

Testing has proven that the Geerpres Champ 35 Qt mop bucket is the best choice for high security areas.  It is the smoothest, cleanest, most stable plastic bucket in its class to hit the floor.  The Champ bucket is incredibly stable with casters positioned outside the bucket rim and extremely durable with unique double-wall design. The smooth, one-piece plastic design promotes better sanitation.  And without any easily removable parts in the heavy-duty ultra wringer, this mop bucket is perfect for use in corrections.

You can find the Geerpres High Security Mop Bucket at Cook’s Correctional in under Floor Cleaning Supplies in the Janitorial category on Cook’s Correctional.

Claudia Santangelo, Product Merchant

Claudia Santangelo

  

Keep it Simple and Strong (part 5 in a series)

Heavy-duty Globe Whip made just for Corrections

Heavy-duty Globe Whip made by Cook’s just for Corrections

Specification and selection of appropriate equipment is the third key to good correctional kitchen design.  While some standard institutional equipment can be used in corrections, the details must not inspire exploitation.  Handles should be welded on, not screwed.  Stainless steel equipment should be specified as 14-gauge heavy-duty steel.  Coolers should have bar locks, and walk-in coolers should have an interior escape mechanism.  Knives and other implements should be stored on shadow boards in a lockable 14-gauge steel cabinet.

Storage cabinets should have strong locks with hasps, bars, or other secure devices.  In many cases it is advisable to have separate locked storage within the storage area for high contraband items like spices, coffee and sugar.  Since manufacturers have discovered the correctional market, many new products designed specifically for jails and prisons are now available.  There are many new systems on the shelf awaiting the right application.

A word to the wise, however – a thorough evaluation, with a cautious eye, should always be used when evaluating options presented to you from different manufacturers.  One quick way to analyze a system or piece of equipment is this:  When an explanation of how it works and what benefit it delivers takes longer than a minute, ask if the system is too complex or too fragile for inmate use and probable abuse.  When you build and renovate a kitchen, remember the KISS dictum:  keep it simple and strong.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

Keep it Simple and Strong (part 4 in a series)

BR inmage kitchenWhether you’re using a dining room system or insulated tray service, there’s only one efficient shape for the correctional foodservice work area and that’s rectangular.  Alcoves, hallways, and other possible hiding places must be designed out.  The old style of many small rooms is dangerous as well as inefficient.  For institutions with populations exceeding 2,000 inmates, however, multiple work areas in multiple rooms may be necessary.

Good design with unobstructed sight lines can keep labor costs down.  And, good design with no visual obstructions generally equates to fewer security risks and better inmate behavior.  This will result in lower maintenance cost and less equipment replacement.  Hiding places should be eliminated.  Any place where a #10 can could be hidden is a spot for brewing hootch.  Favorite places are behind large rotating ovens, between free-standing equipment and walls, and in other similar spaces.

Even experienced designers can unwittingly cause security problems by creating visual barriers.  While typical institutional kitchen designs include a ceiling-high wall behind cooking banks of ranges, ovens and kettles, a partial or half wall will improve visibility in the correctional kitchen.  Food service management and security offices must have complete visibility of the entire kitchen, dining room, receiving and storage entry areas.  Any necessary tall equipment should be located against exterior walls of the space.

Inmate break areas must be visible to security officers without requiring a walk around corners or past walls.  Office space for the kitchen manager should offer full views of all inmate work areas and provide lockable space for records and civilian personal belongs.

The selection and specification of appropriate equipment is the third key to good correctional kitchen design.  We’ll cover more on that in our next post.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

Keep it Simple and Strong (Part 3 in a Series)

Meal Serving in CorrectionsIn the last post, the concept of ‘flow’ as it relates to your kitchen design was covered.  The importance of thinking through your process and reviewing how your kitchen layout will either direct your flow or impede your operation should be done during the design process so that you can create an efficient and safe design.

Options like a blind feeding system, guard rails and turnstiles direct the flow of meal serving and they also help speed people through the process.  This is especially helpful when you need to feed two to three groups in an hour. An efficient system depends on the security level of inmates to be fed, the number of people who come through, the amount of time for feeding and the method of service delivery.

Each of the three variations of correctional kitchen design is based on delivery system and menus.  In prisons, dining rooms are the most common, while in jails, thermal insulated trays are the most popular.  In the past few years, cook-chill has also become an alternative.

The cook-chill system has proven effective in multi-site feeding where bulk rethremalization is used.  The alternate delivery system for cook-chill is the rethremalization of individual trays.  Each type of system directly affects costs.  The least expensive is generally feeding in a dining room, while thermal trays are a close second.  However, selecting a system must be based on local conditions.  There is no “right” system.

The key to controlling food costs in correctional feeding is controlling both raw food product and portions.  Accurate portioning onto a tray in a dining room or onto a tray in the kitchen can make the different in meeting – or busting – the budget.

There is no one right system, each has pluses and minuses.  Dining rooms require more space than tray feeding in cells, while cook-chill kitchens require more refrigerated storage space.  Insulated tray service requires added space for tray drying (when using a dishwasher) and tray assembly.

Whatever the system chosen, there’s only one efficient shape for the work area — rectangular.  More about that in our next segment.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou