July 21, 2017

by Migael Scherer

Kitchen Upgrade Ready for Summer 2017 and Beyond

Lopez Center is proud to announce the completion of an upgraded kitchen that is beautiful and functional as never before. The upgrade is the result of Lopez generosity over several years, including two GiveBig fundraisers and several private donations. The sparkling facility was inaugurated at a wedding on June 24.

Improvements are striking. New stainless surfaces flank the new upright dish sanitizer, three custom washing sinks on one side, drying area on the other. A separate stainless counter provides two custom sinks for food prep. Back-to-back dish cabinets and placement of the coffeemaker near the entrance doors improve workflow. And there's the showstopper: a gleaming commercial-grade Garland stove with gas cooktop and convection oven.

Equally important are the improved plumbing and wiring, and a new water heater that delivers hot water within 15 seconds (the old system took 4 minutes).

The work was local at every possible point. Designer Jim Lombard volunteered his food-service expertise to the project. Chris Coiley did much of the carpentry and installation. Hobi Plumbing added new sinks, water heater, and drains. Lopez Electric rewired much of the kitchen. And in true Lopez fashion, hundreds of volunteer hours were involved and the old equipment sold within our community.

Of course, even good changes require adjustments. The new stove, for example, has safety features that require a specific sequence of actions to ignite; it can't be lit with a match like a residential gas stove. A quick orientation will be given to all new users. In addition, instructions for all equipment will be postedówritten in English and Spanish.

Though the new Lopez Center kitchen now has more commercial equipment, it does not meet the standards of a "commercial" production kitchen. This means that food for public consumption cannot be prepared in the kitchen; it can only be brought in, warmed, staged and served. However, food may be prepared for private, invitation-only functions.

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