Every proper culinary business must know about keeping hot food hot and cold food cold. These tasks are important, and business owners must comply with the industry standards. Keeping food based on proper temperature preserves the quality and avoids possible lawsuits from any food-borne illnesses that may arise as a result.
Why Hot and Cold Food Must Be Kept Separately
Food items that are served hot and cold have different characteristics. Therefore, keeping them separate is essential to preserve their textures, flavors, and qualities. It applies to food in any setting, from regular restaurants to any places or events that serve buffet meals.
Keeping hot food hot and cold food cold also prevents food-borne illnesses. Hot food must be kept at a minimum temperature of 57-degree Celsius (135-degree Fahrenheit). If the numbers dip lower, it can cause a dangerous temperature zone where bacteria can reproduce.
Meanwhile, the ideal temperature to store cold food is 4 degrees Celsius (40-degree Fahrenheit) and below. It is not just for keeping the food in the best condition for consumption. In the case of raw food, proper cold storage is vital to prevent bacterial contamination when the food thaws.
Methods to Keep Food Warm
There are several ways to keep food warm. Restaurant and culinary industries have standard tools to keep hot food at the proper temperature. Examples are:
A soup warmer is a round warmer with standing frames to support a pot or pan. It got its name from its popular use: warming soup or broth. However, it can be used to melt chocolate or cheese for fondue.
A warming oven is standard equipment in all commercial kitchens. As the name suggests, it keeps warm food at the perfect temperature until they are transferred from the kitchen to the tables. In a commercial kitchen, warming ovens are stacked in special rolling racks, making them look like cabinets that the kitchen staff can easily move.
A steam table is warming equipment for frontline or serving tables. You can see them in buffet restaurants or events, holding food in safe temperatures while diners help themselves. They are only used to store warm food and keep the ideal temperature as long as possible, not for cooking.
Unlike a regular stove, a rethermalizer can directly transform frozen, cooked food into an ideal serving temperature without overcooking. This equipment uses hot water to warm the frozen food instantly.
A drawer warmer is the compact version of a warming oven. It is more common for baked goods such as bread and tortillas. Their compact sizes make them useful at houses or small bakeries/shops.
Methods to Keep Food cold
Refrigerator and freezer are must-have equipment in all kitchens, but there are other methods to keep the cold food at an ideal temperature. Examples are:
You can find a stainless chafing dish in many buffet services or restaurants. You can use it to keep cold food during service by adding cold water or ice at the bottom.
Ice Buffet Station
The ice buffet station has a simple but effective concept. It is filled with ice cubes at the bottom and used to serve many things, from salad to fresh fruit slices and bottled/canned drinks.
A catering cooler stores food until they are ready to be served, such as during the trip to the venue. You can store ready-to-eat and raw food in these coolers, but ensure they are appropriately labeled and used separately.
Digital Solution to Maintain Food Safety
Keeping food in the best condition requires many steps, especially in big commercial kitchens, bakeries, or catering services. Using digital management tools like Nimbly can help ensure that all the foods are stored properly.
Nimbly offers a digital checklist that ensures all the food storing tasks are handled properly, based on SOP. With this digital checklist, every staff and manager can better follow the SOP to keep the food stored properly, making them ready for serving on schedule. The features also allow frontline staff and managers to conduct their tasks more efficiently. In addition, the real-time issue tracker feature will enable you to report and solve problems after being notified immediately.
Keeping hot food hot and cold food cold is important to ensure quality, service, and safety. Follow this guide while using Nimbly to ensure that all the food is stored correctly, based on the temperature needs and characteristics.