Correctional kitchen safety products

Bright Colors Reduce Loss

Cook's Brand Economy Spork

Cook’s Brand Economy Spork

A common issue in the correctional kitchen and any institutional operation is the loss of flatware and utensils.  It’s easy for these items to get thrown away.  They often go right into the trash when trays are cleared and if your flatware is beige or brown, staff may not even see that they’ve thrown it away.

Knowing this is a widespread problem which is both a nuisance and an unnecessary expenses, we made sure to include a bold color option in all our flatware and tumbler products in the Cook’s Brand line.  We offer a very bright orange for all our flatware, tumblers and some other items.  This can make it very obvious when the items make it into the trash can.  The color allows the item to visibly stand out, to minimize your loss.

We also have some of our trays in very bright colors for your convenience and we sell clear trash can liners so that you can see what’s getting thrown out as well as minimize the opportunity for contraband being hidden in the trash.  Our bright orange flatware products are the highest selling color in our offering.

Janet St. Clair, Customer Service Manager Cook's

Janet St. Clair

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 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

 

Kiss your Kitchen Design – Keep it Simple and Strong (part 1)

Cook's Correctional Kitchen Equipment and SuppliesThe KISS method of kitchen design is the innovation of Howard Breeden, the co-founder of Cook’s Correctional. Howard had spent a lot of time in corrections – in the kitchen, not as an inmate, gaining a first-hand understanding of the environment. He also had a culinary background. Combining his education and experience and you get KISS. The following post is an excerpt of an article that appeared in Corrections Forum in 1996, written by Howard. It’s as relevant today, as when it was written.

If you can “think like a con” when planning or renovating a correctional kitchen, you can outwit even the most ingenious inmate. Since inmates see everything as a potential weapon, they look for opportunities to collect contraband and destroy or exploit the equipment and system. The planner’s job is to prevent problems as much as it is to design an efficient feeding operation.

That’s because the presence of inmates in the correctional kitchen means no aspect of design can be taken for granted:

  • Ceiling height: Kitchen ceilings should be high enough so that an inmate cannot stand on a cart of counter and stash contraband in a ceiling panel. Or ceilings should be dry walled or fixed security ceiling panels, which are sealed surfaces.
  • Lighting: Above average light levels create the perception in an inmate’s mind that “I’m easily seen.”
  • Equipment: There should be no parts or protuberances that could be broken off and fashioned into a weapon. Easily said, but tough to make happen.

The correctional kitchen designer should focus on three key items when planning a kitchen:

  • Client goals
  • Continuous open space
  • Simple, correctional equipment.

We use the acronym KISS: Keep it simple and strong. When you start to plan to build or renovate, develop the food service goals before retaining a designer. Your consultant / designer should understand your goals before beginning the space planning and equipment layout. Discussion of the goals and the implications for cost or space may require altering the “I want it” attitude to an “I need it” realization, resulting in a more effective and efficient objective.

This is the first in a series of posts from this article.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

Innovation. Helping me to help you.

 

4S-CP Co-polymer Tray from Cook's Correctional

4S-CP Co-polymer Tray from Cook’s Correctional

Often when we are speaking with customers we will ask “Is there an item you have been looking for that you can’t find?” If the answer is yes, we frequently discover that the item does exist, but isn’t readily available to the correctional marketplace.  In situations like this we can usually locate the item through our vendor network and provide this to our customer. However, there are those moments when there really isn’t an item on the market made to do what they need.

That’s when we go back to what started Cook’s…Innovation.

630-200SS Sentry Series Spork

630-200SS Sentry Series Spork

We take our knowledge of your operation and begin to brainstorm with you about how or what can achieve your goal.  This is how many of the Cook’s Brand products have come to market.  In solving your problem, we’ve designed and manufactured a product that does what you need it to do.  If you take a look at our Cook’s Brand Catalog, you’ll see that it’s filled with products that were created from customer input; items like the 8 oz. Disher, the Full-Tang Dough Cutter and the flexible Sentry Series Spork.

However this is not the only instance that we go into our brainstorming sessions. Just recently we worked with a customer that was spending a large amount of money on disposable trays. They, like every other customer, were looking to cut costs wherever possible. So as we assessed their situation we were able to design a tray called the 4S-CP tray that would replace their disposable tray while reducing their cost and becoming friendlier to the environment. The ROI on this product is 3 months and the customer will save approximately $100,000 their first year on disposables. That’s a pretty good solution, don’t you think?

That tray is now in place at the facility and they are very happy with the results.  It took some work from all of us – as you know, implementing a change to your feeding process is a big deal no matter how small the change.  There were issues regarding the cleaning of the trays would work with their specific ware washing equipment but we worked through that issue too.  But these are the situations where we really get to do what we do well and we enjoy helping our customers to meet their goals.

Max Lecaros, National Sales Manager, Cook's

Max Lecaros

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.

New 20 Gauge Steam Table Pans from Vollrath are here!

Have you been looking for  a heavier duty steam table pan and lid?  Then look no further than your 2014 Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide!  In this year’s catalog, the new Vollrath 20 Gauge Steam Table Pan and lists made their debut on page 3 of the New Product Section.

Vollrath Super Pan 20 Gauge Steam Table Pans and Lids

Vollrath Super Pan 20 Gauge Steam Table Pans and Lids

Vollrath has introduced a 20 gauge Steam Table Pan under the Super Pan product family. This heavy-duty product is 300 series stainless steel and is the perfect choice for the correctional kitchen. Currently available in 3 sizes and 3 depth levels of 2.5”, 4” and 6”, we have a 20 gauge pan for every correctional application. What is even more exciting about these pans is the 20 gauge Solid Lids that are part of the line. A major security risk in the correctional kitchen for many years has been the steam table pan lid. The 22 gauge lids have historically been a risk because the handle

Brian Richardson

Director of Merchandising, Cook’s

could easily be snapped off and turned into a shank. Now with these innovatively designed ‘handle less’ 20 gauge transport lids, you have a very durable secure heavy-duty steam table pan and lid that will see extended life in your correctional kitchen.

Cook’s Knife Leash Kit

What happens when a knife or other sharp kitchen tool goes missing in your kitchen? If you’re like most of our customers, its lock down time until it gets found. The Knife Leash Kit was one of our first Cook’s Brand product introductions. It’s a simple, yet ingenious, tool to improve safety in your kitchen – and to reduce the time you spend searching for misplaced professional kitchen knives. Take a look at our video to see just how the knife leash kit works.