At Aircon Group we understand the importance of school meals for children’s nutrition, wellbeing and ability to learn productively at school. Therefore, we offer essential services to help schools maintain their equipment to ensure little to no disruption during a busy lunch hour.
Ross Cousin, Education Liaison Executive at Aircon Group, recently retired from teaching. While he’s now having to bring a packed lunch to work with him, he has been used to school dinners for the last twenty years.
Ross said: “My mother always said school dinners were introduced so that each child has at least one main meal a day. Recently the importance of this has been highlighted by a campaign led by the England and Manchester United footballer Marcus Rashford, worried about hungry children during school holidays.”
Schools have a set menu that runs for three weeks and for around £2.30 each day children and teachers can have a hot main meal. On a Thursday, Ross’ favourite dinner was chicken curry served with naan bread and rice, then fruit crumble and custard. However, his son always preferred panini’s and some children would go for the sandwich in a grab bag with a cold desert from the refrigerated cabinet.
Ross said: “I love school meals and know the work that goes on behind the scenes to prepare and cook up to 1200 meals and serve them in less than an hour. Where else can you get a sit-down meal for £2.30?”
At Aircon Group we know that if a cold room failed then a very large volume of food is at risk, therefore we make it our priority to get to the school quickly and find the fault. If it’s going to be a difficult fix then a refrigerated trailer could be delivered to ensure the food stock can be kept cool.
Kitchens are hot places to work! Aircon Group receives enquiries for air conditioning systems but this is not always an ideal solution for kitchens. If the air conditioning units aren’t installed in the correct place, the cool air will blow on the food and children will complain that their dinner is cold!
Ventilation units are the better option for kitchens. Ross spoke to the Design and Contracts team at Aircon Group to get their opinion: “Legal requirements, odour control, removal of grease and improved air quality.” Ross further explained, it is a legal requirement to provide ventilation in kitchens.
Odour hanging around or going to other parts of the building can be an issue. Removal of grease whilst airborne can keep the kitchen cleaner and prolong the life of the kitchen. Often customers or students will look at grease around cooking equipment and decide not to eat there!
At Aircon Group we also maintain catering equipment and recommend an annual visit. Ideally for schools, we are geared up to work during the school holidays when the catering staff have a well-earned break. We maintain ovens, fridges, freezers, cooker hoods and fryers. On all equipment the fans, seals and condensers are checked and cleaned, thermostats tested, oil and refrigerant levels checked.
Plus, hot water boiler servicing ensures that the pots can be washed effectively, surfaces are cleaned, and that the kitchen runs to the highest hygiene standards. Staff in school kitchens pride themselves with their high standards and generally are open for the students and teaching staff to see.
It is recommended that all students should have a nutritious meal part way through the day. This helps students focus on their learning for the afternoon. Some parents rely on the school meal as a way of knowing their children have a good hot meal if this is not possible at home.
For schools prevention is better than cure, Ross said: “I know the problems that faulty catering equipment can have in schools. If the catering runs slowly it leads to extended lunchtimes, bored students and an impact on teaching and learning.”
If you would like a no obligation quote for your kitchen, get in touch with Aircon Group. Give us a call on 01642 630521 (North East office) or 01709 288030 (Yorkshire office). Alternatively, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.