Cooking is just one aspect of my job. While it's my most public function, my expertize extends beyond the kitchen. As the chef, I purchase all food for the house, develop menus, plan meal production and supervise residents in the kitchen.
Last week I explained one of my most important tasks to staff at our weekly training session. I discussed the importance of food safety on the kitchen. This topic is critical because line staff supervise the resident cooks on weekends when I'm enjoying two days off.
I used a PowerPoint slide-show to present the topic. Back when I taught food safety to prison cooks, I used a four-fold approach to emphasize the importance of developing habits that prevent foodborne illnesses in large institutional kitchens.
I led the training with a review of important terms, like "potentially hazardous food" and "time-temperature abuse." I explained that potentially hazardous foods are typically moist, high in protein and are slightly acidic. These are the foods that are associated with outbreaks of foodborne illness.
I next introduced the four elements of a well-designed food safety program. Such a system establishes controls to prevent:
- Time and temperature abuse
- Poor personal hygiene
- Improper cleaning and sanitation