Cook’s – Company News

Welcome to Made for Corrections Monday

We’ve been in corrections for over 20 years, and so have many of our customers. It’s always interesting; maybe even amusing, when someone who isn’t in the industry finds out that you specialize in correctional foodservice. The first question is often something like – how is that a specialty? I like to respond with the obvious”picture yourself in a confined area with several inmates using very sharp knives.” It is fun to watch the dawning of awareness in their eyes and then the questions about how you address the unique challenges of the correctional kitchen begin; like sharp knives and inmates to start.

That’s what Made for Corrections Mondays is all about. This new series will introduce you to a variety of correctional foodservice kitchen equipment and supplies and highlight how they are Made for Corrections.

In these videos Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s, will demonstrate kitchen products that help solve a challenge that is unique to corrections. Usually these product will help you improve security and safety or they are made to outlast inmate abuse. But some items have very specific backstories, like a spork that is designed to be flushed down a toilet and not cause an overflow. All of the videos are quick and informative.

We’re glad to have you join us for Made for Corrections Mondays. And if you have a product suggestion, question or a challenge in your facility that you need help solving, send an email to cmeneou@cooksdirect.com or give us a call at 1-800-956-5571. Thanks for watching and be sure to come back next week for another edition of Made for Corrections Monday.

On the road again….

Cook's Correctional ACA 2019 Summer Conference in Boston, MA Booth #1112

The Cook’s team is in Boston, MA this week at the 2019 ACA Summer Conference to showcase many of our most popular products and to meet customers and contacts that made their way to the east coast for the conference. The American Correctional Association has two large conferences a year; the winter conference held in early January each year and the summer conference in August. This year the conference is at Boston’s John B Haynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center.

If you too are on the road for the ACA Summer Conference, stop by and see us in booth #1112. You can meet Linda and Craig who are pictured above in out booth, along with Chadd, John and Jeff. You can also the Rhino M-102 meal delivery cart designed specifically for corrections, our new Raised Compartment Marathon Tray and our popular Flex products and Kettle Tools.

We’re a Social Organization

Did you know that Cook’s Correctional is on social media?  We are on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter.  We are also on Pinterest, although we aren’t very active at the moment, and we have a YouTube channel.  That’s where we keep our Cook’s Brand product demo videos and other educational videos.

If you’re active any of these social media sites, take a moment and check us out.  Here are the links to find us:

We share industry news, interesting posts from our customers or our vendors as well as promotions, product information and company updates.  Take a look and if the posts are of interest why not hit the follow button?

Happy Thanksgiving from Cook’s!

from all of us at Cook's!

from all of us at Cook’s!

All of us at Cook’s would like to take this opportunity to say Thank You for your business!  We know that without you, we wouldn’t be here.  To get you in the holiday spirit and help you wow your fellow guests with Thanksgiving trivia, here are ten fun facts about the holiday:

  1. The first Thanksgiving celebration lasted for three days!
  2. The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621.  He invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast
  3. Thanksgiving holidays were once commonly celebrated around the time the Pilgrims came to America in 1620.  It was not unusual in England and many parts of Europe to frequently set aside days of giving thanks to God.
  4. 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.  To feed all those hungry people, there are about 280 million turkeys sold annually, which is nearly 7 billion pounds of turkey!
  5. Cranberries are another Thanksgiving favorite and nearly 20% of all cranberries consumed in the US each year are eaten on Thanksgiving Day.
  6. Thanksgiving came into being a holiday under President Lincoln, although Sarah Joespha Hale, best known as the author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb”, lobbied for 20 years to five different presidents, numerous governors, congressmen and media sources.  Lincoln decided on the last Thursday of November as a national Thanksgiving holiday.
  7. Thanksgiving was moved up a week by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 & 1941 to extend the Christmas shopping season – but several states didn’t go along with the move.  Congress stepped in to unify the holiday and in October of 1941 set the date for the 4th Thursday of November where it is now.
  8. Starting in 1947, the National Turkey Federation has presented a live turkey along with two dressed turkeys to the President.  The President then ‘pardons’ the live turkey to live out its life on a historical farm.
  9. The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began in the 1920’s.
  10. Americans aren’t the only ones celebrating Thanksgiving, our neighbors to the north do too. Canada celebrates on the second Monday in October.

Wishing you a Safe and Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Cook’s Correctional Kitchen Equipment and Supplies!

Meet me in St. Louis!

The 2014 Annual International Conference for the Association of Correctional Food Service Affiliates is going on right now in St. Louis.  Here’s a picture of the opening reception (courtesy of the ACFSA):

2014 Opening Reception at the 2014 ACFSA Conference

2014 Opening Reception at the 2014 ACFSA Conference

If you would like to see pictures from the show as they are posted – you can go to the ACFSA’s Facebook page (click here:  ACFSA Facebook Page).  You can also learn more about the show itself at http://www.acfsa.org.

We’re excited this year to be participating in a panel discussion that was held on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. called  From Idea to Reality:  the Story of a New Product.  The panel discussion features Jeff Breeden, Cook’s Correctional, Cathy O’Shia, New Age Industrial and Mark Easterday, Star Manufacturing in an open forum to discuss how new products are developed and come to market in response to the operational challenges faced by our customers.

We hope it’s a great show!

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

The new Correctional Buyers Guide is out!

Cook's Correctional Buyers GuideWe recently mailed the 2014 Correctional Buyers Guide for August and if you’re on our mailing list, you can be looking for that in your mailbox!  We publish our Buyers Guide three times a year – and in this version you’ll find mid-year product introductions and updates.

Some of the exciting new products that you’ll find in this catalog include the new Cook’s Brand 16 oz. Correctional Tumblers and the

Cook's Brand 16 oz Tumblers

Cook’s Brand 16 oz Tumblers

Cook’s Brand Reusable Meal Tray.  The tumblers are a new addition to our popular Cook’s Brand tumbler line and have all the features that you’re accustomed to in these products.   Available in Orange Copolymer or Clear or Transparent Blue Polycarbonate, these tumblers have a thick-wall construction to provide durability in the correctional environment.  They are textured to minimize surface scratches and designed for easy stacking and separation.  The Reusable Meal Tray was designed specifically to replace disposable Styrofoam trays for a positive environmental impact and a significant cost reduction in operations that utilize disposable trays for meal delivery.

We’ve also introduced the Caterseal Food Pan Gasket, which is a rubber gasket in sizes to fit half or full size steam table pans.  This rubber gasket fits around the edge of your steam table pan providing a tight seal between the well and the pan surface.  This also allows for staff to more easily remove the pans from the steam table.  And this gasket works with bent and dented pans.

There’s more to see in the catalog too.  We continue to strive to put together a collection of products that are appropriate for the correctional kitchen which includes heavy-duty equipment, smallwares and supplies designed to withstand the day-in day-out abuse of the jail and prison kitchen as well as cost-effective alternative commodity products as alternatives to higher priced brand names.   You can view the new 2014 catalog at http://www.cookscorrectional.com by clicking here:  2014 Correctional Buyers Guide.  If you would like a copy of the catalog mailed to you, please give us a call at 1-800-956-5571 or send an email to customerservice@cookscorrectional.com.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

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