“This is the _______ room.”
The line – a common one – was usually countered with a slow scan, a nod and then my imagination handled the rest. The blank, in these cases, referred to one of the many rooms in Foodlink’s new Community Kitchen. Meal Production, Value-Added Processing, Dry Storage, Expediting. So many rooms … and they all basically looked the same.
I was pleased when I walked into the Dish-washing Room during a recent tour and I saw an actual dish-washing machine. That’s not to say it wasn’t fun to imagine everything, but stainless steel equipment helps, too. Like everything in this kitchen, the machine is a beast. We’ll never know for sure, but it looks as though one of those Smart Cars might be able to fit inside.
Other improvements, such as fresh paint and ceiling tiles, also assure observers that construction is in the home stretch. Seventy percent of the flooring is also complete.
The Utility Distribution System (UDS) in the main production room is connected to the hoods. The UDS is where all equipment plugs into for access to water, electric, gas and internet. Yes, some of our more high-tech equipment will have the capability of sending data (cooking temps, etc) directly to a computer’s database.
There are other exciting pieces of equipment, such as a garbage disposal system that easily filters out food that isn’t fit for our sewer system.
In our ongoing video series, the last few interviews that I’ve conducted have all been kitchen employees. It’s easy to sense that a real excitement is starting to build amongst the staff as the kitchen takes shape and they either see improvements first-hand, or through videos and photographs.
There are no longer holes in the ground; and when you look up, you see clean ceiling tiles rather than the “guts” of a building under construction (see below). The kitchen has a clean look to it. And with the equipment moving in, it’s starting to exude an aura of functionality.
In the months ahead, we’ll be able to move in our most prized possession: Our staff.