Cooking for a large number of people is challenging as it requires that the chef ensures all elements are in place. In the kitchens of The Akshaya Patra Foundation, it’s an everyday operation that runs like clockwork.
The Foundation, an NGO in Bangalore, which runs the school lunch programme for children across 12 states in the country, now serves hot lunches to over 1.6 million school children every day. It supplies freshly-cooked food from 34 kitchens and is scaling up with every passing day. The food prepared here is distributed in 13,800+ schools.
Akshaya Patra’s established systems and process have been dealing with an emergent situation with ease.
Quality Assurance during procurement
The Supplier Quality Management System (SQMS) process covers subprocesses like supplier selection, supplier qualification, supplier rating, etc., to ensure the right and best raw materials are procured. One can sponsor a child to ensure a needy child is part of the system.
Storage and Handling
Fresh vegetables are procured on a daily basis. Cold storage is used to store ready-to-cook cut vegetables to retain freshness. Rice is supplied by the Food Corporation of India.
Quality and Safety during cooking
All kitchens of Akshaya Patra follow a standard process. This process is charted out to ensure hygiene and quality. Personal hygiene and Food Safety training are provided regularly to the kitchen staff to ensure hygiene standards are met.
Food Packing and Transportation
The distribution staff picks the food from kitchens and delivers it at various schools around the kitchen. They travel by delivery vans fitted with a honeycomb structure to prevent food from spilling. The vehicles are also insulated to maintain the temperature of the cooked meals. The vans are also equipped with GPS, which makes it easy to monitor the van and ensure the food reaches the school on time.
The large centralized kitchens, on an average, have the capacity to cook up to 2,00,000 meals. For running such large scale operation, one can donate to charity to be part of the operations.