Fundamentally the Cook:Chill process is the latest evolution in food preservation, following earlier techniques such as fermenting, pickling, curing and even canning.
Essentially, the Cook:Chill process is the preparation of food that allows for it to be rapidly cooled following cooking. The food can then be reheated at a later date. The process has 4 main stages:
The process is predominantly designed to allow for cooking in larger than normal quantities (or batch cooking), depending on your operation and is relatively easy to implement within an existing business. Food is prepared and cooked following all normal HACCP legislation and regulations. Once cooked the product is then transferred into some form of Reduced Oxygen Packaging (ROP), sealed, and placed into either a blast chiller or blast freezer. The critical element of the Cook:Chill process is to reduce the product temperature as quickly as possible. UK guidelines state that for blast chilling product it should take no more than 90 minutes to get from +90°C to +3°C and to blast freezing should take no longer than 240 minutes to get down to -18°C. This part of the process is to eliminate harmful bacterial formation or growth. Further information can be accessed through our post on Blast Chilling/Freezing.
There are many other benefits to the Cook:Chill process such as, increased product shelf life, uniformed product/meal quality, batch splitting and even reduced ‘on site’ cooking times and labour costs. Hotel, pub, restaurant chains operate this type of model on a daily basis to quite a large extent whereby the majority of the meals are cooked in a central industrial kitchen and shipped out to their different sites for regeneration. However, the process can be scaled for all different types of food service businesses from wedding caterers to takeaway restaurants and even for those who want to safeguard their secret recipes.
Cook:Chill specialise in the design and implementation of this process, from manual and mechanical preparation equipment, to prime cooking and ROP packaging equipment, to blast and holding refrigeration. As part of the Cook:Chill service, we will attend site offering unbiased advice to assist in the specification of the correct solution for your business and budget. Contact one of the Team below for further details.