Food safety is paramount in any foodservice facility. Here are a few key numbers that can help you keep your customers safe from the evils of hazardous food. please be aware however, every local municipality and their local codes prevail, this is only a guide.
Temperature Danger Zone
The number one rule is keep hot foods hot, and cold food cold!
Temperature danger zone is between 41°F – 140°F
Bring hazardous food through this temperature range as quickly as possible
Even when cooling food, the faster the better
Holding Hot Foods
Maintain hot food at a temperature of 140°F or above
Retherming is the process of reheating food that has been previously cooked to a safe temperature and safely cooled to a frozen or refrigerated “slacked” state of 41°F or less. All food that has been safely cooked and chilled in-house, that is being reheated from this state must reach an internal temperature of 165°F for 15 seconds within 2 hours or must be thrown out. In general, cooking times of 90 min or less are preferred to allow for a safe amount of flexible preparation and cooking time. Retherm ovens are typically found in large institutions such as school, hospitals, and prisons. Retherm ovens allow food preparation to occur off-site, catering to centralized kitchens with satellite operation that have a minimum of other expensive cooking equipment, as well as associated kitchen ventilation systems. Because retherm ovens such as the FWE RH-18, top out at a maximum temperature of 350°F, in most states these ovens are not required to be under expensive ventilation hoods.
In many respects, retherm ovens are similar in design to low temperature convection ovens. A retherm oven however, has about four times the wattage and double the air movement to increase energy transfer efficiency. Retherm efficiency is the transfer of energy from a heated cabinet to a thermal mass (food) in a fast and controlled rate. Testing determines how effective Retherming energy transfers to a thermal mass (food). By testing an empty cabinet and a loaded cabinet, we can compare the energy transfer in kW to the thermal mass (food). Retherm-energy efficiency is a measure of how much of the energy that an appliance consumes is actually delivered to the food product during the rethermalization process.
The larger the thermal mass, the more energy (kW), is needed to transfer to the mass. In the same regards, the more energy (kW) the faster the thermal mass can absorb the energy and reach desired temperatures.
In cases where food needs to be served faster than it can be cooked by a kitchen, such as when a school serves food on a lunch line, bulk food holding cabinets become a necessary piece of equipment to accomplish the job. Holding cabinets such as an FWE UHS-12 are the workhorses of the warming world and can hold bulk food hot and ready to be served for hours. Kitchens can cook large quantities of food well before it needs to be served to their customers, and place it in these FWE warming cabinets where it can stay service ready. This allows the kitchens workload to be spread out during preparations for service, freeing up the cooks and chefs time to perform other vital tasks. During service, these food warming cabinets are a place for storage of the food before it reaches the serving areas. Storing food out of the way increases the ease of workflow and helps the service area stay organized and clean.Many quick service restaurants (QSR’s) utilize similar cabinets to hold bulk food before it reaches a prep area or serving line. The cabinets on or near a serving line tend to be shorter in size and may even fit under or be built into a counter. Food in this area is ready for plating, or ready to go on top of the serving line once current food supplies are used up. As for the actual food that can be held? Well, that is as varied as the restaurants themselves. Everything from fresh warm sides such as rice, beans, and proteins that are going to fill a burrito bowl or the tortellini special that is ready for the catering pick up at 12:15pm during the lunch rush.
It’s not just about nobs and switches these days, even though some people would prefer it that way. Foodservice equipment manufacturers have brought us some pretty out of this world technology, such as dazzling touch screens that can control every aspect of a cook cycle while utilizing Wi-Fi to report live HACCP data to a headquarters for review. But who needs all of these bells and whistles, what happened to just applying temperature to food? Well depending on your operation, and the size of your company / franchise, eliminating even the smallest step from an employee or Critical Control Point can save millions of dollars at year end. Continue reading “Foodservice Equipment – Controls”
The primary advantage to an FWE cook and hold oven is the low and controlled temperatures. This technology helps dramatically reduce loss in many roasted meats. This reduction improves yields allowing for more servings thus increased revenue. As much as an additional serving or two of prime rib can be saved with one of these cook and hold ovens. This is money back into the pocket, just with a quick equipment upgrade.
To achieve this increase in yield, the food product must come up to temperature at a slower pace. A drawback that chefs face with most low-temperature cooking is the loss to the dark, crisp, caramelized outside of meat products. FWE’s engineering team have worked hard to find that perfect balance of gentle air flow, and even heat distribution, that allows for the Maillard effect to be achieved in a low-temperature environment, giving that desired flavor and texture that many chefs want.
I come from a Food Network generation that first heard of a Beef Wellington through the angry lips of the celebrity chef, Gordon Ramsay. Beef tenderloin wrapped in a puff pastry? Yes, please! However, Mr. Ramsay sure did make it known to everyone just how easy this recipe can be to mess up. Or so we thought.
I happen to like things to be easy. I like to buy a couple of fillets of beef tenderloin, a roll of puff pastry, a few shallots, and some button mushrooms and be on my way to a “fancy” dinner.
The big difference that I do, and this is nothing new, I’m not a culinary pioneer on this, but I like to wrap individual servings rather than one large sliced to order roast. Google Beef Wellington, and most of what you will see a full tenderloin presentation. Why make it more difficult than it needs to be right?