Okay, so the coronavirus has brought the world to a halt. But we’re not letting it come between our residents and their delicious and nutritious meals.
That’s why we’ve shifted from our buffet system to packaged and sanitised tray meals. It’s part of our ‘no-touch’ food facility, where every meal goes from the kitchen to the resident with zero human contact.
But the entire journey to make the meal as COVID-proof as possible is longer. Let’s take you through it.
We fix our menus 6 days in advance, depending on the residents’ preferences (are they a roti-person or a rice-lover? Do they like North Indian or South Indian? Or are they hardcore foodies who want a combo of everything?)
Into the kitchen
Once in order, the menus are sent to the kitchen staff, who get hold of the exact ingredients. Because we can’t be all set to make lemon rice for thousands of residents and then realise we don’t have any lemon. Or rice.
The next task is ensuring that all utensils, bain-maries and tables for packing the meals are sanitised the night before delivery. And the trays are kept upside down to prevent any foreign particles from falling on them.
While we source our raw ingredients from trusted sources, we still take no chances. All vegetables and other ingredients are sanitised before they’re cooked. And of course, cooking them at high temperatures further eliminates traces of the virus.
The Day of Delivery
Our packaged meals have to reach residences hot. So timing is the key.
All trays are packed precisely 25 minutes before dispatch time. That means everything, down to how many seconds it takes to pack one tray, is calculated beforehand.
Food handles wear PPE kits – hair net, face masks, goggles, gloves and apron – and work as a team. First, they heat up the bain-maries. Then they place the pans containing the food on the bain-maries to keep them hot, while they fill up trays, pack them and put them together in insulated containers.
En Route to The Residence
When it’s time, the insulated containers containing the meals are loaded onto the vehicle using trolleys. The driver then zips through traffic to reach the residence while the meals are still warm (while also wearing face masks and gloves, what an expert!).
The No-contact Serving
Upon reaching the residence, the containers are offloaded on designated tables. From here, the Resident Captains take charge. They arrange all the trays in the dining hall, where all residents line up (with 6 feet of separation) and collect their trays one by one.
(Yes, it does look like students queuing up to receive prizes from the principal on an annual day. But in the days of COVID-19, a hot, delicious and safe meal is nothing short of a reward.)
Back to The Kitchen
It’s not over with the delivery of course. The trays come back to the kitchen where they are immediately washed and sanitised so that they can be used for the next batch of meals. The show must go on.
Or you could say, the hungry residents must be fed.