Design requires a reflective process supported in two ways: technique and implementing a range of knowledge of different disciplines (gastronomy, ergonomy, production, fire protection, safety and health at work, hygiene or food safety), and creative in which are combined areas that form kitchen installations. It is necessary to analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each option and finally choose the best type of management. This task is essential to coordinate architecture, engineering, installation of machinery and process engineering. The lack of coherence between these areas will jeopardize the design of the kitchen.
It is essential to know in advance the kind of food that is going to be performed in the hospital. The design and provision of machinery will be totally different depending on whether you are working on hot or cold line. In cold line is not the same working by Gastronorm or plastic containers with heat sealed. Processes must be directed according to kitchen and equipment design.
However, when can we consider that design is hygienic?
Ultimately when chasing the topical image of a chef preparing meals around a poorly ventilated cooking block surrounded by a disordered set of facilities to be placed by modern kitchens designed and fitted out, down to the smallest detail, so that the worker can implement all hygienic measures and also be able to be comfortable in his work.
The most important considerations for hygienic design in hospitals:
1. Distribution through a plane of different areas and their equipment
Previously it is important to define a series of circuits and areas that will be the essence of kitchen’s design, not make the mistake of starting to put on the plane equipments without judgment.
As basic circuits can be considered:
-Main circuit to collect the flow of food from reception as raw materials to distribution in processed food
-Secondary circuit to workers incorporation
-Secondary circuit of washing dishes and other utensils
-Secondary circuit garbage disposal
Principles of higiene to apply to these circuits:
-Separation of clean and dirty circuits areas
-Differentiation between cold and warm environments
-Harmonic integration, easy viewing and accessibility to different areas
-Separation of products and cleaning supplies
Throughout these circuits, we will define a sketch of different zones based on manufacturing processes.
2. Calculating dimensions of different areas
The dimension is perhaps the aspect of kitchen design that will influence more the management of hygiene. Cleaning efforts must be proportionate to the available human resources.
3. Choice of materials used in walls and other structures
It is essential to have proper counselling, to which must be added the provision of careful workers who install materials and structures. It is very important to install materials that are the best suited to the activity of each area and use the most efficient cleaning systems.
4. Study of ventilation, lighting, wáter supply and sewage disposal.
Unfortunately, sometimes these issues are neglected to be perceived as irrelevant. However, this perception is wrong, as the disregard of these subjects has serious consequences for the management of the different elements of the kitchen.
The ventilation is essential to conduct a study of flows and extraction depending on the size of different zones and heating power installed in cooking area. The lighting study should include as main factors the type and characteristics of light sources, the intensities recommended calculating required luminous flux, the most suitable kind of lights, number and location. Technical Building Code normally specifies detailed information about how to design water networks and wastewater from a hygienic point of view.
5. Selection and calculation of equipment capabilities.
The applicable regulations in food safety are not very specific to reflect what equipment is best for kitchens, so we must analyze the different steps in production process, determine the most suitable hygienic measures (storage, thawing, preparation and cooling) and select the most appropriate equipment to implement them. The analysis should cover even the smallest detail necessary to establish all hygienic practices, for example, determine the number and type of toilets and provision or the type of utensils or facilities needed to avoid cross contamination.
Before buying each equipment, it is necessary to compare the features, cleaning procedure and maintenance of different models. It is not the same buying an oven with self-cleaning program than one that lacks this function. Existing approvals are focused on aspects of work and industrial safety. Fortunately, in recent years, equipment manufacturers have taken this approach by permanent improvements.
Another important aspect is the selection of equipment with sufficient capacity. This value must be understood in a broad sense to cover all activities of the kitchen. The objective is to extend this concept to other facilities.
The favourable impact on the company that has a correct design and provision should not be understood by the employer as a matter of legal compliance materials because also directly affects the psychological predisposition of workers to hygiene, through its positive effect in changing attitudes unsanitary.
By Luis Eduardo Montes Ortega
Author book “Kitchen design and management”