Cook and chill food production is a system to process food by cooking and then rapidly chilling it. The purpose of the cook and chill method is to safely preserve food for subsequent consumption that may or may not involve reheating.
The advantages of cook and chill food production are:
- The product shelf life is extended, since it can be preserved after cooking for several days without losing quality or consistency
- Food product safety is increased, since the rapid passage from cooking to chilling temperature prevents the growth of bacteria and pathogens
- Kitchen productivity is increased, because workflow is more standardized and better organized
What kind of kitchen gets the most from cook and chill food production? Let’s have a look
Cook and chill food production: which industries use it?
Originally, cook and chill food production was confined to the Catering Industry because they needed to standardize food production and delay consumption after preparation and cooking.
As technology evolved, other industries also began to adopt Cook and Chill food production, the main ones involving high productivity kitchens: care homes, schools, hospitals, institutional caterers.
Nowadays, cooking styles are continuously evolving; being able to cook and blast chill food, especially with high technology appliances that save time and energy, has become in itself a feature in cooking, finding its way to restaurant kitchens: cook and chill food production can be applied to almost all the cooking techniques available, and blast chilling can be a requirement for food safety in some food preparation (e.g. for raw fish); therefore, Cook and Chill appliances can now be found in high-end restaurants.
What to look at when deciding to adopt cook and chill food production
Cook and chill food production is for your restaurant if:
Your recipes involve preparations that have to be handled in compliance with food safety regulations (raw fish, raw meat); in this case a blast chiller is often the best solution and paves the way for a full cook and chill food production process.
You have a central kitchen serving multiple locations. This applies to most catering and community situations but it can also be a feature of restaurants with more than one location and a single kitchen.
Your kitchen workflow is labor-intensive: in some cases, labor can be reduced by standardizing and prioritizing operations, and executing most of them before serving the food.
The preparation of your dishes takes a long time (i.e. Sous Vide), so it is better, or to prepare them in batches to be served later.
Cook and chill food production: one feature for the appliances
Cook and chill food production involves breaking down different moments in the kitchen workflow. Given that operations are carefully designed, connected kitchen appliances are the most important feature to keep track of operations and reduce hazards, errors and waste.