Introducing The Rhino Cart

I want to introduce you to our latest Cook’s Brand product:  The Rhino Cart

  • The Rhino Cart is an extremely durable, one-piece insulated tray delivery cart.
  • Made from FDA approved high impact polyethylene and fully insulated for strength and superior heat retention.
  • The Rhino Cart is only 29 ¾” Deep so it fits through narrow 30” doorways – going where many other carts can’t go.
  • Rugged molded-in hinge pin doors open 260o giving you unobstructed access to the interior for easy loading, unloading and cleaning.
  • Quick delivery time of approximately 2-weeks from order date (excludes shipping time).

But while a picture is worth a thousand words – a video is even better! Take a look at our Rhino Cart demonstration video featuring Jeff Breeden, CEO of Cook’s.

How to Select an Insulated Tray

When it’s time to select an insulated tray for your facility, there are three critical components that must be considered:

What’s your Menu?

How do you serve your inmates?

And how do you transport your meals?

The first step is to analyze your menu and determine the appropriate tray layout. Tray configurations can range from 3-6 compartments depending on your menu requirements (6 being the most popular). It is best to begin by analyzing your meal schedule for a month. From there, determine what is the highest number of items you serve in one meal and that will tell you how many compartments you’ll want to get in your tray. The final consideration is your flatware and condiments, there are trays with flatware compartments(check out the Gorilla Tray or Marathon Tray)  and tray’s without them (see the Gator Tray or Grizzly Tray).

Next, you need to determine how your meals are served. If you serve in a cook/chill or re-therm environment we recommend that you research trays with a wide temperature range, like the Cook’s Flex Trays–best for high security environments. With the cook/serve method, first determine if you have a cafeteria style environment or you transport to a pod. Depending on your situation, you need to consider tray stacking and ways to avoid overflow.

Finally, the tray you choose is influenced by a wide variety of elements-from what you serve to how you serve it. You can transport your trays in an open or closed tray delivery cart (see Cook’s Brand Carts). It is critical you keep temperature around 180 degrees so you can deliver and serve at a minimum temperature of 140 degrees.

Cook’s has an extremely deep assortment of insulated trays to meet all of your correctional serving needs, for more information visit the Tray Buying Guide or check out the wide selection of trays available at cookscorrectional.com.

Holidays mean baking! Understand your baking pans.

Loaf Pans from Carlisle

Loaf Pans from Carlisle

To meet the various needs of your food service operation, you’ll find baking pans in a wide variety of shapes, sizes and materials.  When you’re choosing a pan, be it a loaf pan, muffin pan or sheet pan it’s good to see what the market says about those pans or to see what you are using currently that you prefer to cook with in your operation. The different materials, thickness and design of the pan will impact your final product – and you don’t want to end up with foods that stick to your pans or are burnt on the edges and not fully cooked in the center.

Following is a break down of options you’ll find in baking pans:

Popular brands: Carlisle, FSE, Focus Foodservice, Vollrath, Economy

Types of pans:  Bread Pans or Loaf Pans, Cake Pans, Cupcake Pans or Muffin Pans, Pie Pans, Hot Dog Pans, Sheet Pans, Springform Pans, Hamburger Bun Pans

Baking Pan Sizes: Varies on application.  The size of baking pans depends greatly on its type.  Loaf pans range from around 6 x 3 inches to 12 x 4 inches.  Cupcake pans or muffin pans accommodate 24 3-1/2 oz cupcakes and cake pans are available up to 18 x 24 inches.  Sheet pans come in full (18  x 24 inches), half (13 x 18 inches) and quarter (9 x 13 inches) sizes.  These will accommodate many different types of baked goods.

Materials: Stainless Steel, Steel, Tin-plated, Aluminum.  Baking pans are generally made from aluminum or stainless steel. Aluminum is a better conductor of heat and less expensive than stainless steel is and it will promote more even baking, however, it is reactive to acidic foods so this can give food a metallic flavor which will not happen with stainless steel.  Aluminized steel baking pans, which are steel that is coated with aluminum-silicon alloy, are the most common./

Finish:  Non-stick or Natural.  Some baking pans have non-stick surfaces while others retain their natural, uncoated surfaces.  The obvious benefit to a non-stick pan is that foods are easily removed from the pan and edges stay intact.  Often these pans are darker in color and require an adjustment in the baking temperature and time.  The finish is often up to the preference of the chef.

All types of baking pans can be found on Cook’s Correctional in the baking pan category.

 

CCP – Critical Control Point

In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes minimum internal temperatures for cooked foods.

FSE Precision Digital Thermometer

FSE Precision Digital Thermometer

It is important to remember that these values can be superseded by state or local health code requirements, but they cannot be below the FDA limits.  Temperatures should be measured with a probe thermometer in the thickest part of the meats, or the center of other dishes, avoiding bones and container sides.  Minimum internal temperatures are set as follows:

165 degrees F (74 degrees C) for 15 seconds:

  • Poultry (such as whole or ground chicken, turkey, or duck)
  • Stuffing
  • Stuffed meats, fish, poultry and pasta
  • Any previously cooked foods that are reheated from a temperature below 135 degrees F (57 degrees C), provided they have been refrigerated or warm less than 2 hours
  • Any potentially hazardous foods cooked in a microwave, such as poultry, meat, fish or eggs

155 degrees F (68 degrees C) for 15 seconds

  • Ground meats (such as beef or pork)
  • Injected meats (such as flavor-injected roasts or brined hams)
  • Ground or minced fish
  • Eggs that will be held for a length of time before eaten

145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 15 seconds

  • Steaks and chops such as beef, pork, veal and lamb
  • Fish
  • Eggs cooked for immediate service

145 degrees F (63 degrees C) for 4 minutes

  • Roasts (can be cooked to lower temperatures for increased lengths of time)

135 degrees F (57 degrees C) for 15 seconds

  • Cooked fruits or vegetables that will be held for a length of time before eaten
  • Any commercially processed, ready-to-eat foods that will be held for a length of time before eaten.

In addition, hot food must be held at a minimum internal temperature of 135 degrees F (57 degrees C) if it is not immediately consumed.  The temperature must be checked every 4 hours or else labeled with a discard time.  Although monitored hot food can be held indefinitely in this way without a food safety concern, the nutritional value, flavor and quality can suffer over long periods.

You can find more helpful cooking information in the resource section of the Cook’s Correctional Buyers Guide which is available for viewing on CooksCorrectional.com.

 

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!

Hints for Tray Assembly Lines

400_Cooks_GC100

Cook’s Correctional Tray Assembly Line

Pre-portioning meals on insulated trays for delivery to pods or units is efficient and economical.  Yet it’s amazing how many tray assembly operations end up inefficient because of the order of foods on the line.  Hot foods should go on trays last, not first.  Start with room temperature foods like bread and rolls, and next add cold foods.  Last, add the hot portions.

Ideally, cold food should be kept below 40 degrees F and hot food above 165 degrees F.  Minimize the distance a worker has to move food from well to tray.  Be sure to keep the conveyor line moving fast enough to keep workers busy with no time for mischief.

Here are some easy to follow guidelines for your conveyor line set-up:

  • Allow 30” per worker for adequate shoulder space.
  • Using 16” wide hot and cold steam tables keeps workers close to the conveyor
  • Pitch the conveyor line ¼” per 1’0” from the head of the line to the end.
  • Cover hot food after portioning as quickly as possible to keep heat in or store trays in a heated cabinet.
  • Since cold trays chill hot food fast, keep trays in a warm tray washing or other area.
  • Always strap together for transport to retain temperature.

When planning your line, use this guide to steam table pan portion capacities:

  • 2 ½” D Full Size Pan:  9 Quarts = (72) 4 oz. portions
  • 2 ½” D Half Size Pan: 4 Quarts = (32) 4 oz. portions
  • 4” D Full Size Pan:  15 Quarts = (120) 4 oz. portions
  • 4” D Half Size Pan: 7 Quarts = (56) 4 oz. portions
  • 6” D Full Size Pan:  22 Quarts = (176) 4 oz. portions
  • 6” D Half Size Pan: 10 Quarts = (80) 4 oz. portions

If you’re looking for additional capacity guides you can go to the resource section at the back of the Correctional Buyers Guide (click here to view the catalog online).  You can also contact your Cook’s Correctional Sales Representative for any help you may need with

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

What to look for in a flight type dishmachine

Flight Type Dishmachine

Flight Type Dishmachine

By far, the most common dishmachines that we quote and sell into correctional facilities are Flight Type machines.  These machines typically are going into larger facilities, but they also make sense in corrections because of the continuous use and they work well for washing insulated trays. Our last two posts have been dishmachines focusing on what questions we ask to assess our customers needs and then more about the specifics of the machine before installation.  This post addresses our Flight Type Checklist; to help us understand the details specific to purchasing and installing a flight type machine:

1.  Job Type:  New Construction or Replacement

2.  Direction of Operation:  Right to Left or Left to Right

3.  Overall length of Dishwasher:

  • Load:  5′, 7′ or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Center:  4′ or 8′
  • Unload:  5′, 7′, 9′, 11′, or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Height:  Standard or 6″ higher than Standard
  • Conveyor:   BB with Duraflex Fingers, Special for Insulated Trays or Other (consult with Factory)
  • Doors:  Hinged; verify clearance in front of machine (standard), Other – consult with Factory (fully height or split door) and verify ceiling height
  • Drain:  Load End or Unload End
  • Voltage:  208/60/3, 240/60/3, or 480/60/3

4.  Flowing Steam Pressure:  8 – 20 lbs psi, 21 – 50 lbs psi, below 8 lbs psi (consult with factory)

5. Tank Heat:  Electric, Steam Coils, Steam Injectors

6. Booster Heater

  • No Booster
  • Electric
    • 24kw requires 140 degree incoming water
    • 39kw requires 110 degree incoming water
  • Steam
    • 180
    • 150

7.  Blower Dryer:

  • Electric
  • Steam
    • 8 – 20 lbs psi
    • 21 – 50 lbs psi

Consult the factory on the following:

  • Circuit Breakers
  • Prison Package
  • Non-foodservice Application

 

The purchase of a Flight Type dishmachine, whether it is a replacement of an existing machine or a new installation, is one of the more complex kitchen equipment decisions.   Your layout plays a critical role as does the amount of space you have available for loading and unloading, scraping, and then tray drying.  We can assist you in as you review all that’s involved in this type of decision or with any other correctional kitchen equipment decision.  We hope that you find this Flight Type Dishmachine checklist helpful.  If you’re looking to do any work in your kitchen this year or simply making budget plans for next year, be sure to give us a call.  We can assist with quotes and cut sheets as well as recommendations for various manufacturers and equipment options.  While we don’t show any flight type machines on Cook’s Correctional, we have lots of experience working with Hobart, Insinger and more.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

 

 

 

 

The Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Installation Checklist

Hobart AM15VL Ventless "Door-Type" Dishwasher

Hobart Door-type Dishwasher AM15VL

In follow-up to our last post, I want to introduce to you our Dishmachine Installation Checklist.  This checklist is designed to help our sales representatives ask the questions needed to ensure our customers have a smooth, trouble-free Dishmachine Installation.  At Cook’s Correctional, we are continually working to improve the expertise of all our staff, and sales and customer service in particular since they are directly in communication with you, our customer.  While much simpler than the Dishmachine Checklist from our last post, the Installation Checklist is no less important.  This checklist is designed to understand the scope of work involved in the installation, to ask questions that will help uncover potential problems in the installation before they occur and to identify the resources that you’ll want to have on hand as the installation takes place.  If you are considering a purchase of a new dishmachine or in need of replacing your old machine, we suggest that you review the Dishmachine Checklist from our previous post and the checklist below.  Thinking through the process before you buy will help you to get the best product to meet your needs and to have a worry-free installation when the time comes:

Resources to have contact information for in case of questions/problems:

  • Factory:
  • Factory Representative:
  • Local Rep Group:
  • Cook’s Correctional Contact:

Scope of Work:

  • Will we remove the old equipment?
  • Are we delivering to the site or to the installers warehouse?
  • Does the machine need to be uncrated by the installers or will maintenance do it?
  • Does it need to be moved to its final destination?
  • Does it need to be set in place?
  • Does it need to be bolted down?
  • Verify the location of the utilities; water, gas, electric, steam?
  • Who will make the final connections?
  • Disposal?
  • Does the end-user have any additional information about the site/job?

Other Questions to Ask:

  • Is this a new placement or a 1 for 1 replacement?
  • Are the utilities within 3 feet of the machine?  if not they will need to be relocated for the installation.
  • What are the delivery requirements for this project?
  • Will the kitchen still be serving during this transition?  what accommodations need to be made? (for instance – disposable trays for a day)
  • Will there be a menu change for a day?
  • What clearance (security) requirements are needed for on site installation and delivery crews?
  • Is there adequate room to move the equipment? as well as remove old equipment?
  • What time can the work be done?
  • Will on staff maintenance be involved in the project?
  • What is the expected timeline?
  • Any other client expectations that need to be identified up front?

Our goal at Cook’s Correctional with your dishmachine installation, as well as any installation of Kitchen Equipment, is to be an expert for you and to guide you through the process.  We want to remove the unexpected and to make the process as painless as possible.  Replacing equipment can be very difficult for corrections because you’re serving three times a day, seven days a week without a break.    If you’re looking to do any work in your kitchen, be sure to give your sales rep a call and let us show you how we can help.

We’re happy to share this Dishmachine Installation checklist with you and hope you find it helpful.  Our next post will be specific to Flight Type dishmachines, commonly found in correctional facilities, with specific questions that you should ask prior to considering the purchase and installation of a flight type dishmachine.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

The Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Checklist

Champion 86-PW E-Series Dishwasher with Prewash

Champion 86-PW E-Series Dishwasher

Training is a big part of our culture at Cook’s.  We recently launched our Training the Trainer program where senior sales staff is tasked with training the rest of the team the kitchen equipment used in the correctional kitchen.  Unlike traditional product training though, these sessions are about real world experiences in corrections – not how a product operates or what makes one machine different from another.

Our most recent training session, led by Ron Davenport; Midwest Territory Manager, focused on what questions to ask when your customer needs a dishmachine.  We finished with a great discussion on installations that didn’t go as planned, why it happened and how to avoid them.   Because we have the experience of installing lots of dishmachines each year – we get pretty good at knowing where the pitfalls exist and what questions to ask in order to avoid a difficult installation.

In training, Ron shared the Cook’s Correctional Dishmachine Checklist – this is a list of questions that help us to help you.  While most of our customers start a discussion with the goal of replacing what they have, it can benefit you to talk with your sales rep to be sure that what you have is the best fit for your needs.  Next time you’re considering a dishmachine purchase, take a few minutes and answer these questions.  It will help you to help your sales rep make sure that you get a machine that will be the best fit for your facility.

  1. How many inmates?
  2. What is the tray type?
  3. Job type?
    • New construction
    • Replacement (need manufacturer, model and serial number)
  4. Direction of the operation (soiled to clean)?
    • Left to right
    • Right to left
  5. Height?
    • Standard (chamber height:  18”H)
    • 6” higher than Standard (chamber clearance 24”H)
    • Verify what is the largest ware to be processed (i.e. mixing bowls, stock pots, sheet pans, etc.)
  6. Voltage
    • 208/60/3
    • 240/60/3
    • 480/60/3
    • Other
  7. Tank Heat
    • High temp / low tem
    • Electric
    • Gas (specify natural or LP)
    • Steam Coils (flowing steam pressure____)
    • Steam injectors (requires clean/potable steam)
  8. Booster Heater
    • Included with the machine
    • Purchase separately
    • Keeping existing booster heater
  9. Incoming water temperature? (water needs to be 180 degrees to sanitize)
    • 15K for 40 degree temperature rise
    • 30K for 70 degree temperature rise (recommended)
  10. Do they want a Blower Dryer
    • Electric
  11. Options / Accessories:
    • Stainless steel vent “hoods”
    • Table limit switch
    • Single point electrical connection (saves money on installation)
  12. Tables
    • New Soiled Table
    • New Clean Table
    • Re-use existing tables
  13. Scrapping:
    • Is there a scrapping station
    • Is the disposer part of the soiled table
  14. Security Package
    • Do they need this?
    • What’s included by the manufacturer
  15. Utility Overview
    • Electrical (or gas/steam)
      • Voltage
      • Amps
    • Incoming water temperature?
    • Drains, what are the various sizes
    • Duct work needed?

As you can see, there are quite a few considerations with a dishmachine that come into play.  Each question is designed to help us to ensure that you get the right machine for the job and that installation goes smoothly.   If you found this helpful check back in with our blog; Cooking in Corrections, to see our Dishmachine Installation ‘Work Sheet’ and then our Flight Type Checklist.   And if you are in the market for any piece of equipment for your correctional kitchen, give us a call and let our expertise work for you.

Marketing Manager, Cook's

Candace Meneou

New hope for damaged steam table pans!

CaterSeal Steam Table Pan Gasket

CaterSeal Steam Table Pan Gasket

If you are tired of damaged steam table pan lids raise your hand!

If you are tired of noisy pans rattling as you transport them through the kitchen Raise your hand!

If you are tired of your portion utensils falling into your pans of food, one more time, Raise your hand! 

We are pleased to introduce you to the new CaterSeal Food Pan Gasket!  New to Cook’s Correctional, the CaterSeal Food Pan gasket is here to help and solve this problem for you.  Just wrap the CaterSeal gasket around your steam table pan and lid and your operation has improved instantly.  No more mess from spillage and easier clean up in your foodservice operation.  You’ll also improve the efficiency of your serving line because the gasket is a barrier to steam escaping from the gaps between pan and well. 

You can now put your hands down, no more rattling, denting, spilling or noisy pans!

Brian Richardson

Brian Richardson