Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cook Chill Concepts

Transition Concepts from Traditional Kitchen Production to Cook Chill Production System

1.       There are several factors that should be taken into consideration when planning the implementation of a cook chill production system. Chief among these is the menu. What are the items that you will want to produce, and in what volume, and how often.  Traditionally kettle production consists of soups, sauces, stews, bean dishes, mashed potatoes, casseroles, salad dressings, puddings etc., while cook tank production is used for muscle meats, roast beef, pork ribs, pork butts, turkey breast, chicken, rice dishes, etc. So, a thorough look at what can be pulled out of traditional kitchen small batch production, and put into cook chill production, where and how these items can be utilized and integrated into the finishing kitchen for the most efficiency is key.  Recipe development should be done before the system is started up in smaller batches of 25 gallons utilizing correct ingredients. This will allow you to verify the correct viscosity and starch levels. These recipes can then be extended to the correct batch size.
2.       The next component is of course population. How many meals per day are you preparing? Is that volume likely to grow or change significantly? This will help determine equipment size. What is the realistic number of kettle turns you will get in a day? 3, 4, or 5 (5 is very ambitious). Do you need a 200 gallon kettle or will a 100 gallon kettle utilized properly allow you to reach your production goals and how many kettles do you need per site.  Do you need a tumble chiller or will a cook/chill water jet style cook tank be adequate. Is the production site producing food for more than one facility? Your production schedule will be determined by the menu cycle and frequency of producing a particular item.
3.       Additionally an understanding of the time needed to add ingredients to the kettle, reach the required level of cook time – doneness – flavor development, reach the required set point temperature to insure food safety, pump the product into casings and get it chilled is very important, as this will determine the efficiency of staff and the number of kettle turns per day you will need.  Typically you can build a recipe for soup in a 100 gallon kettle in 20 minutes, steam is a very fast medium and the surface area of product that is exposed to heat is so much greater in a kettle than even in a braising pan - cooking temperatures of 185F can be reached in 20 – 30 minutes in a full kettle.  A 100 gallon kettle can be emptied in 30 minutes as well, so in just over an hour you can have 100 gallons of product in a chill tank.
4.       A cook chill system that has 2 – 100 gallon kettles, a pump fill station and 2 water jet cook tanks, can be staffed by 2 – 3 people. This is a huge labor savings. Consider that 3 people working an 8 hour day, getting 3 kettle turns per day can produce 600 gallons of product. Add to that the production of the 2 water jet cook tanks with a capacity of 500 pounds; cooking overnight, being perfectly chilled to 33F the next morning, that’s 1000 pounds of product a day. On 5 days you have 3000 gallons of kettle production and 5000 pounds of cooked muscle meat with 3 cooks.
5.       Traceability is also an important concept to consider. This element is the essence of the HACCP program. This is where you as the operator track all ingredients from purchase and receiving all the way through your facility. At every stage the product is handled there should be documentation of several things: the container it is transferred to/from, the person handling the product, the temperature at the time. This is all to insure that a products or products are not temperature abused and that the risk of physical, chemical and biological contamination is minimized and managed. This includes requiring specific standards from vendors, such as delivering products in refrigerated vehicles, requiring that all cooler freezer products be delivered at or below a specific temperature – below 40F for cooler items, and at or below 0F for freezer items. Your dry items should be free from any evident physical damage and no compromised or open packages should be received.
In addition the use of verifiable and traceable RFID chips with transmitters to record temperatures of products held in storage.