Q: How did you go about solving that challenge?
A: For at least five years now, especially at conferences and equipment shows, I’ve been looking at any equipment that might handle the kind of volume that I need to bake a fry. We actually do about 900 servings a day of fries. When we opened up a second kitchen we began baking fries and I did have some good tips about using screens or perforated pans in the ovens. We were happy with the fries coming out but we had the bigger challenge of how were we going to make another 600 servings. That process led me to start looking especially at forced air and that type of equipment so that fries would crisp up well. That led me to problem solve with Zink and Cres Cor.
Q: How has the training been with your staff?
A: The training has been very solid. We had the advantage of a trial unit for a couple of months at the end of last school year and that was huge in perfecting the process of what we needed to do with the baking and holding of the fries. That gave my staff time to figure out the process. So, when we made the final purchase of five Cres Cors, my staff already had a good idea of how to manage it.
Q: How are the kids adjusting to the new style of French Fry?
A: I would say that it does create conversation, and a little controversy, because there is a difference from a fried fry but I also believe that as we’ve gotten better in the process the students have also begun to be more receptive and excepting of the products. And hopefully they do see the point that it is a healthier version of a fry.
Q: Having accomplished your goal of a healthier French Fry, do you feel it was worth the effort?
A: I absolutely do feel that it’s been worth it! I feel that we have a responsibility to model for students’ choices. I have to feel better about modeling a fry that is baked over one that is fried. Hopefully we will also be able to model some other choices with the emphasis on vegetables and the value that has for students’ diets.
Q: Do you feel your relationship with Zink Foodservice has been beneficial?
A: I definitely do, as I said I worked on this process for easily five years, and I was in a position where I could present the overall concern and problem solving. For about two years Zink was looking out as well for ideas on how I could problem-solve this. The trial unit gave us an opportunity, bringing in the chief from Cres Cor gave us the opportunity to make sure this was really what we wanted and we would achieve the outcomes we wanted. So, definitely the technical and the advantage to have contact with professionals in the field helped make the difference. I do think Zink was instrumental for that!