Shenfield-based distributor PHCC has completed a project to outfit a purpose-made central production kitchen for a group of nurseries.
In what is said to be an industry first for the nurseries sector, the dealer was selected by newly-created company The Professional Kitchen to create the facility in Basildon, Essex.
This will serve 24 nursery schools in and around the Essex and London areas with lunches, 5 days a week.
PHCC MD Steve Hammond commented: “We were able to produce a really efficient plan and produce drawings for the M&E contractor for services and the builder so that they could start their work. After that we worked with the client to decide operational needs, food production capacity requirement, staffing levels and legislation.
“From those elements we then started to think about equipment and its performance levels. We chose the Ali Group brand Baron Kitchens for professionals and in conjunction with Roger Flanagan of Baron supplier Universal Foodservice Equipment, the detailing began to take shape to eventually at a point a final design and specification was achieved.”
An extensive set of 17 coldrooms was built by British manufacturer Williams Refrigeration so that food is moved around the building with no danger of cross contamination.
This comprised four receiving coldrooms – one for high risk foods, one for vegetables, one for frozen and one for low risk produce. The four rooms lead into three coldroom prep areas, a salad and vegetable prep room, a general prep room (which becomes an allergen-free room once per week), and a high risk prep room, for food such as sandwiches. All have UV steriliser cabinets for utensils such as knives removing the risk of cross-contamination. Once prepped, the food is then placed into storage coldrooms. Even the connecting corridor is refrigerated and the hard-wearing resin floor throughout the facility helps maintain hygiene.
Williams also supplied a WMBC240C Williams blast chiller freezer.
Hammond detailed: “The idea is to supply customers with chilled food for 5 days. However, we also supply 1 day’s worth of frozen meals as an emergency backup – so if there is an issue, for example with transport, then the nursery would still be able to feed their children.”
PHCC chose Shelfspan to provide storage solutions for the facility, including Eko Fit shelving for the coldrooms, Eclipse chrome shelves for the linen and laundry dry store, heavy duty rivet racking for the bulk storage area, as well as nestable roll cage trolleys for stock transportation.
Warewashing was supplied by Winterhalter in the form of its UF utensil washer, which can wash up to 64 racks per hour, depending on the wash programme.
The Professional Kitchen is already preparing 1,000 meals a day – and interest is such that the figure is likely to rise to 2,500 or more per day soon.