The food prep challenges that commercial kitchens face today haven’t changed all that much: They want to deliver high quality, consistent products; prepare foods ahead of time for fast service; and be equipped to store prepared foods safely and compactly.
What has changed is the cost and convenience of making these things happen. Food prices are rising in 2018, which makes efficient food preparation and storage even more crucial for commercial kitchens.
Having a well-orchestrated, easy to maintain cook-chill process can help commercial kitchens overcome these challenges.
7 Benefits of Cook-Chill
The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s Food Processing Center defines cook-chill as a food preparation process involving the rapid chilling of cooked food so that it can be stored safely and reheated at a later time or date as needed. Having the ability to do cook-chill results in several benefits for commercial kitchens, commissaries and restaurants large and small:
- More consistent products. Soups, stews, sauces and even salad dressings that can be made in large batches, perhaps by the same experienced chefs, and portioned out ahead of time to help ensure quality and consistency of the product.
- Labor savings. Preparing large batches of product at central or single locations may reduce labor requirements if the product can be portioned out and distributed to other locations. Having the food prepared ahead of time and stored also ensures it’s on hand for other shifts. Having the ability to serve food made earlier or made elsewhere reduces the need to have chefs on duty at all locations or times of day.
- Convenient product storage and transport. Cook-chill bags can lay flat, allowing them to be stacked on a shelf or in a storage crate to optimize space in chillers and in transport. Using Flavorseal’s stackable, nestable cook-chill crates makes the storage and transport process even easier.
- Cook-chill products can improve food safety. Time and temperature are the watch words when it comes to food safety. Bagged food products come to food safe temperatures more quickly and evenly than products stored in tubs or pans, when the center of the pan can take much longer to cool. Sealed cook chill bags also prevent accidental cross-contamination during storage. Having food items portioned out also helps prevent cross-contamination and may keep foods fresher longer than if stored in large containers.
- Wider food variety. Cook-chill bags allow kitchens to make a variety of dishes ahead of time for easy transport and storage. This means that multiple facilities can benefit from having portions of multiple products on hand, without having to make all the recipes at all locations daily.
- Easier and faster reheating. Flavorseal’s cook-chill bags make it easier for commercial kitchens and restaurants to reheat items based on demand. Products in bags can be easily reheated by dropping the bags into boiling water or retherm units before pouring into serving vessels.
- Improved food flavors. Making soups, sauces and stews ahead of time and allowing them to be chilled overnight helps flavors to meld and develop in a way that doesn’t happen when foods are made and served the same day.
For all of these reasons, implementing a cook-chill process with cook-chill bags and the related accessories, such as chillers, storage/transport crates, heat sealers and ring stands, makes it easy for commercial kitchens and restaurants to prepare and serve consistently high quality foods fast and easily.
With Flavorseal’s system, the process centers around cook-chill bags made for easy filling with hot foods like soups, stews, sauces, chili and pureed foods like mashed potatoes.
After cooking, foods are simply poured or ladled into the cook-chill bags. Using a ring stand to hold the bags makes the filling and bag handling process easier. Excess air is removed and the filled bags are sealed with a heat sealer.
The cook-chill process results in portioned, easy-to-handle bagsof food that are easy to store or transport. The portioned bags also may keep foods fresh longer, and they make it easy to distribute a consistent product to multiple locations and serve a consistent product from one day to the next. For added convenience, using Flavorseal’s printed cook-chill bags eliminates the need for stick-on labels, allowing for foodservice workers to write directly onto the bags, identifying what’s inside, pack date, and when it needs to be discarded.
For more information about Flavorseal’s cook-chill solutions, please contact us.