Before you should even bother wondering what temperature to cook pork to, how to safely store poultry, or how to serve food in a sanitary manner, the first thing you need to do is make sure that your kitchen is clean and sterile.
Essentially, every single part of your kitchen needs to be clean enough to eat off of, because… well, every part of your kitchen is going to come into contact with raw or cooked food at one point or other.
Well, obviously you’re not going to be serving food that falls on the floor, but, nonetheless, even the floor has to be spotless and sanitary in order to run a safe kitchen. Here’s a short shopping list of everything you’ll need to keep your kitchen clean and sanitary…
Your Clean Kitchen Shopping List
- Hand towels
- Sanitizer powder
- Hand sanitizer
- Hand soap
- Ammonia based countertop cleaner
- Hand soap
- Floor cleaning solution
- Dish detergent
- Dish soap
- Steel wool
- Paper towels
- Dish scrub pads
- Latex gloves
It’s a long list, and the bigger your restaurant, the more of each item you’ll be shopping for. But, trust us, not only is it all necessary, it makes the whole process a lot easier (in other words, when you make sure you’re well stocked, you can rely more on chemical cleaners and less on elbow grease to get the job done).
For the most part, the actual cleaning process all comes down to common sense. You know how to clean a kitchen, right? Well, just do that at the end of every workday. In addition to that, however, there are a few more points to keep in mind, as well…
Clean as you go
The staff should essentially be cleaning on a consistent basis, whenever there’s a bit of a lull between orders for food. Anytime they’re not cooking, they should be wiping down a counter, doing a quick sweep or scraping off the grill.
This isn’t to say they need to go grab the mop bucket every single time they have a spare moment. Rather, keeping their work area tidy and clean should be what a cook does to keep their hands busy when there’s nothing else to do; keep a towel handy and do a quick wipe down whenever you have a chance.
When cleaning up at the end of the day, you don’t want to just sweep, mop and tidy up, rather, you need to clean the entire kitchen from top to bottom, making it sterile enough that you could safely perform open heart surgery next to the fryers.
With a full kitchen crew, this job is really a lot easier and quicker than it sounds, but regardless of the size of your staff, it’s an absolute necessity.
To briefly list what you’ll have to do to keep the kitchen clean that you don’t really have to do every single night at home…
- Clear out the refrigerators, freezers and coolers
- Scrub them all out with a clean hand towel and disinfectant
- Sweep and mop
- Scrub the floors
- Disinfect and clean all countertops
- Clean the grills and sweep out the ovens
- Wipe down all workstations
- Dispose of all food past its prime or nearing expiration
- Wash all dishes
- Clean all aprons, any uniforms kept on property etc.
- Dispose of any fast-perishing food items kept stocked at stations
Again, this comes down to the facilities in your kitchen that need to be cleaned, and the job itself will be tasked to your kitchen crew,. This can generally be accomplished in an hour or less with a tight, experienced team. After cleaning, it comes down to the manager to inspect the kitchen from top to bottom and make sure that it’s all up to code.
Cleaning out the Deep Fryer
The funny thing about the deep fryer is that you can really keep using the same oil forever and never worry about it becoming contaminated. The incredible heat of the burning hot oil will kill any pathogens that might be residing in the food itself.
But… that’s not really the point of cleaning out the fryer. Cleaning out the fryer is important because, well, the oil gets kind of gross after awhile! Technically, you can get away with changing the oil out a couple times a week, but if you actually want people to enjoy the food you’re serving, then once every two days should be fine.
There are a number of safety concerns to keep in mind when dumping the oil from the fryer. Primarily, that you should never take the oil out back until it’s cooled down to the point that you could safely stick your hand in it (but don’t use this method to test it out!). Oven mitts will allow you to carry a burning hot pan of vegetable oil, but do you really want to carry a burning hot pan of vegetable oil in the first place?
The oil should be scooped out on a regular basis. This can be accomplished by simply sifting through it with the fryer basket to remove any debris that has come loose and is floating around in the oil.
And, regardless of how old the oil is, you should always be ready to switch it out when it becomes incredibly murky and cloudy. This is not so much an issue of health as it is an issue of serving quality food.
Cleaning the restrooms
Very few restaurants keep a janitor on hand, and so, it comes down to the staff to take care of the dreaded job of cleaning the restrooms. Generally, the serving staff handles the customer restrooms while the kitchen staff handles the kitchen restrooms. However you wish to delineate these jobs, the restrooms do need to be kept clean.
Typically, the kitchen staff shouldn’t be worried about cleaning the restroom until the day has ended. You don’t really want to pull people off the line to go polish the throne before putting them right back to make salads and soups.
In any event, it’s a job that must be done at least once a day.
Tidying up the dining room
This is typically the job of the serving staff. Sweeping and mopping or vacuuming the dining room, stacking chairs, cleaning the tables, etcetera. Typically the servers will perform these duties at the end of every day when closing