Foodservice Equipment & Supplies

AUG 2018

Foodservice Equipment & Supplies magazines is an industry resource connecting foodservice operators, equipment and supplies manufacturers and dealers, and facility design consultants.

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40 • FOODSERVICE EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES • AUGUST 2018 functional by design Produce Prep Stations By Dana Tanyeri S liced, diced, shredded, spiralized, juiced — no matter how foodser- vice operators use or serve it, fresh produce keeps growing its presence on the plate. Trends like plant-forward menus, farm-to-table concepts, vegan and vegetarian diets, clean eating, and whole foods continue to flourish. And that means more produce coming in the back door — cases and cases of it, all needing to be kept cool, trimmed, washed, drained, processed, prepped and stored again before service. Designing well-equipped kitchen stations to handle nature's bounty starts with think- ing about just that type of linear flow. The first critical step is refrigeration. For best quality, shelf life and food safety, produce must spend as little time as possible outside of refrigeration. "When we look at vegetable prep, or produce prep in general, we always try to position a walk-in cooler as close as pos- sible to the receiving doors, and the prep station, in turn, as close as possible to the cooler," says Chris Wair, design principal at Indianapolis-based Reitano Design Group. "It might seem obvious, but it's amazing how many times we see kitchens set up where people really haven't thought that through. And when that's the case, you very often see cases of produce being stacked and left out for extended periods before being put away." As farm-to-table and local sourcing trends become more mainstream, many operators need to rethink their produce receiving areas in addition to prep stations, both of which require more space. Products arriving in bulk from smaller farms, for instance, which may not have sophisticated washing and packing capa- bilities, could arrive with a lot of dirt in flimsy, conventional boxes. Having a washing/cleaning/storing station near the receiving area can be important for dealing with such products and getting them into refrigeration as quickly and cleanly as possible. With greater awareness of produce- related food safety issues and rising pres- sure to control costs, many operators get the "keep it cool" message and plan their facilities to make it easier to accomplish this. For example, one large noncommer- cial foodservice operator recently inquired

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