Chicken and "the danger zone"

Discussion in 'Professional Chefs' started by solwinds, Aug 10, 2014.

  1. solwinds

    solwinds

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    So, my previous Head Chef was a bit crap.

    To put it shortly, he taught me very little then left the business and me on my own in the kitchen with another chef whose experience matched mine (very little), a lot of his old ways are still left over purely because we don't know any better yet.

    But one thing that is bugging me the most is the way we prep and store chicken. We half cook it and then store it in the fridge for up to 5 days before throwing it out. When i say half cook, we pretty much heavily sear large chicken breasts on both sides in a griddle pan so there is still a large portion of pink in the middle, then slice them into portions and store them in Tupperware in the fridge. Its left on the side to cool down before going into the fridge though, and I'm sure that's the most dangerous part.

    Don't get me wrong I have challenged this amongst other issues several times but the owner and the other chef i work with are kind of stuck in the ways left behind by the previous head chef (who was the owners son).
    Am I right in thinking this practice of storing chicken is wrong and dangerous? We have been storing it like that then finishing it off when its needed for about 8 months now (its a new restaurant) and we've had no one say anything to us about food poisoning. But i still feel we shouldn't be doing it that way.
     
  2. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Omg that's disgusting! If you really want change then anonymously call for a health inspector and lead him to that fridge. That ought to put a stop to it. Yikes!
     
  3. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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    Start cooling it in the fridge not on counter. Cool foods as fast as possible and re hey fast as we'll is two general safety guidelines. You do have up to 2 hrs food can be out for but that is a cumulative time and leaving it sit on counter to cool is wasting that time.
     
  4. chefboyog

    chefboyog

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  5. panini

    panini

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    Solwinds,

    You really need to change that!!!! When you sear it, you're only ridding bacteria on the outside. So the chick becomes a little oven for all those bacteria's to spawning the middle. I've sat through enough classes to tell your owner "no way-no how"

    You're right about the cooling outside, but even when you refer it, the middle is in danger too long.
     
  6. chefedb

    chefedb

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    You are flirting with danger, and so far you have been lucky. To cook a little an then allow to cool outside is a bad practice. These chix are loaded with bacteria an salmonella fall off.

    Why not fully cook  right before service? You don't  have to put in fridge this way,Its fresher and certainly more  sanitary, and they wont be dried out. Estimate  what you will sell by checking back on customers purchases  over last 3 months.
     
  7. grande

    grande

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    Here's what i don't get: you sear whole brests, then cut them into portions? Why not portion them and then cook it to order? Even if you're cooking whole airline breasts, IMO its faster to cook to order. Having experienced the nauseating sear and cool myself, reheating post sear takes as long or longer because you don't have that time in the pan to start warming it up. Dangerous, slower than the right way, and... searing, then slicing and portioning, then reheating? I'm sorry, I just can't imagine that being a good end product.
     
  8. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    I too do not understand the why you cook and portion them. 

    In my mind it would be a lot easier and a lot less of a hassle to simply portion and cook to order. 

    When you cook a piece od chicken, let it cool on the counter (which is already dangerous) and then recook them to order, that would only cause the outside to be over cooked and the inside undercooked, probably not the best way to cook chicken. 

    The raw center of the chicken will still spread bacteria, ever if the exterior is cooked, that isnt a safe pratice and in my mind you are playing with fire. Honestly either cook the chicken completely and heat to order, or portion and store them and cook to order.

    Cooking chicken in a pan or grill doesnt take that long, and obviously you will end up firing more then one piece at a time..... 
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  9. grande

    grande

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    "Catering style"
     
  10. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

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    When you sear a thick breast and let it sit the center is about 80 to 100 °F --you've created a near perfect

    incubator for them germies to be fruitful and multiply. While cooking after that point will kill active

    bacteria, the damage they've caused is already done. And chicken doesn't have to look, taste or smell bad to

    be dangerous. Getting away with that at home is one thing, you can always apologize to Aunt Mable later

    (or blame it on her age) quite another to gamble with the public's health. And in the end, the health permit

    holder will  be held libel for that gamble. Seems to me this practice isn't really saving you any time as others have

    suggested, therefore not worth the risk.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  11. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

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    Solwinds,

    IF, you're gong to cook chicken ahead of time I'd recommend a sous-vide methood at least it will be done safely and imo, you'll never look back.

    Food for thought,

    EDG
     
  12. helloitslucas

    helloitslucas

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    I am curious about the establishment where you could come to be a sous chef and these are the practices being upheld by staff. I am glad I do not work in that establishment. Food safety is ALWAYS #1 in any restaurant. It makes me question the rest of the practices of the restaurant.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2014
  13. helloitslucas

    helloitslucas

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    Or sear, finish in oven to suggested/regulated temperature and hold in fridge until needed.
     
  14. kaiquekuisine

    kaiquekuisine

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    I concur 100%. 

    I have quit in restaurants that werent clean or practiced cooking safetly and higenically. 
     
  15. grande

    grande

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    Don't be too hard on the OP, kids. Check out his original "kitchen nightmare" thread
     
    everydaygourmet likes this.
  16. everydaygourmet

    everydaygourmet

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    Good Points @Grande  and @helloitslucas his credit he's reaching out and asking for help. @solwinds  contact http://www.food.gov.uk/  and ask for a class in food safety and basics in sanitation. Also found some adverts for online courses and certifications.

    Best of luck and please keep us up on your progress.

    Cheers!

    EDG
     
  17. cheflayne

    cheflayne

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    The cooling requirements for food safety when handling potentially hazardous foods, in California at least, are that it should be cooled to 70 degrees Fahrenheit within 2 hours and from 70 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit in 4 additional hours. Are these temperature/time guidelines being met with the present preparation method. If so it is safe. Quality, on the other hand, is a whole different discussion.
     
  18. just jim

    just jim

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    Par-cooking and then portioning allows you to cut the chicken with a dull house knife.
     
  19. chefross

    chefross

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    All of the aforementioned  ideas are all spot on, but none of your answers recalled the OP's comment about not being able to affect change as the Chef is set in his ways and won't.

    What needs to be done and what will be done are two different things.

    The OP has not commented yet because we are unable to give them advice they can use.  Move on nothing to see here
     
  20. grande

    grande

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    As the OP is UK, the other "chef" in the US would be "the other guy i work with on the line"; no head chef currently in his place.