Proper food preparation

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest

Before you can cook your menu, you have to prep the ingredients. Larger restaurants have entire crews devoted to nothing but showing up hours before everyone else to prepare food for later in the day.

The more safety sensitive points of this part of the job include…

Thawing food

At home, we often get impatient and throw a frozen steak in the microwave. Sure it makes the meat kind of gross looking, lukewarm and half cooked, but gosh darn it, we’re hungry now! Well, in a restaurant, you have to be a little more professional than that.

Here we introduce you, dear reader, to the concept of the “Danger Zone”, a concept we will return to more than once in the remainder of this text.

The Danger Zone is the range between 41°F and 140°F. In this range, bacteria, such as salmonella and E. coli, will thrive and multiply, increasing the odds of your loyal customer contracting food borne illness and, if you’re lucky, refusing to eat at your restaurant ever again, and if you’re not so lucky, hitting you with a lawsuit.

These harmful bacteria have trouble surviving and multiplying at temperatures below 40°F, and will typically die when subjected to temperatures of 165°F or hotter, and have trouble multiplying at temperatures of 140°F.

Therefore, rather than, say, leaving a pound of frozen hamburger out on the counter, food should always be thawed by means of an ice bath- Fill a bucket, tub or sink with ice and cold water, and submerge the item-to-be-thawed in the water. It’s slower, but it’s safer, and better preserves the taste of the food.

In other words, you never want your meat, poultry or chicken to be lukewarm.

Cutting, cleaning and portioning food

You’ve probably seen advertised those weird citrus based food cleaners that come in spray bottles. They’re not exactly necessary…

What is necessary, however, is the cleansing of all vegetables and fruit, whether or not the package boasts of these items coming “pre-washed”. Sure, maybe your lettuce is pre-washed, but it just spent a couple days packed in the back of a truck driving hundreds of miles of freeway.

Use cold water, gloved hands and clean surfaces to wash and prepare all fruit and vegetables. Essentially, you get, say, a stalk of celery or a piece of broccoli, run it under the tap, and use your hands to rub away any dirt, grime or other questionable spots.

When cutting fruit and vegetables, just make sure that your cutting tools and surfaces are spotlessly clean, keeping a sanitary hand towel handy to wipe down whatever needs to be wiped down.

The same goes for cutting and portioning all meats, fish and poultry (though of course, you can safely skip the washing process).

Pre-cooking items

Just because a pre-cooked item will be re-heated later on in the day does not mean that you can do a skimpy job of it in the morning.

Refer to chapter 6 for the full process of properly cooking foods, but essentially- Hot food must always be cooked out of the danger zone to at least an internal temperature of 165°F, whether or not it’s going to be cooked again later in the day.

Food that is to be refrigerated and reheated before serving should be left aside for a moment until it cools down to just above room temperature before placing it in the fridge or freezer. This preserves the flavor and texture prevents people from reaching into the fridge with their bare hands expecting a burning hot plate to be cold.

Food that is to be kept warm throughout the day, such as soups and sauces, must be consistently kept at or above one hundred forty degrees.

Alternately, all pre-prepared items that are to be served cold, such as deserts, must be likewise kept out of the Danger Zone, below forty degrees Fahrenheit. Essentially, the same rules apply to pre-cooking as they do to cooking before serving.

Mark the Dates

Oftentimes, the prep crew will prepare food on Monday for use throughout the week. In such cases, you’ll want to mark the day the food was prepared somewhere on the container. M for Monday, T for Tuesday, etcetera, either with a marker or a sticker. This will allow the crew to know when the food was prepared and how long they can expect it to remain edible.

And of course, for this to pay off, you’ll need everyone who handles the food to know how long the food should be expected to keep. In fact, this is part of the prep crew’s job in the first place- In the morning, they will be tasked with the disposal of any food that is past its prime or nearing expiration.

Being Ready for the Working Day

The prep crew can essentially be compared to the pit crew of a racing team. You need a qualified and efficient prep crew in order to make sure that you can keep the cooks working at their best, turning out orders fast enough to feed the hungry customers without having anyone coming up to the counter in a huff demanding to know where their food is.

And… like a racing team pit crew, the prep crew should be provided with all of the right tools and training in order to do their job well. This will allow them to keep the cooks preparing food that is not only delicious, but healthy and hygienic.

When you are a Kitchen pro you understand that Health is the whole story.

Order Now and get a

Free E-Book Bonus!

More Posts:

Pineapple-Shrimp Stuffed Avocados

These delicious pineapple-stuffed avocados are perfect as a healthy lunch entree or a light dinner - especially on those warm summer days when you don’t want to spend much time

Refreshing Mixed Berry Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Fresh seasonal berries and mint give this vibrant salad a refreshing burst of flavor. The addition of raspberries to the homemade vinaigrette lends some natural sweetness to this Whole30-compliant dish.

Tri-Color Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

These colorful roasted potatoes pack a ton of flavor into every bite thanks to the winning combination of fresh rosemary paired with garlic and sautéed onions. What’s more, they really

Mustard Pork Loin with Thyme-Roasted Carrots

Eating naturally sweet foods like carrots and sweet potatoes is a great way to keep your sweet tooth at bay. Roasting these vegetables brings out their natural sugars and makes

Marinated Flank Steak with Chimichurri Sauce

Chimichurri is a classic sauce from Argentina traditionally served with different types of grilled meat. For the best flavor, prepare the Chimichurri sauce and marinate the flank steaks the night

Lemon and Dill Salmon with Herb Salad

Salmon is packed with omega 3 fatty acids that serve double-duty for your body: They promote proper brain function and they’re great for your hair and skin. If you need

Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps

This recipe features all the wonderful flavor found in traditional Buffalo wings - with none of the guilt! As an added bonus, this satisfying one-pan meal comes together in less

Balsamic Glazed Chicken Drumsticks

These tasty Whole30-compliant chicken drumsticks get a touch of sweetness from the coconut aminos in the marinade. Prep time: 10 minutes + time to marinate Cook time: 50-55 minutes Serves:

Healthy Cooking is a Must for Families

When it comes to cooking healthy meals for our families, there is always some degree of dissention among the ranks. The good news is that there are recipes that are

Cooking Classes for the Masses

Whether you are a seasoned pro when it comes to the fine art of cooking or an utter novice there should be some cooking classes or resources in your area

Cooking for Crowds Shouldn’t be a Frightening Proposition

Most people balk at the idea of cooking for large crowds of people. With images of huge stockpots boiling over and becoming chained to a hot stove and oven for

Cooking for Little Ones

Cooking for toddlers and growing children presents some unique challenges along the way. While you want to provide them with those ever so important nutrients, it is often difficult to

Cooking for One

It is often frustrating to attempt to plan meals that are designed for one. Despite this fact, we are seeing more and more recipe books and Internet websites that are

Cooking for Special Occasions

We all have those moments in our lives when we feel as if everything needs to be exactly right. It is these moments that we often refer to as special

Cooking for Sunday Dinner

From as far back as I can remember there have been special church occasions when dinner on the church grounds was the order for the day. Far too many times

Cooking for Two

Whether you are cooking for two out of a sense of romance or necessity you will find that there are many resources online and off when it comes to finding

Cooking On the Grill

Summertime is rapidly approaching. This means it is time to begin preparing meals without heating the house whenever possible. If you haven’t considered the value of cooking on the grill

Cooking with Children

I am fairly certain that most of us have either seen or at the very least heard of the hit situation comedy “Married with Children” that dominated television for quite

Gluten Free Cooking

When it comes to cooking, there are many dietary restrictions that will be encountered along the way. One restriction that is gaining some degree of notoriety in recent years is

Gourmet Cooking for Pleasure

Gourmet cooking is a style of food preparation that deals with the finest and freshest possible ingredients. This means that to enjoy authentic gourmet food you must prepare your food

Italian Cooking in American Kitchens

Most of us have found some sort of Italian cuisine that has become a favorite for our families and ourselves. Unfortunately, far too many of us discount the possibility of

Low Carb Cooking

Around the world people are paying more attention to their bodies and their health than perhaps at any other time in history. One method that has shown great success in

Microwave Cooking is the Wave of the Future

When it comes to cooking there are few tools that are more versatile in the kitchen than the microwave. This device offers so many functions when it comes to cooking

Once a Month Cooking

If you are like most moms around the world, there never seems to be enough time or energy at the end of most days to prepare the nice home cooked

Pleasure Cooking

Far too often we get caught up in the necessity of cooking in order to eat and forget the absolute joy that can be found through the act of cooking.

Quick and Easy Lunches for the Cooking Challenged

Let’s face it, cooking is not a top priority in the lives of every man, woman, or child on the planet. In fact, far too people have made learning to

Southern Cooking Brings Soul to Food

I was born and raised in the heart of the Deep South. From as far back as I can remember I remember long summer afternoons spent drinking iced tea and

The Wonderful Tools of Cooking

Far too often people overlook the importance of using the proper tools when cooking fine meals. While there is nothing in the world that can quite compare to cooking with

A clean kitchen is a healthy kitchen

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

Proper food preparation

Before you can cook your menu, you have to prep the ingredients. Larger restaurants have entire crews devoted to nothing but showing up hours before everyone else to prepare food

Chicken on the Bottom- Properly Storing Food

Poultry must always, always, always be stored on the bottom of the fridge. Everything else you’ll find in this chapter is important, but not quite as important as this. Because

Properly Handling Food & Cooking Methods

This will be a short chapter as, truthfully, there’s not much to say on the subject of simply moving food from point A to point B. However, you should, nevertheless,

Personal Hygiene for Kitchen Staff

Nobody wants to be tasked with reminding the new head chef to apply a little extra deodorant in the mornings, but personal hygiene is important in a cooking environment. It

Kitchen safety

Beyond making sure your customers remain safe and healthy, you’ll also want to make sure your employees are safe and healthy. This is actually quite relevant to preparing and serving

Barbequing: An American Tradition

No matter if it is the 4th of July, or just another day in the summer, chances are someone in your area is barbequing. Barbequing has become a standard American

BBQ – Grill Maintenance Tips

When you are purchasing your BBQ grill, consider of it as an investment rather then just another thing for your outdoor entertainment. You should expect it to be a large

Healthy and Safe Food – SCIENCE LESSON

Let’s stop and think about what food is for a moment. Food is organic material, coming from either plants, animals, or fungus. Meat comes from a slaughtered animal that has

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Be the first to get all News & Discounts

Share this post with your friends

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin