S.O.P. for "tasting Spoons" on the line

Discussion in 'Professional Catering' started by dolce restauran, Dec 25, 2012.

  1. dolce restauran

    dolce restauran

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    I recently hired a TOP chef who trained at aThomas Keller property, plus two years in Italy at a two star Michelin property,etc.

     We see eye to eye on everything but one:

    He was trained/ enculturated  in these "top" restaurants to use a "bain marie" for  tasting spoons on the line. The term , in this context is inaccurate for starters.

    His "system" ? A crock of water, which  holds  stirring/tasting spoons that he re submerges in the same water, tasting, stirring, repeatedly , without cleaning or sanitizing at ALL. His defense: He "changes the water frequently, and refills it with hot water!"

    I don't want to throw my weight around, because this kid is the real deal, swear to God, talented AND easy to work with. BUT how am I going to convince him how archaic and unsanitary this practice is? Trying to avoid a heavy handed authoritarian approach....

    Quoting food code isn't going to get the job done, I can tell you that!

    Any advice out there?

    GS
     
  2. twyst

    twyst

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    25
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    It is kind of gross, but I have seen it almost everywhere I have worked as well.

    Perhaps put a bain of plastic disposable spoons out on the line.   If they are available, people tend to use them, although they are an added expense.
     
    dectra and thecaterx like this.
  3. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,780
    Likes Received:
    418
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    .....or a drop of bleach or other sanitizer in that water.
     
    dectra likes this.
  4. chefwriter

    chefwriter

    Messages:
    1,861
    Likes Received:
    410
    Exp:
    Professional Cook
    I'd get ready to throw some weight around. You are the owner and at risk for any food contamination. What he is doing is not right. 

    However, you do need to provide an alternative. No one (including yourself) wants to hear about a problem without a solution. 

    Sit your chef down and explain the situation in a calm, pleasant professional way. 

    I'll bet any amount of money that he did not learn from Thomas Keller or anyone else by doing whatever he wanted or ignoring health department regulations. I seriously doubt this practice is condoned by Keller. 

     You can tell him that you will allow him to continue if the situation is explained and shown to and approved by the health department. 

    The bottom line ( and your chef should already know this) is that you are the owner. He answers to you and if you do not approve of something, it does not happen. You should not have to raise your voice to get any point across. When you speak, he listens. If he cannot accept this, he is not the chef you give him credit for  being.  
     
    drirene likes this.
  5. flipflopgirl

    flipflopgirl

    Messages:
    4,476
    Likes Received:
    417
    Exp:
    Retired Hospitality
    Some good hard plastic spoons gets my vote, altho you are eventually gonna come across a problem that will have no easy solution. My 2 cents? Go ahead and take the bull by the horns and correct his behavior now, before it spirals out of control. We all know that the age of tasting with the same spoon or God forbid our fingers is long past. I suspect he is testing you, like any other child genius.

    mimi
     
    drirene likes this.
  6. petemccracken

    petemccracken

    Messages:
    3,401
    Likes Received:
    160
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    The Kitchen Rules:
    1. Do what the Chef says to do in all cases
    2. When in doubt, see rule 1!
     
  7. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    I my opinion both wrong. Better houses have DISPOSABLE small plastic tasting spoons. .Use for tasting once and throw away this way no steamtable, no clorox, no boiling water etc.

    PS    YOU sign his paycheck , he doesn't sign yours. S who is the boss?
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  8. kuan

    kuan Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    6,824
    Likes Received:
    391
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    You could go to the thrift store and buy all the teaspoons.  Throw them in a bus tub after he uses them and send them through the dishwasher when you have a big pile. 

    First try and ask about the plastic spoons though and then have the above ready as a compromise.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  9. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

    Messages:
    1,418
    Likes Received:
    216
    Exp:
    Sous Chef, Event Manager
    First did you hire his specific habits or did you hire a chef whose experienced and

    adaptable to being trained YOUR way?

    I would just tell him it's his system, but it's your place,  so its up to him to use it with

    proper sanitation procedure. If that means sanitizing the water often, then he can keep

    some test paper strips near the Marie and maintain sani-levels. It's HIS system.

    But even then you always have to ask yourself, "What if county health walked in right now?"

    If your answer is "Meep! I may be sc-ew-"....then change it.

    Regarding the disposable plastic tasters, I used em for a while....

    but even those add up, theyre like $23.00 for a gross. And with

    the "taste-n-toss"  method in a busy kitchen they go fast, believe it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2012
  10. chefross

    chefross

    Messages:
    2,780
    Likes Received:
    418
    Exp:
    Former Chef
    I wouldn't say that the age of tasting with fingers or the same spoon is long past. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the cook probably watched as Thomas Keller did it himself.

    What are you guys thinking..............really?  

    You put this guy on a pedestal and think he is the GOD of food........................please.
     
  11. ed buchanan

    ed buchanan

    Messages:
    3,355
    Likes Received:
    44
    Exp:
    Culinary Instructor
    You overpaid,  I pay $16.00 per 1000
     
  12. twyst

    twyst

    Messages:
    214
    Likes Received:
    25
    Exp:
    Line Cook
    Agreed.   I have seen the spoons in a baine thing at Michelin starred places.   Its a very common practice in fine dining.   I think its gross, but to say its not happening all over any more is a little misguided.
     
  13. cheflayne

    cheflayne

    Messages:
    4,190
    Likes Received:
    553
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I admire Thomas Keller greatly. My experience with people that have worked for him, is that in their eyes they had already been to the mountain top and it wasn't me sitting there, so I had little that they cared to hear.

    I gave up on trying logic, reason, explanations. I resorted to "It is not Thomas Keller's restaurant nor his name on the paycheck. This is the way we do things here. If you can't get on board with that you know where the door is." It was always said without anger, pride, or ego. A simple statement of facts.
     
  14. dolce restauran

    dolce restauran

    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    10
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    Okay. These responses have been very helpful everyone.
    New Years resolution: My way or the Highway! I also may take the idea of asking the health inspector in and have the chef try to defend this practice :)
     
  15. vic cardenas

    vic cardenas

    Messages:
    453
    Likes Received:
    58
    Exp:
    Owner/Operator
    If he's doing everything else right and you're only asking him to change one of his bad habits, that's not much to ask. Most every chef has to adapt to any new restaurant a few of their habits. No restaurant is exactly like the next one and most chefs realize this and can change a few of their habits, good or bad. If he can't, he's not the god you make him out to be. 
     
  16. foodpump

    foodpump

    Messages:
    5,054
    Likes Received:
    601
    Exp:
    Professional Pastry Chef
    I 'd say a compromise

    Wunderkind can keep his "Bain marie", just not in the steam table...

    I'm with Kuan on this one, buy some old s/s teaspoons or some cheapos from Ikea or such, dirty ones go into "bain marie" at the dishpit., clean ones in 1/9th isert on the line.

    If the  health inspector ever "picks up" on the dirty bai marie, wunderkind gets to pay the fine..............
     
  17. meezenplaz

    meezenplaz

    Messages:
    1,418
    Likes Received:
    216
    Exp:
    Sous Chef, Event Manager
    Actually I think it WAS 25.00 for 1000 Chef BUCHANAN, but I still paid more,

    and they still seemed to go awfully fast.

    A Siegfried quote comes to mind here:

    "Shtarker....zees ees KA-OS--vee dont DO zat here!"
     
  18. rdm magic

    rdm magic

    Messages:
    160
    Likes Received:
    12
    Exp:
    Culinary Student
    Even at 16$ per 1000, you'd easily use 5k per week in a busy restaurant. 80 bucks a week, around 4000 bucks a year.. Thats quite an expenditure for one guys bad habits.

    Dolce, what was the solution before this guy came?
     
  19. michaelga

    michaelga

    Messages:
    1,237
    Likes Received:
    64
    Exp:
    Retired Chef
    teach the chef some 'good' habits for tasting... that don't involve throwing away plastic spoons unless he's bringing that extra money with him.

    you don't also have to buy him 'special' chef tasting spoons but you could to inflate his ego even more and get him to immediately ask for a raise and to follow less rules!

    any chef that can't get a dish washer or waitress to drop a few dozen spoons for him to use and throw back into the dish pit when done isn't a real chef ...

    ... this guy sounds like a prima-going-ta-make-a-headache...

    The nonsense about high-end places doing it is pure nonsense... complete BS.... it makes my blood boil... do you think that they aren't inspected?  They get special rules?

    ...just the HAACP from the sous-vide brings the inspectors around 2 times a month... 

    BS from people who either did things wrong there (or more likely never worked there)

    No Double Dipping or Sharing unless related by blood or marriage!
     
  20. cheflayne

    cheflayne

    Messages:
    4,190
    Likes Received:
    553
    Exp:
    Professional Chef
    I use stainless steel demitasse spoons. Cost is about $1.00 a dozen. For $20.00 you get 240. When you hit a 120 one time uses, send them to the dishwasher and while they are being washed you still have another 120 ready to use.