Homemade Hollandaise versus the health department

Joined Apr 28, 2007
Hi there, run into an interesting problem and I'm wandering what the industry standards are in your areas. I finally perfect an idiot resistant recipe for a homemade Hollandaise sauce for multiple locations that works every time and is always consistent (Sorry but I like to brag about that one) and along comes a health inspector today and says that we have to either keep it cold, (Doesn't work) or throw it out and make a new batch every 2 hours, (not cost effective or a good use of labour), Unfortunately (or not) I was not at the location at the time and have had no direct contact with this health inspector and was not able to debate with them the fact that they are a deranged power mad despot and that no restaurant can be expected to be making Hollandaise every 2 hours.

Have any of you run into this challenge? If so how have you resolved it (without the use of an industrial meat grinder) Any help would be appreciated.
Joined Aug 21, 2009
Interesting... we have to have our hollandaise hot and we do trash it now and then because it separates and looks like poop after it holds for a while. Can you hold it at a certain temperature and keep a temp log?
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Well first, you can make it every 2 hours, some places make it a la minute.
Unfortunately, each inspector is different.
Some think it merely depends on the area you work, but it actually comes down to the inspector.
If this one has picked hollandaise as their crusade, and already has you on the radar, not much you can do but comply or run the risk of an infraction.
"Debates" will do you no good.
Oh sure, it might relieve stress, but it will ultimately work against you.
I don't know the situation where you are, if you are at, say, a festival, where the inspector is guaranteed to show up, or you are talking merely of restaurants, where one is unlikely to pop in unless alerted to an issue.
I feel for you.
Were it me, I might continue as I had been, keeping in mind that my staff had better have the right answer ready, and also being prepared to discard and remake the product as if I had been doing it that way the whole time.
But really, 2 hours isn't a huge convenience.
I would be discarding before 4 hours anyhow, cutting that time in half is doable.
Joined Aug 7, 2008
Make less sauce and make it every two hours.
Debating with a health inspector is futile. The best approach I have found is to call and have them come back when you are there and try to reach a workable solution.
Best of luck.
Joined Sep 26, 2009

It's basic food safety; Hollandaise is kept warm/ambient or it breaks. Ambient is the danger zone for bacterial multiplication, hence the two hour rule. As Hollandaise is egg/butter base and relatively low PH it's considered high risk. One alternative (which ain't great) is to use a tetrapac heat resistent sauce that can be kept hot. These are not the same as fresh, homemade sauce, but can be kept in a baine marie and won't break. Otherwise make it every couple of hours- I'd never take a risk with food safety as I feed several hundred students daily, and if one were to get sick then many others would surely follow......
Joined Oct 10, 2005
Like all the others have said, DO NOT DEBATE with the health inspector, kinda like giving a traffic cop the finger....

Someone once quipped "make something idiot proof, and they'll go and invent a better idiot". Words of wisdom, imho.....

All that being said,

No one said that you can't keep clarified butter in the bain marie, and no one said you can't keep separated yolks together with cold, reduced, reduction in a cling-filmed s/s bowl in the fridge... right? With that kind of mise, there's no reason you can't whip up a hollandaise or similiar in 5-7 mins. Certain cooks going by the name of "foodpump" have been known to make hollandaise in the kitchen-aid mixer DURING service, without loosing a beat. (helps if you have multiple K. Aid bowls and whisks...)

ALWAYS smile, nod, and agree with the health inspector. You can be giving him both fingers under your apron, you can imagine torturing him under the most severe conditions, with the most primitive of instruments.... BUT, disagree with him, and he'll be back within two days, running a q-tip under all the fridge door seals and shining a flashlight where none has shone for a few months--and s/he has every right to do so as well......
Joined Dec 23, 2004
That reminds me of a place I used to work. When I started there I talked the owner into letting me make hollandaise sauce for a couple of menu items. It went over well so I taught a couple cooks how to make it. Well, on my day off the owner decides he'll keep it in the lowboy and nuke it to order!:lol: Bear in mind he always talked about his fifty years of restaurant experience- and still didn't know you can't refrigerate fresh holly?:rolleyes:
Joined May 29, 2006
It used to be a Hollandaise or Bernaise was made for the service and discarded when service was over. I still adhere to this, it could be 2 to 3 hours per service.
Joined Oct 18, 2007
Not really surprising.
The fact that you had to talk the owner into it would seem to indicate their unfamiliarity with it.
5 years, 50 years, irrelevant if you've never worked with a product before.
A person can successfully run a restaurant and never use a particular sauce.
I really don't see anything to laugh at.
Now, 50 years cooking experience?
That might be a little different.
Joined May 29, 2006
Which is more cost effective ? throwing away a little hollandaise or a lawsuit from a food poisoned patron. One should not have to worry about health dept inspector coming that day. The kitchen should be run so any time he walks in it will pass with flying colors.
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