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Food Prep Safety Tips for Culinary Arts Students

A Short Guide to Safely Preparing Meals!

Safely prepared foods are essential to the standards of professionalism at any dining establishment. Part of a culinary professional’s job is to provide sanitary ingredients that are thoroughly cooked and meticulously presented. It’s a culinary artists’ duty to promote the health and happiness of your dining patrons. They depend on you providing clean, quality meals that are also aesthetically-pleasing and tasty. Your reputation depends upon serving quality foods to avoid spreading food borne illnesses.

If you’re currently enrolled in a culinary arts training program, there’s a chance you may forget some important safety steps during food prep.

Branford Hall offers a quick guide to safe food preparation steps so you can have an easy reference while you prepare food.

1. Keep the kitchen & its supplies clean

Cleaning and sanitization the kitchen and its supplies are essential steps toward providing a healthy and germ-free environment. Before preparing each meal, make sure the cooking utensils are cleaned with soap and hot water. Heat will help kill the germs. Make sure you wash all utensils after you’re done preparing meals. Throw all extra foods scraps away to avoid attracting pests.

2. Be mindful of cross-contamination

Avoiding cross-contamination is one of the most important steps of food prep. Wash meats like beef and poultry after you unwrap them. You can also help avoid cross-contamination by keeping utensils and ingredients in their designated food prep areas. If you’re cutting meat, keep it in its own separate prep area and not where you’re cutting vegetables. Cross-contamination could cause your patrons ro get salmonella poisoning which could ruin their dining experience…and your reputation!

3. Cook correctly

It’s crucial to cook food thoroughly, not only for taste and presentation, but also for the health of your guests. The United States Department of Agriculture and Food Safety and Inspection Services emphasizes the importance of avoiding undercooked meats. They suggest that beef, pork, and lamb are cooked at an internal temperature of 145°F. Ground meats need to be cooked at higher temperatures of 160°F. Let the meat cool down for a few minutes before serving it to your guests. It’s also important to remember to cook vegetables correctly.

4. Store and wrap foods correctly

Storing foods in the right spot can be pretty straight forward. Dairy products, meats, and other perishable items are stored in the fridge. However, it’s important to remember that meats like beef and fish should always be wrapped so any juices don’t contaminate other items. Perishable items should be stored in a fridge within 2 hours. Grains like breads should be wrapped or kept in air-tight containers. Keep vegetables fresh by putting them in plastic or glass containers.

As you go about your hands-on training, these food safety tips will become ingrained in your every day routine. These basic food prep tips can have you become a trusted culinary professional in no time!

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Branford Hall offers career advice and career-focused articles in its weekly blog. If you’re considering culinary arts school, we offer a culinary arts training program at our campus in Springfield, MAContact us today to learn more about becoming a culinary professional.