Patent application title: Chef's Caddy
Armand Jay Mastroianni (Garden Grove, CA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65D100FI
Class name: Envelopes, wrappers, and paperboard boxes molded or pressed container
Publication date: 2012-04-05
Patent application number: 20120080514
An extremely light weight, EPS Styrofoam food carrier. The food carrier
has a cover and empty body that form a tightly enclosed container. On the
interior base side of the body imprints plurality of interconnecting
grooves extending up onto the wall, forming air circulation pathways,
allowing more uniform temperature inside the food carrier.
1. A food carrier made by molding, comprising: cover having a
peripherally raised strip; and a body having a base side and an enclosing
wall, with sufficient thickness and strength for carrying specified
amount of food, forming a housing with an aperture, wherein a plurality
of interconnecting grooves are molded on said base side inside said
housing, and said strip of the cover removably fits into the aperture,
thereby sealing the aperture and forming an enclosure, and said body
being made of expandable polystyrene Styrofoam.
2. The food carrier of claim 1, wherein said cover includes a trade name and/or logo.
3. The food carrier of claim 1, wherein said body further comprises a pair of finger groves outside said housing on said wall.
4. The food carrier of claim 1 is rectangular in shape and is capable of enclosing a full size pan.
5. The food carrier of claim 1 is in circular shape.
6. The food carrier of claim 1 is made by molding in one step.
7. The food carrier of claim 1, wherein said grooves extend sufficiently up onto the wall, forming air circulation pathways.
8. The food carrier of claim 1, wherein said cover includes a central recess area nearing said raised strip.
9. The food carrier of claim 1 has an interior temperature change of less than five Fahrenheit degrees per hour.
DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
 The present application relates to a food carrier, and more particularly to polystyrene foam molded food carrier for maintaining food temperature during transport.
 Note that the points discussed below may reflect the hindsight gained from the disclosed inventions, and are not necessarily admitted to be prior art.
 How to keep freshly cooked food temperature during transportation is a concern for many people who bring lunch to work, for restaurant business who want to deliver food to customer as freshly cooked as possible. Many styles of food carriers have been invented. Some are with complicated structures, some are for special types of food.
 For example US Patent Application US 2010/0200455 A1 discloses a carrier bag comprising a primary holder that has a secondary holder which has plurality of chambers. The carrier bag and its secondary holders are double-walled and comprise an insulating layer between the walls.
 US Patent Application US 2010/0200583 A1 describes a container having a base for supporting a pie, cake, cupcakes, or other baked goods. A collapsible cover of flexible material is configured to be attached to the base to generally enclose the carrier, protecting the baked goods for transport or storage.
 Because of the great need in keeping freshly cooked food as fresh as possible, complicated mechanisms are adopted for food transportation. For example, U.S. Pat. No. 7,716,083 B1 describes a complicated food carrier structure comprises a body having an interior compartment, an exterior and an opening, a sealing mechanism disposed around the opening; a door that covers the opening is configured to seal against said sealing means when a partial vacuum or pressure is created in the interior compartment; a passageway is configured to connect the interior and the exterior with a valve on the passageway; and a dish is configured to fit within the interior compartment. This food carrier has a goal of maintaining food temperature two hours or more.
 The preferred material for this invention is high-density hard shell, non-toxic insulating foam TEEK, a novel polyimide, non-toxic foam developed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Langley Research Center.
 However, these food carriers are expensive either in material cost or in manufacturing because generally multiple steps of manufacturing processes are required. A light weight, easy to manufacture food carrier is therefore needed.
 The present application discloses a novel food carrier for freshly cooked food storage and transportation using the highly moldable, thermal insulating extendable polystyrene (EPS) foam.
 In one embodiment, the chef's caddy is molded using EPS material, including a body and a matching removable cover having an optional imprint of the trade name of a food service business.
 In one aspect of an example embodiment, the body and the cover form a sealed compartment having plurality of chambers, between chambers are airflow grooves interconnecting and going up the sides and the top, allowing for air circulation throughout inside the compartment for more uniform temperature maintaining.
 In another aspect of an example embodiment, the body forms a pair of finger grove on the exterior sides for easy carry and moving the container.
 In another aspect of an example embodiment, the body includes tall side walls and the interior chambers are formed by shallow recessing grooves, thereby forming a spacious housing for containing quarter, third, half and full pans.
 The disclosed innovation facilitates delivery of a wide variety of food preparations including, broiled, steamed, poached, sauteed, fricasseed, grilled, BBQ, stewed, braised, and roasted. The highly light weight and easy process in manufacturing dramatically reduces the labor cost in food transportation.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 The disclosed invention will be described with reference to the accompanying drawings, which show important sample embodiments of the invention and which are incorporated in the specification hereof by reference, wherein:
 FIG. 1A shows a prospective view of the cover of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 1B shows a prospective view of the body of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 2A shows a plan view of the outside surface of the cover of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 2B shows a plan view of the inside surface of the cover of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 2C shows a front view of the side surface of the cover of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 2D shows a section view along line A of the cover of FIG. 2A.
 FIG. 3A shows a plan view of the container body of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 3B shows a section view along line B of the container body of FIG. 3A.
 FIG. 3C shows a front view of non-carry side surface of the container body of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
 FIG. 3D shows a section view along line A of the container body of FIG. 3A.
 FIG. 3E shows a front view of carry side surface of the container body of an example chef's caddy in accordance to this application.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF SAMPLE EMBODIMENTS
 The numerous innovative teachings of the present application will be described with particular reference to presently preferred embodiments (by way of example, and not of limitation). The present application describes several embodiments, and none of the statements below should be taken as limiting the claims generally.
 For simplicity and clarity of illustration, the drawing figures illustrate the general manner of construction, and description and details of well-known features and techniques may be omitted to avoid unnecessarily obscuring the invention. Additionally, elements in the drawing figures are not necessarily drawn to scale, some areas or elements may be expanded to help improve understanding of embodiments of the invention.
 The terms "first," "second," "third," "fourth," and the like in the description and the claims, if any, may be used for distinguishing between similar elements and not necessarily for describing a particular sequential or chronological order. It is to be understood that the terms so used are interchangeable. Furthermore, the terms "comprise," "include," "have," and any variations thereof, are intended to cover non-exclusive inclusions, such that a process, method, article, apparatus, or composition that comprises a list of elements is not necessarily limited to those elements, but may include other elements not expressly listed or inherent to such process, method, article, apparatus, or composition.
 It is contemplated and intended that the design apply to all sizes; for clarity reason, the examples are given based on a food carrier to contain a full pan in a restaurant, but an ordinary person in the art would know the variations to modify the design to apply to other sizes, shapes, and logos.
 Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a rigid, tough, closed-cell foam, and a good thermal insulator that has been used as food container material, such as coffee cups, fast food boxes etc. Based on scientific tests over five decades, government safety agencies have determined that polystyrene is safe for use in foodservice products. For example, polystyrene meets the stringent standards of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission/European Food Safety Authority for use in packaging to store and serve food. Also the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department recently reviewed the safety of serving various foods in polystyrene foodservice products and reached the same conclusion as the U.S. FDA.
 EPS Styrofoam is ideal for making food carrier because of its excellent thermo-insulation feature as well as light weight. It can be easily molded, making the manufacturing process simple.
 In reference to FIGS. 1A and 1B, a simple rectangular chef's caddy 100 made of EPS Styrofoam is shown. It includes two separate components, a rectangular cover 101 and a rectangular body portion 107. An optional but perhaps important feature of cover 101 is that it may have a trade name and logo 103 of a business be molded on the exterior surface.
 Body portion 107 includes side walls 109 and base 113. The sides for carrying are embodied with finger groves 111. Cover 101 may also embody matching shapes 105 to the finger groves to tightly fit with the body portion, forming a sealed compartment for carrying food.
 In reference to FIGS. 2A, 2B, 2C and 2D, an example structure of the cover is shown. On the exterior top surface, trade name 201 and its logo may be imprinted. For the interior surface of the cover, recesses on edge 203, shown as 207 in FIG. 2D, are made in either side, forming a recessed area 205 in the middle for inside air circulation. Protruding edge 207 tightly fit into the body portion, keeping air inside the caddy insulated from the exterior air, thus maintaining the temperature of any food contained.
 In reference to FIGS. 3A, 3B, 3C, 3D and 3E, an example structure of the body portion is shown. The body simply includes enclosing side walls 313 and a base 311 that are thick and strong enough to carry stack of several pans of food. The two carry sides embody finger groves 309 for holding the caddy. Depending on the designated capacity, the height of wall 313 may be adjusted in a specific design accordingly, with taller for larger capacity.
 On base 311, interconnecting grooves 301, of sufficient depth extend to the side walls as shown as 305 in FIG. 3D and connect to recess area of the top cover when the cover is disposed on the body portion. These interconnecting grooves form air circulation pathways, allowing air circulation throughout the inside for uniform inside temperature.
 This simple design can be manufactured by simple molding using liquefied EPS material in one step.
 This simple food carrier can keep food temperature loss/gain at a rate comparable or better to other, more complicated and high cost food carrier designs. For the preferred embodiment described, the temperature gain/loss is around 5 Fahrenheit degrees per hour.
 As will be recognized by those skilled in the art, the innovative concepts described in the present application can be modified and varied over a tremendous range of applications, and accordingly the scope of patented subject matter is not limited by any of the specific exemplary teachings given. It is intended to embrace all such alternatives, modifications and variations that fall within the spirit and broad scope of the appended claims.
 None of the description in the present application should be read as implying that any particular element, step, or function is an essential element which must be included in the claim scope: THE SCOPE OF PATENTED SUBJECT MATTER IS DEFINED ONLY BY THE ALLOWED CLAIMS. Moreover, none of these claims are intended to invoke paragraph six of 35 USC section 112 unless the exact words "means for" are followed by a participle.
 The claims as filed are intended to be as comprehensive as possible, and NO subject matter is intentionally relinquished, dedicated, or abandoned.
Patent applications in all subclasses MOLDED OR PRESSED CONTAINER