Category Archives: Schools

The Future of Transport – Cambro’s Cam GoBox Insulated Carriers

Go big or go home with this new style of food transport. Cambro’s new Cam GoBox insulated carriers provide high volume foodservice operations even more support when transporting food and beverages. These carriers are made out of expanded polypropylene foam, making them ultra-lightweight while still maintaining durability, strength, and superior insulation.

Due to their significant reduction in weight, compared to traditional food and beverage carriers, and quality design, the Cambro GoBox carriers are ideal K-12 operations. Designed with comfortable handles, they’re easy and safe to lift. They’re also stackable and fit securely on a one-size-fits-all Camdolly®, making transport a breeze with easy maneuverability.

Cambro Camdolly

Cambro Camdolly for GoBox food carriers. Central Model #250-87G.

It’s foam construction not only reduces weight for ease of carrying, it also offers superior insulation, keeping hot foods hot and cold foods cold for up to 4 hours, whether your transporting product across town or across campus. This helps ensure foods remain at safe temperatures until serving. And the Cambro Thermobarrier specifically designed for Cam GoBox carriers eliminates space not in use, keeping foods hotter, or colder, for longer.

Cambro Thermobarrier

Cambro Thermobarrier for Cam GoBox carriers. Central Model #250-87B.

The Cam GoBoxes are versatile, perfect for transporting or serving chilled beverages, like milk and juice, to hot meals. Not only is the foam construction lightweight while able to hold heavy loads without losing its shape, it is also eco-friendly and 100% recyclable. The inert material also withstands grease and most chemicals. The built-in label area also keeps menu tags in place and front and center for easy content identification. Additional ID labels are available here.

Cambro ID Labels for GoBox

Cambro ID Labels for Cam GoBox carriers. Model #250-87A.

The Cam GoBox is available in front load and top load designs. Available in 17.9 qt capacity, 23.6 qt., 37.5 qt., 48.6 qt., 63.4 qt., and 90.9 qt.

About Cambro

Since 1951, Cambro Manufacturing has been creating high-quality products for the foodservice industry. The plastic manufacturing leader began their company with the goal of creating hospital meal trays of the highest quality possible. Today, they produce widely-diverse products from Food Bars, Food Trays, Shelving, Tabletop Supplies, Food Storage, Food Transport and more. Through the years and addition of products, the guiding vision of the Campbell brothers has remained unchanged–to create and provide the most innovative, durable and highest-quality products for the foodservice industry.

Central’s assortment of Cambro products is versatile and suitable for many types of foodservice needs. We stock hundreds of popular Cambro products in our warehouse with same-day shipping available.

Commercial Milk Coolers

Milk Coolers: Cold Wall vs Forced Air | Which Is Best?

Commercial Milk Coolers are generally thought of as essential in school cafeterias for young children, and they are! However, they are also very applicable for hospitals, churches, college campuses, healthcare facilities, hotels and many other foodservice establishments! Milk Coolers serve as a way to reduce labor and delivery time and additionally, the ability to easily store and serve drinks or snacks can dramatically increase sales!

Milk Coolers come in many different forms: top-access, side-access, dual-sided, cold wall and forced air. So what is the best option for your establishment? Let’s go over some major differences.

Cold Wall

Cold Wall Milk Coolers utilize a cold-wall evaporator where tubes are installed directly into interior walls of the unit. The cooling is then even spread through all walls of the unit, providing a “cold box.” This method of cooling is well-suited for tightly packed storage of product. With no internal cooling systems to take up space in the cabinet, a high volume of product in the unit is again supported through Cold Wall cooling.

Cold Wall Milk Cooler

Forced Air

Forced Air Milk Coolers are powered by a fan mounted inside of the unit. The unit worked similarly to a window air conditioner unit where the fan vents out the back of the cooler. Inside the cooler, the fans circulate air over an evaporator coil which removes the heat from the air and cools the units and contents inside.

When shopping for a forced air unit, know where the fans are located. Top mounted fans allow for fuller storage in the cabinet because the fans take up less space inside the cabinet, and also allows for better air movement.

Forced Air Milk Cooler

Ready to Shop?

Central Restaurant Products offers a wide array of options in Milk Coolers. Browse online or call one of our helpful Product Consultants to friendly assistance in your purchase at 800.215.9293!

2017 Back to School Classroom Furniture Guide

Last week, we talked about some must-have kitchen equipment for your school. This week, we’re going to shift into the classroom and talk about some of the great products that Central offers for your classroom. For additional information, check out Central’s School Homeroom page.

KI Mobile Cafeteria Table with Bench Seating

This mobile cafeteria table from KI offers a plethora of options. Choose from over 45 laminate colors! And you can mix and match laminates for your table top and bench. Large 4″ casters provide easy mobility when folded, and lift off the ground when in use.

Flash Furniture Adjustable Height Student Desk and Chair

This desk and chair set is a great combination for your classroom seating solution. Both chair and desk are height adjustable to accommodate elementary through high school students. Theoretically, a student could have the same desk all through their K-12 schooling! How cool is that? The spacious desktop allows students ample space for books, paper and other items.

Luxor LLTP18-B 18 Laptop/Chromebook Computer Charging Cart

If your school provides laptops to your students, then this next product is a must. This sleek and mobile unit is capable of charging and securing up to 18 laptops or Chromebooks. Plenty of ventilation is provided to allow air to circulate freely through the unit. Lockable doors help ensure the security and safety of laptops while they are in the cart.

National Public Seating RS3LC-02 – Riser With Carpet

Perfect for music rooms, this three-level riser from National Public Seating is a sturdy model, capable of holding over 200 lbs. per square foot. It is equipped with drop-in couplings that allow units of same or different heights to be joined together. Choose from 4 available colors.

Need Help?

Central is here if you have any questions for your school furniture needs. We can help quote out any bid or grant you are working on. Call us at 800-215-9293 or click here to chat with us live!

Top Photo via Visual Hunt

2017 Back to School Kitchen Equipment Guide

Is your school’s kitchen prepared for another year? From elementary up to universities, we rounded up a few of the most important pieces for a successful year! For additional helpful information, visit Central’s School Homeroom page.

True TMC-58 Forced Air Milk Cooler

A staple for the lunch line, keep milk cartons within reach for kids of all ages! The oversized refrigeration system provides better tasting milk and increased sales.  Plus, show your school pride with 26 color options! Trust the reliability of True products!

 

True T-49 Reach-In Refrigerator

The True T-49 reach-in refrigerator is one of the best in the industry, and has a five star rating on our website! It’s spacious 49 cubic foot interior is ideal for storing anything you need for your school’s cafeteria. With a temperature range of 33°F to 38°F, you will get the best possible food preservation and safety.

 

Metro C539 Holding and Transport Cabinet

Often times in school foodservice operations, food is prepared in advanced and has to be stored for the various lunch periods. The Metro C539 holding and transport cabinet is the perfect solution to hold food. It comes with the choice of Lexan (clear) or solid doors that are insulated to keep in heat. The adjustable digital thermostat is easy to use with recessed controls for safety. It also includes 17 slide pairs and can hold 34 full-size sheet pans.

 

Flatware Holders and Cylinders

Central has stainless steel and plastic flatware holders and cylinders, which allows flatware to dry in the vertical position.

Leaving flatware on it’s side doesn’t make for a very sanitary situation as lipids, acids and chemicals are laying on each other.

The stainless steel holders have a stainless steel construction with rubber feed for stabilization.  They’re also dishwasher safe. Plastic flatware holders and cylinders are heavy duty and long wearing.

 

Compartment Trays

Styrofoam trays cause cafeterias to throw away money on a monthly basis, plus have several negative effects to the environment too.

There many types of non-disposable trays out there constructed of a variety of materials. Read our compartment tray buying guide to see which trays excel in certain areas to find the perfect one for your foodservice. You can also look into ENERGY STAR® rated dishwashers to save on your water costs as well.

 

Need Help?

Central hand-picked all the items in our School Homeroom section of our website! Feel free to contact us at 800-215-9293 with any questions for your school foodservice needs. Working on a grant or bid? We can help with that too! We work with schools to get you the total amount or quote needed so you can finalize your application. Call or live chat with us now for details.

 

Top Image Credit: USDA

Farm to School, Food Safety, and the Benefits of a Produce Safety System

Farm to School

October is National Farm to School Month, a time that encourages reflection and appreciation of the hard work our dedicated farmers do for all of us on a daily basis. Farm to school places special emphasis on the relationship between schools and local food producers devoted to delivering fresh, healthy foods to thousands of students on a daily basis.  Organizations like the National Farm to School Network use this time to reach out to local communities, educating and advocating for strengthening these local relationships between communities and local food providers with the goal of filling every student’s tray with a healthy lunch full of local ingredients.

As the demand for locally sourced produce increases across the nation, this month also provides an opportunity to revisit proper food safety. I recently had an opportunity to sit down with Corporate Chefs Chris Gardner and Jeff White to learn more about the importance of food safety, and tactics every foodservice employee should follow to properly ensure the well-being of their hungry guests.

Food Safety

We started the conversation by establishing a basic understanding of the importance of food safety.

Every year, roughly 48 million Americans get sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from food-borne diseases. This part of why Gardner and White emphasized HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) and ServSafe as key components of everything they do because, stating that in any environment, be it a five-star restaurant or a fast-food joint, you have a much lower risk of getting sick from the food because the operators practice their guidelines.

There are food-borne illnesses and cross-contamination everywhere, and special consideration must be made for those with allergies. In these situations, cross-contamination can lead to severe illness. If you work in a school or restaurant, this could lead to lawsuits and lost business. The protocols laid forth by the HACCP and ServSafe provide expert tactics and proper protocol to avoid this.

farmers-market-fruit-standIt’s also possible to acquire a foodborne illness from particles in the earth and fertilizers that attach to the product. This is why thoroughly washing all produce is mandatory.

Local produce starts on the farm, and is transported to the manufacturer immediately after harvest. It isn’t until the stock reaches the manufacturer that proper cleansing begins. “From the field to where the manufacturing plant is, there isn’t usually a lot of wash. It’s once they get to the plant where wash cycles begin,” Chris says. This process is usually documented so by chance there was an outbreak, manufacturers can track it back to its origins in order to isolate and prevent its spread.

In today’s foodservice world, establishments and institutions are using a lot of pre-packaged foods, such as salad mix. The companies packaging these products are using HACCP guidelines for extra insurance that they will not result in a foodborne illness. However, it is still important to rinse the product thoroughly before preparing for consumption. Many of the products use chemical preservatives to extend the shelf life. While this is not necessarily a negative in and of itself, these chemicals were not meant to be ingested.

When working in institutions such as schools, and preparing daily lunches in bulk, properly cleansing products is a time-consuming task. This brings us to Duke Manufacturing’s new X-Green™ Produce Safety System.

The X-Green™ Produce Safety System

Model XGRR

Model XGRR

This produce safety system allows the user to thoroughly soak all varieties of fruits and vegetables in bulk, ensuring their proper handling while saving labor. It includes many settings, from soaking in cold water, to injecting Fit® wash solution to remove pesticides, wax, soil and bacteria.

This product enhances your HACCP program, and when combined with Fit produce wash, destroys up to 99.99% of the harmful bacteria that causes food-borne illness. It has even been tested and validated by the U.S. Navy for its effectiveness at cleaning fresh produce, as well as reducing labor.

The system offers a number of innovative features to assist in improving quality and verifying food safety compliance:

  • Automatic injection of wash agent to ensure correct pH levels
  • Programmable wash cycles, which can be custom tailored to your operation
  • Timer alarms to signal cycle completion, which allows your staff to multi-task
  • Statistical reporting and labeling for food safety compliance
  • Batch processing at high volumes, leading to reduced food deliveries and costs

The X-Green Produce Safety System is fast, efficient, easy to use, improves product quality, saves labor, and enhances food safety compliance – the number one priority for every foodservice operation. It will be available for sale on Central’s website in the near future.

If you would like more information about HACCP standards, click here.

You may also enjoy this post on ways to reduce the risk of cross-contamination, even in the busiest kitchen environments.

Prepping Your School Kitchen

It seems as if the school year is starting earlier and earlier every year, giving you less time to prep your kitchen for the next school year. Whether you will have elementary, middle school or high school students about to flood the halls, we have outlined the top equipment and supplies your school kitchen needs in order to be prepared for this school year!

 

230-034Convection Ovens

Why are convection ovens necessary? They boast faster cooking, more even cooking, better browning and energy savings! Convection oven’s versatility simplifies cooking, especially when cooking for such a large crowd! With models that roast, bake, warm and rethermalize, convection ovens will be one of your most utilized pieces of equipment in the kitchen.

 

 

515-618Steam

Steamers, as you would guess, utilize steam to cook foods! With this equipment, steam transfers heat, opposed to the pan in other methods of cooking, giving your product a more even finish. These units make it very difficult to overcook your food and even give the product a much moister dish. An additional major benefit to steam cooking is that vitamins are retained throughout the cooking process – a big deal to parents of little ones! Utilize a steamer to cook poultry, rice, breads, seafood, steaks and vegetables!

 

 

570-049Tilt Skillet Braising Pan

Tilt skillets are hardworking machines that multitask for you! Tilt skillets combine features of a skillet and a kettle so that you are able to braise, simmer, boil, cook and more! No more guessing if you will have a good match of macaroni and cheese – the tilt skillet heats evenly and give you predictable results every time.

 

 

 

692-009  Ranges

For everyday cooking, commercial ranges are a staple! Electric ranges are recommended for school applications because of their ease of use. Temperature is easy to control on electric ranges which creates a more evenly finished product. Central offers a wide variety of set ups that allows you to have a unit that has burners and a griddle!

 

 

 

670-036Dishwashers

When you are cleaning up after potentially thousands of students on a daily basis, having an appropriate level of dishwasher is essential to the cafeteria running smoothly. Properly sizing a dishwasher depends on several factors – determine what size your school needs from our dishwashers buying guide.

 

 

 

664-091_2    Floor Matting

Going hand-in-hand with your dishwasher, put safety first and ensure that you have proper floor matting!

 

 

 

Your kitchen is not complete yet! Aside from these main pieces of equipment, you will also need milk coolers, reach-ins and walk-ins, ice machines, open air merchandisers, glass door merchandisers, hot food tables and food prep supplies. Browse our School Homeroom page to see all of the top school equipment and supplies. Call one of our helpful product consultants at 1-800-215-9293 with any questions or live chat with them now!

 

Top Image Credit: Eat, Drink Better

school foodservice

School Foodservice Equipment for 2015/2016 School Year

School Foodservice: Preparing for the School Year

School foodservices! Can you believe the 2015/2016 school year is almost here? Be sure your cafeteria is prepared with the following pieces of equipment from Central to help you make it a great year!

Find all of the products below and more in the School Homeroom section of our website.

True T-49 Reach-In Refrigerator

The True T-49 reach-in refrigerator is one of the best in the industry, and has a five star rating on our website! It’s spacious 49 cubic foot interior is ideal for storing anything you need for your school’s cafeteria. With a temperature range of 33°F to 38°F, you will get the best possible food preservation and safety.

True T-49

Vulcan VC4 Convection Oven

When working in any kitchen, simplicity is key. This is how Vulcan created their VC4 convection ovens to allow school foodservice operations the ability to cook quickly and efficiently without trying to figure out all the bells and whistles that may not be necessary. Available in gas or electric, this oven uses a unique heat recovery system to recirculate air and save energy. Plus, as an added bonus, if you buy the Vulcan VC4 through Central, you will receive a free rack hanger, oven rack, two heavy duty sheet pans and a thermometer/time dual sensing probe.

Vulcan VC4

 

Metro C539 Holding and Transport Cabinet

Often times in school foodservice operations, food is prepared in advanced and has to be stored for the various lunch periods. The Metro C539 holding and transport cabinet is the perfect solution to hold food. It comes with the choice of Lexan (clear) or solid doors that are insulated to keep in heat. The adjustable digital thermostat is easy to use with recessed controls for safety. It also includes 17 slide pairs and can hold 34 full-size sheet pans.

Metro C539

Nemco Easy Chopper II

There’s no sense in spending hours prepping vegetables when a piece of equipment can provide those labor savings for you. The Nemco Easy Chopper II slices and dices within seconds to your preference of cut thickness. It has a lightweight aluminum construction with stainless steel blades that are easy to clean.

Nemco Easy Chopper

Robot Coupe R2N Food Processor

The Robot Coupe R2N is a well-known and trusted food processor in the foodservice industry and will be the perfect addition to your school foodservice. It’s great for a wide variety of tasks such as mixing, pureeing, blending and kneading. It features a pulse switch for greater user control and can prepare an amazing 850 servings in three hours or less! Also, with any purchase of this food processor through Central, you will also get a free stainless steel bowl, lid and “S” blade.

Robot Coupe R2N

Jackson TEMPSTAR Single Rack Dishwasher

Once the cooking part of the day begins to wind down, you have to clean up! The Jackson TEMPSTAR high temperature single rack dishwasher is just the machine to get the job done. It has a door actuated start for safe and easy operation with a multi-time cycle timer to adjust your needs from normal to heavy duty. It uses 0.89 gallons of water per racks and has a 58 racks per hour capacity. It also has a totally automatic 57 second cycle.

Jackson TEMPSTAR

Need Help?

Central hand-picked all the items in our School Homeroom section of our website! Feel free to contact us at 800-215-9293 with any questions for your school foodservice needs. Working on a grant or bid? We can help with that too! We work with schools to get you the total amount or quote needed so you can finalize your application. Call or live chat with us now for details.

Image at top photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY

Celebrate National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month at Your School!

June marks National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, and what better way to celebrate than incorporating delicious produce into your school’s meals? Central offers a plethora of products that make it easy for schools to handle fresh fruits and veggies for students from washing and prepping to serving and storage.

Handling Fresh Produce in Schools

The National Food Service Management Institute details their best practices for handing fresh fruits and vegetables in schools, but they are the best practices that any foodservice operation facility could use to follow proper protocol for produce.

Washing and Preparation

Inspect the produce for signs of soil or damage before prepping for further use. If you see affected areas, cut them off or just simply do not use them and avoid the risk! A sharp knife will actually increase employee and safety, and get the job done right! Vegetable brushes are also a great investment to help scrub off dirt and spots on produce.

Don’t forget to actually wash the produce under continuous running water or use a chemical disinfectant. Never soak produce or store it in standing water.

If you receive packaged produce that says it’s ready to eat, washed or pre washed, do not rewash the produce.

There are a variety of food prep appliances that can get the job done while cutting the time it takes in half. Options range from slicing, dicing, chopping or sectioning. If you want apples sectioned out in seconds, or lettuce conveniently chopped for the salad bar, these appliances will make food prep a breeze!

Fruit and Vegetable Month

Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY

Finally, it’s important to wash all the equipment, utensils and food contact surfaces that came into contact with your washed produce. Keep these things clean and sanitized for the next use. NFSMI recommends rinsing, sanitizing and air-drying each item before use.

Hand Hygiene

Proper hand washing techniques must be implied to ensure clean, fresh produce that’s safe to eat for everyone! Some might think this is a no brainer, but, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water before handling or prepping fruits and vegetables. Remember to rewash your hands after using the restroom, sneezing, coughing or handing anything that’s not produce.

Use gloves or a utensil when touching ready to eat produce – but remember, you must still wash your hands properly. If you use disposable gloves, change them anytime they could have become contaminated in between tasks. Never wash or reuse disposable gloves, and change them if they are torn or damaged.

Serving

One of the easiest ways to incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables into your school is to serve them on a cold food bar, or display them in an attractive way. This is a popular choice, but it’s important to make sure it’s a safe one, too!

Creating a pretty display is definitely worth the effort, but do not store produce in direct contact with ice or water while on a salad bar or serving line. Place fruits and veggies in a beautiful display bowl or platter and then on ice! Leave out cut produce for a maximum time of four hours, after that it needs to back into refrigeration or in containers surrounded by ice.

NSFMI details how to create a safe salad bar and self-service lines by following these tips:

  • Protect food with sneeze guards or food shields in a direct line between the food and the mouth or nose, usually 14 to 18 inches above the food.
  • Use cleaned and sanitized long-handled tongs, spoons and ladles so bare hands do not touch food and the utensils do not drop into serving pans.
  • Change utensils periodically.
  • Set up the salad bar or self-service line as close to mealtime as possible to reduce the time that produce sets out.
  • Keep cold foods at or below 41°F in a refrigeration unit or surrounded by ice
  • Monitor and document the internal temperature of self-service items every 30 minutes as with other foods on the service lines.

    Fruit and Vegetable Month

    Photo credit: USDAgov / Foter / CC BY-NDs with other foods on the service lines.

  • Clean up spills promptly. Wiping cloths should be stored in sanitizing solution and laundered daily.
  • Teach children salad bar etiquette. Assign an adult to monitor the salad bar and self-service line to make sure the customers – especially children – are not touching food with their hands, tasting food while in line, putting their heads under the sneeze guards or returning food items.
  • Clearly label all salad dressings and other containers to discourage tasting.
  • Never add freshly prepared food to food already on salad bars and self-service lines.

Storage

Always keep fresh fruit and vegetables at the right recommended temperature, whether it be refrigeration or in a dry atmosphere. Store produce in a covered container, at least six inches off the floor and above items that might cause contamination. Mark dates on when you receive the product, when it’s been cut and when to throw it out by.

Proper storage bins, cold food pans, plastic wrap and date labels will be essential for proper storage in your kitchen. Be sure you stock up!

We’ve Got What You Need

Central has everything you need to celebrate national fresh fruit and vegetable month all year long! From food prep equipment all the way to storage containers, you can find it with us. If you’re a little confused as to how to properly prep your produce or set up a suitable buffet or food bar, give one of our helpful Product Consultants a call at 800-215-9293 or chat with them live!

Featured image photo credit: USDAgov