How to prevent bacteria in the kitchen is an issue that concerns every cook, whether at home or in a commercial kitchen. Bacteria have become infamous for causing food spoilage and sicknesses, but they’re not all bad. There are millions of species of bacteria, and though some of them can cause illness, and even death, others are used in the cosmetic, biotechnology, high tech, environmental, and petroleum industries for various purposes. Yogurt, cheese, wine, beer, and many other foods, could not be prepared without the help of specific types of bacteria. In a commercial kitchen, however, restaurant staff should create a restaurant kitchen cleaning checklist to prevent the spread and growth of unwanted and damaging bacteria.
Strategies for How to Prevent Bacteria
Microbial growth usually slows in cold temperatures. Therefore, keeping foods in refrigerators and freezers can help slow the spoilage process. Most chefs know that it is not recommended to refreeze thawed food, especially meats, poultry, and fish. Though this piece of advice helps prevent texture deterioration, the main reason for not refreezing thawed foods is that when food is defrosted, bacteria on it and in it are given good conditions to grow, with a food source and comfortable temperatures. If the food is then refrozen and re-thawed, those bacteria that grew the first time around are given a chance to multiply, increasing the bacterial count in the food, and increasing the chances of spoilage and harmful side effects or sickness as a result of eating the food.
Bacteria in food can spread to surfaces that come into contact with it, including cutting boards, knives, workers’ hands, and counters. Therefore, keeping the restaurant kitchen clean and organized is of the utmost importance. Commercial kitchen appliances and all kitchen equipment should be washed frequently with hot, soapy water. Restaurant staff should frequently wash their hands with warm water and soap, especially after handling raw ingredients and before handling cooked or ready to serve foods. Some bacteria, when faced with tough conditions such as heat, can develop spores. Spores are dormant forms of bacteria that can survive extreme conditions and cleaning processes. Though spores themselves aren’t harmful, when placed in a compatible environment once again, spores can develop into bacteria which can lead to food spoilage or sickness. Cleaning kitchen equipment and
It’s kind of ironic how whole wheat flour is more expensive than white flour, even though the preparation process in the factory is identical, except for white flour going through various extra steps. The explanation for this absurdity lies in the popularity of healthy eating culinary trends. Restaurants offering meals with high nutritional value can be extremely successful, depending on their target market. However, restaurants hoping to appeal to a large and varied customer base must find ways to work within the framework of culinary trends such as healthy eating, while keeping their prices down. Obvious options include offering low food-costs meals made with in-season produce and slightly cutting down portion sizes. However, many businesses invest in nutritional value in areas that are not necessarily worth the investment. Despite the faulty ideas behind some of these trends, a few of them are worth keeping, for purposes of restaurant marketing.
Trends to Keep
Organic food is one of the culinary trends that has gotten major attention over the years. Pesticides are a proven danger, and no one will argue that it is best to stay clear of coming into contact with them. However, despite the beliefs of an overwhelming percentage of the public, organic farms do use pesticides: organic ones. Organic farms do tend have some practices that are better for the environment than other, larger industrial farms, but not using pesticides is not one of them. So why is organic food a trend to keep? Offering organic food or having an organic restaurant is a great way to increase restaurant business among customers concerned with healthy eating, if only because the lack of public awareness as to the definition of organic food. Despite the higher price of organic foods, businesses with a healthy restaurant focus should consider splurging on this gimmick in order to increase restaurant business
The multitude of terms associated with current environmental trends can be confusing and overwhelming, sounding almost identical to each other. Yet many of these trends have slightly different implications for restaurants, and can help improve business, while supporting a good cause, when done right. “Environmentally sustainable” is a term used to describe elements, items, or goods, which are geared towards preserving or bettering the environment for future generations. While it can be argued that other culinary trends such as the farm-to-table movement and improving business energy efficiency are included within the idea of being environmentally sustainable, it is worthwhile for businesses to consider each trend separately when deciding how to run a restaurant.
Why be Environmentally Sustainable?
When faced with the task of processing and responding to the facts about the detrimental state of the environment, many become concerned. Large industries and businesses have a huge impact on the environment, and therefore, each restaurant holds a small share of responsibility. When considering how to run a restaurant, many times business owners focus on how to make profits now, whether than consider how to be environmentally sustainable for the future. However, with the increased focus on the environment, restaurant businesses can benefit from being a “green restaurant” with sustainable food, among other environmentally
The idea of a “green restaurant” is attractive to customers, largely due to the public’s rising awareness of the environmental issues facing Earth. Sustainable food, such as local produce and vegan products, and other eco friendly initiatives, such as offering take away menu items in eco friendly packaging, can be a great way to become a “green restaurant” and boost restaurant marketing to earth-conscious customers.
Eco friendly packaging is a great solution for wrapping take away menu items. Having biodegradable containers for take-out food can help reduce a business’s detrimental effects on the environment. Using biodegradable products in general, such as biodegradable twine, to prepare and package foods, makes a restaurant more of a “green restaurant.” However, to make the most impact, a business’s food delivery service should not be the only ones using these biodegradable products. For customers purchasing from the take away menu in-house, having re-usable containers for sale to use as packaging, can be the best move for a green restaurant. By offering customers a discount on the take away menu if they use the reusable, eco-friendly packaging, businesses can receive great restaurant marketing and increase customer loyalty by encouraging customers to return for the discount. Meanwhile, they will save money by cutting down disposable packaging.
Energy Star appliances are useful beyond just lowering electricity bills and boasting that a business is a green restaurant. Though boosting business energy efficiency may be enough justification to purchase energy efficient appliances, many other financial incentives exist as well. These incentives include Energy Star rebates and tax breaks. The standards that Energy Star appliances must meet ensure consumers that they are receiving good quality and will be able to get good savings, for their purchases. For skeptics, multiple sites summarize and give links to details on the benefits of choosing Energy Star appliances.
The Energy Star Program
The Energy Star program is an initiative that was started by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1992 to try to reduce air pollution by providing incentives for using energy-efficient technologies, such as Energy Star appliances and lights. The financial incentives of purchasing energy efficient appliances include tax breaks, rebates, and lower electricity bills. According to the National Restaurant Association’s website, “restaurants that invest strategically in energy-saving commercial food service equipment and fixtures can cut utility costs 10% to 30% through rebates, tax credits and other financial incentives.”
The Energy Star program also ensures that consumers will not have to compromise on quality or trust in the products when choosing to increase business energy efficiency. In order to be Energy Star appliances, products must be significantly and measurably energy efficient appliances, meet consumers’ technological demands, and
2013 brought some prominent culinary trends, many of which seem to be here to stay. Health and environmental consciousness drove some of the biggest culinary trends of 2013. The National Restaurant Association predicts that many of these trends will stick around for 2014. As we move into the New Year, it is important for food businesses to reflect on food trends of 2013 and use them as a reference point to improve themselves.
Health-Related Food Trends 2013
This year saw a rise in consumer health concerns that effects food businesses. Healthy eating restaurants had an advantage over fast food chains, in drawing health-conscious customers looking to cut saturated fats, calories, cholesterol, and sodium, from their meals. As a response, fast food chains such as Burger King began offering healthier alternatives such as Burger King’s lower-fat fries. Other restaurants became slightly more like healthy eating restaurants by adapting dishes to better fit consumer health concerns. Restaurants with gluten free menus also experienced a customer-base expansion this year. Not only do restaurants with gluten free menus draw customers who are sensitive to gluten, they also draw regular customers looking for wheat free foods because they believe wheat free foods are better for their overall health. Customers and restaurants showed a concern for environmental health as well as diet health, in food trends of 2013.
Culinary Trends Go Green
Increasing business energy efficiency and conserving water does more than just help the environment; it can also help cut significant costs. When cutting back on costs, many businesses search for how to save money on food. However, electricity and water can severely affect a business’s finances as well, and are easier to cut back on, since methods for how to save money on food sometimes require compromising on quality. Food businesses can benefit greatly being a “green restaurant,” since water and electricity are such integral part of the business, providing cooking methods, storage, and sanitary measures. Food businesses cannot afford to be stingy with their use of water and electricity, but they can apply measures that will allow them to use them wisely. There are obvious solutions that exist for every home and business, such as installing solar panels for clean energy. The investment in the solar panels now can pay off with the reduction in electricity bills, over time. However, for those businesses looking at other strategies to save them money and lower their carbon footprint, there are various other methods for how to run a restaurant efficiently that can
Connections between Organic Food and an Organic Cocktail
Beer is made of barley or wheat, wine is made from grapes, vodka is usually made from potatoes, rum is made from sugarcane products, and whiskey is made from barley, rye, wheat, or corn. The suppliers of the raw ingredients are usually the agricultural industry. Therefore, the same concerns about pesticides and enhancers, being used in produce, are applicable to most types of alcohol as well. And the same benefits of organic food apply to the organic cocktail. Organic restaurants and businesses concerned with sustainable food should look into the alcohol options available to stock the bar. Home brewers and cocktail lovers should consider the benefits of organic for themselves and the environment, and may opt for an organic cocktail next time around.
Green Cocktails and Business
Many companies, such as American Harvest, Tru Organic (vodka and gin), Crusoe (rum), and Slow Hand (whiskey), offer organic spirits to use as a base for a green cocktail. Many bars across the world have begun offering highly artisanal cocktails, using organic ingredients. Blending in flavors from herbs and fruits either while mixing the organic cocktails or allowing its flavors to infuse the alcohol and using it to stock the bar for later use, allows organic food to be used to create a green cocktail. Consumers around the world have made “going green” a top concern and offering an organic cocktail menu that caters to their concerns will draw them as customers. Organic beverages in general can be a great product to stock the bar with. Using fresh ingredients and organic spirits from smaller companies (since most of them are still relatively small) in an organic cocktail, can raise the quality of the drink. Bartenders should sample a small glass of the organic spirits before mixing the cocktail, to ensure the flavor and quality match up to the non-organic counterparts. Once the organic spirits have been deemed worthy of being mixed and sold to customers, a business can start
Cooking from the Garden
Cooking from the garden makes the most of the option for local produce, sustainable food, and cooking with the freshest produce possible. Being able to cut rosemary sprigs for roasted chicken, pick cherry tomatoes for salads straight from the vine, dehydrate herbs to use as tasty garnishes, or add just-picked mint leaves to water, will raise the quality of food and drinks in a restaurant. Though local farms are a great substitute for a cooking garden, allowing produce to be extremely fresh when delivered, the ability for an orange to literally ripen on the branch until minutes before it is eaten, adds a fresh produce component that cannot be outdone.
Committing to “Garden to Table”
Cooking from the garden is undoubtedly a great concept. However, for high-volume, busy restaurants, this option may not be realistic. Having a cooking garden demands the available time and labor, to take care of the produce. For busy businesses, one mint plant will yield about a day’s worth of customers’ water, in the best case scenario, so venues will need the space to allow enough plants to flourish. Many US cities do not have ideal whether for growing herbs. This would require that the plants be grown inside, which again, bring up an issue of available space for a restaurant garden. For smaller businesses, which lots of land, having a cooking garden can raise the level of the dishes they are used in, and lower supply costs. Cooking from the garden is a perfect solution for private events. Businesses catering to small, private meals are expected to have the highest quality ingredients and top-standard dishes. Picking local produce and serving it the same day, will not only allow the business to advertise their farm to table practices, which can draw more customers, but also noticeably improve the level of the
As concern for the environment grows among professional chefs and consumers alike, the market is ripe for green restaurants. Food packaging represents a significant challenge in this area, since individual wrapping and plastic bottles alone can fill a restaurant’s dumpster in no time. With this issue in mind, more and more chefs are turning to green packaging. From dishwasher safe reusable food containers to compostable packing material and specialty chocolate boxes, chefs and restaurant owners have an astounding array of sustainable options available to them.
Green Restaurants and Food Packaging
If you want to utilize green packaging in your business, you first need a basic idea of what comprises sustainable food packaging. The simplest realization of the concept of green packaging appears in the form of minimal material. Beyond minimalism, many sustainable packages are either made out of recycled material or are themselves recyclable. Some may even be compostable. Package reusability counts in this respect as well. Invest in such items as reusable food containers, some of which can even go in the dishwasher. Some companies manufacture packaging substances made from plant-derived fibers and