Cleaning and Sanitation - The Chef's Cooking School

Cleaning and Sanitation

5 Areas of sanitation/healthy food handling practices:

Note from the Chef:

Sanitation at home is no less important than in a restaurant.

Many times it is more difficult because you have no one to hold you accountable, such as the board of health or board of agriculture.Whenever you prepare food for someone you are managing the growth of bacteria that may be responsible for food borne illness.

If you stick to these principles you will be taking steps to preventing food borne illness for those you are preparing food for.

Germs and Bacteria are everywhere. The goal in the kitchen is to work in a controlled environment where germs and bacteria are minimized. The following are some steps that will assist you in minimizing germs and bacteria.

5 Areas of Sanitation or healthy food handling practices

1. Clean as you go - As you work in the kitchen you will wash,chop, peel, handle raw meat, etc. All of these processes leave debris. Peels, and particles could be kept in a bowl until you have time to discard them. You should wipe surfaces down when you change ingredients. This is more important when handling raw meats, then it is between produce items. Fill your dish pan with water and try and wash some pots as you go it will make cleanup easier at the end and you will probably need something you have used already.

2. You're work station - You want to start by washing down your counter/work surfaces. Then dry them with a paper towel or clean cloth. You may wipe the same surfaces with a sanitize wipe or solution. You want to keep your work surface free from crowding, chemicals, and things that would interfere with knife work or that may incidentally get into the food.

3. Working with Food - Keep a separation between your raw meats, and raw produce. This is especially important when you are working with items that will be consumed raw. (Salad,Celery sticks, Carrot sticks) What you will want to do is work with vegetables first, then meats, vs. cooked. If you can't do this then clean the area down, as you did when you set up your work station above. The HACCP, (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point, is a food industry standard to aid in protecting foods) description below is an important part of sanitation. 

4. After you've cooked - Bacteria grows the most between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (the Temperature Danger zone). What you should be aiming at is getting the temperature of you're food down to 70 degrees in 2 hours then in another 4 hours down to 40 degrees or below. The total process encompasses 6 hours. One way to achieve this is to divide your product into smaller quantities, or putting a pot in the sink surrounded by ice water, stirring frequently. Do not put large quantities of hot food into your fridge at one time, it will raise the temperature of your refrigerator exposing anything in it to unsafe temperatures.

5. Receiving and storage of foods - Mostly common sense, dealing with a grocer you have in good faith that they aren't receiving food products that have been tainted or exposed to dangerous bacteria or hazards. When you shop you should be looking for fruits and vegetables that are not bruised or damaged, meats and seafood that are fresh and do not have a foul older. These will be covered in more detail in All About You're Food.  Bags of rice and flour that are not ripped, and cans that are not bulging or dented. When storing you should keep cooked or raw vegetables above raw, uncooked meats at all times. Generally try and keep dry goods in just that a dry area, room temperature to 50 degrees is an acceptable temperature. Always keep chemicals and cleaning products away from foods.