Busy hospital kitchen designed around multi-functional, space-saving cooking appliance

Calderstones pushes flexibility to the maximum with FRIMA VarioCooking Center

Peter Gardner, catering manager at Calderstones, with the new FRIMA VarioCooking Center

Calderstones Hospital near Clitheroe has a new central production kitchen that prepares around 450 meals per day for residents, staff and visitors.

the Trust is a specialist facility supporting people with learning disabilities from a forensic background. Since the majority of patients live on site, often in secure environments, the quality of food, and the environment in which it is eaten, are essential.

At the heart of the operation is a new FRIMA VarioCooking Center.

“We built the main kitchen around the FRIMA,” said Peter Gardner, catering manager at Calderstones.

Cooking consistency is vital in the NHS and to our service users in particular because many of them rely on our kitchens for all their meals

“We do everything in it - casseroles, stocks, soups, sauces, pasta, fried and griddled foods, puddings, plus special diets. Without it we’d be goosed. We bought it because of its flexibility– and we push its flexibility to the maximum.”

The FRIMA also speeds up the cooking process, so that the team can prepare a large volume of meals in a short space of time.

“All the meals are cooked with fresh ingredients, so they have great nutritional value. Once cooked, we chill them down to serve the next day. This is a vast site, so the meals are transported to our three finishing kitchens for service,” said Gardner.

“The FRIMA’s pressure cooking facility is brilliant. We can prepare 200 portions of beef casserole, 200 portions of mash potato and 200 portions of rice pudding in two hours. Cleaning between processes takes just a few minutes and is easy, and there’s no flavour transfer.”

The FRIMA generates all this food from a small footprint.

Gardner said: “It’s very streamlined, there’s no wasted space, and yet the pan has a big capacity. It’s also designed to be easily accessible for cleaning – our EHO thinks it’s a super piece of kit.

“Cooking consistency is vital in the NHS and to our service users in particular because many of them rely on our kitchens for all their meals. The FRIMA’s cooking programmes help to deliver that consistency. We have 14 chefs, but with the FRIMA they can all produce exactly the same beef casserole, at the touch of a button. We’ve tweaked the programme to suit our needs and the results are absolutely spot on, every time.”

The cooking programmes use the FRIMA’s food probe, which logs the data for HACCP.

Sustainability is also a key issue for Calderstones.

“We use an electric van to distribute the food around the site and we have induction in the finishing kitchens. The FRIMA’s energy efficiency fits in well with our ethos,” said Gardner.

It’s very streamlined, there’s no wasted space, and yet the pan has a big capacity. It’s also designed to be easily accessible for cleaning – our EHO thinks it’s a super piece of kit

The FRIMA unit at Calderstones is a VarioCooking Center Multificiency 211+, with a 100 litre capacity pan. The pan cooking surface is 650sq cm. The unit measures 1157mm (w) x 914mm (d) x 1100mm (h).

The speed of cooking is down to FRIMA’s VarioBoost system, which heats the VarioCooking Center pan to 200°C in just over two minutes. The special FrimaTherm contact layer means heat is transferred quickly and uniformly all over the base of the pan, without heating the sides, and its precise temperature control means there is no scorching or sticking. VarioBoost makes the VarioCooking Center Multificiency up to 96% efficient at heat transfer – making it even more efficient than an induction hob.

The 211 can replace kettles, tilting pans, bratt pans, fryers and griddles, saving 30%-or-more space in the kitchen. Plus, it’s up to four times as fast, and saves up to 40% in energy compared to conventional appliances.

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