Restaurants of all sizes are regulated by the government to ensure that they are meeting minimum safety requirements. Your bistro is subject to spot checks where an agent will come into your bistro to watch how you and your employees work. In order to avoid hefty fines, or even being closed down, you should be running a clean and compliant kitchen every single day.
Food Delivery, Storage, Preparation and Service
The way the food is handled in your kitchen not only affects how it looks and tastes, it could make a person very ill. One of the key points in kitchen management is ensuring that at each step through your bistro’s kitchen, the food is being handling properly.
Delivery: Upon delivery, you should always be on the lookout for signs of contamination. Check that cans are not damaged and that fresh protein products like meat, fish and eggs are being transported at the right temperature. Once you sign for that delivery the food is your, potentially with a ton of unwanted bacteria.
Fresh produce also needs to be looked over carefully. Check for signs of spoilage and even insect infestations. Some of the biggest food recalls in North America have been the result of tainted fruits and vegetables. These always need to be washed thoroughly before preparation to make sure that they do not carry any harmful bacteria.
Storage: Arrange your walk-ins to keep raw proteins away from any ready to eat foods. Practice rotation so that no food goes out of date, and keep your dry goods away from any sources of water.
Preparation: The biggest problem found in preparation of food is with cross contamination. This is when the same knife is used to cut bread after it just sliced raw meat, or an employee does not wash their hands after sneezing. Make sure your employees are well schooled on all of the proper procedures needed to avoid cross contamination.
Service: This is another opportunity for cross contamination. Your wait staff should be properly trained on the service of food and the importance of not touching it, or the eating portion of the plate.
There are a number of safety items your kitchen should have to help prevent cross contamination from your cooks. One of course is latex gloves. Gloves should be worn at all times during the preparation of food, and changed often. Even though gloves are being used, cooks should be trained to wash their hands often, especially after using the bathroom, smoking and eating.
Hair nets and beard guards should also be worn by your employees in the kitchen. Even a chef who uses a beard trimmer regularly could lose a piece of chin hair into the soup. All cooks need to prevent this by covering their carefully trimmed beards and hair at all times. Even if they use something to strengthen and hold the beard in place like a balm or an oil showcased here, you can never be too careful and must take proper precautions.
Food safety is not just about avoiding stiff fines. Contaminated food can cause your bistro patrons to get sick and that is never good for your image. Avoid losing your reputation by practicing safe food handling procedures at every stop through your bistro.