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Food Temperature

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Is there a universally appropriate temperature that food should be served? Or does it go by personal preference? Do you expect all food at a restaurant to be served hot or cold appropriately and is there room for interpretation?

For example, if you were at a greek restaurant and ordered "horta" which are boiled weeds, would you be upset that they weren't hot? Would you then change your mind if the server told you that they are traditionally served at room temp?

My biggest pet peeve is cold potatoes. I can't stand a potato unless it's hotly warm. Beef too. I'm one of those people who has to cut into a steak right away without any rest. There's something so sexy about seeing all that juice spill into my plate.

My inlaws swear from here to eternity that pasticcio and moussaka should be served at room temp and do so consistently but I'm not a fan of bechamel and pasta unless they're warm... not hot mind you, but warm. They're big fans of making things for dinner parties wayyyyyyyyy ahead of time, often the day before so I can't really account for any time I was served anything warm at their house... roast, potatoes, lasagna, eggrolls, spinach pie, nothing at all.

My Mother on the other hand had amazing timing when serving a large crowd. The potatoes were always fresh out of the oven, the the meat was always rested but warm, and the casseroles were always fresh. She made sure she wouldn't serve anything that couldn't be served at the "right" temperature.

What are you a stickler about?

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post #2 of 19
I often wish my food arrived hotter than it is. But then there are people who would want it cooler and not want to wait for it to cool down.
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #3 of 19
In a pro kitchen and the culinary schools you are taught the cardinal rule,and it is


""" SERVE HOT FOOD HOT, AND COLD FOOD COLD"""
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post #4 of 19
Over the years, I have grown accustomed to eating 'room temp' food in Greece!

ESPECIALLY horta!

Have to say, I like my food hot to the table. But I think that may be a very British thing, cosduring my travels in Italy, Spain, Portugal and France... whilst a lot of food comes hot, much comes 'warm-ish'!
post #5 of 19
Then send it back, if enough people people send it back, maybe they will get hint. The problem, we accept mediocraty.
We also tip for bad service, therefore why should they improve?
Maybe tepid food is accepted in Greece, here it is not .
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post #6 of 19
I agree that food should be served hot but but not necessarily piping hot. There has to be a little tolerance, for example a thick cut steak cooked rare or medium rare and rested for five minutes.... How hot will that be? Even if its rested in a warm place and sauced piping hot there will be a debate about it. For a large joint of meat it is even more of an issue. And to add to that everybodys interpretation of hot is different, and the same goes for cold. When a customer sends food back and they say "its cold" it is not cold, but it is not hot enough either. Cold is cold and not hot enough is ..well not hot enough.
post #7 of 19
Errrm, Mr Buchanan - I said 'in Greece'... and I believe in the old saying 'when in Rome...'

Greeks and many other southern European and even near Eastern (think Lebanon, Syria) eat their food at a lower temperature than Northern European nations.

Why should I expect the whole Greek nation to change their eating habits? After all, I wouldn't change mine if someone came to eat at my house in my country.

How you eat in the USA and we in the UK has no bearing on what I was talking about, ie horta and other Greek dishes, cooked and eaten in Greece.
post #8 of 19
Thread Starter 
Horta in Greece is traditionally eating at room temp or cold. I haven't had the experience that everything is lukewarm or cold in Greece, I was merely trying to see what the general attitude is towards temperature of food.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #9 of 19
hmmm tough call especially in a restaurant evironment. i would follow the "culinary creed" in this instance.

what I hate are salad greens that are not the least bit chilled. for some reason i dont appreciate the "crunch" as much
post #10 of 19
As a lot of people have already stated I was always taught hot food has to be HOT and cold COLD but like you have stated you like your steak served before it has rested so obviously there is some wiggle room. As for health standards in a restaurant hot foods must be 160* or above when holding and cold foods 45*or below. But as for what Im a stickler for.....I would rather eat a slightly warm steak, etc. ....than a slightly cold salad. If a salad is not cold, especially if it has already been mixed or dressed, yuck.
post #11 of 19

depends...

My steakhouse sells alot of prime rib, and it chaps my arse when people send back their perfect MR prime rib and say........"It's not hot!"

I try to tell the waitstaff all the time.......... "I pull the ribs when the internal temp is 120....then they rest for an hour so they reach 130....perfect rare...(of course some wells, Mw, and Med from each end-depends on how it's sliced)

So the MAX temp they reach is 130---which is not really THAT hot. Your bath water might be hotter. (Yea- who takes baths anymore-whatever)
Trying to tell a customer that prime rib is never served HOT!! is impossible!! We do over 400 cover on sat night and it's tough to "stagger " our ribs troughout the night so they have rested properly , and can still be served "hot" ....just not possible. we keep a full bain marie of Au Jus on the line , so to heat it up quickly is not a prob, but once again...... as a chef/foodservice professional......it still pisses me off when I do my job to a T and ignorant customers tell me what I did was wrong.
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post #12 of 19
My steakhouse sells alot of prime rib, and it chaps my arse when people send back their perfect MR prime rib and say........"It's not hot!"

I try to tell the waitstaff all the time.......... "I pull the ribs when the internal temp is 120....then they rest for an hour so they reach 130....perfect rare...(of course some wells, Mw, and Med from each end-depends on how it's sliced)

130 F. is not room temperature, and I am not talking rare or med rare steak here or prime rib. But when you get a baked tater or pasta or vege. thats cold ? I have watched many times open kitchens where the food sits up there for 6 to 10 minutes before server picks up. The customer is entitled to at least the basics. There are some excuses for bad or miscooked foods, but not cold foods. Sorry all thats my opinion. Also as the lady said above,""she is accustomed to room temp foods" I am not.
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post #13 of 19
A very hot bath is well below 130F. At 130F you'd have to throw out the (scalded) baby. IIRC 120F is considered the maximum, safe delivery temperature for hot water.

The "holding temperature" of the steam table or Cres-Cor or whatever is not the same as the food temperature. Most foods at a 160F internal is not only hot but horrible.

Proper service temperature depends on what's being served. Chicken on the bone tastes better when it's not quite hot anymore. Similarly, red meat when served MR will not be particularly hot by the time it reaches the diner. We should also consider that it's always cooled down quite a bit by the time the diner has cut and eaten a few bites.

Dishes with cheese usually need to cool down and set up before they're at their best. "Etc., etc., etc."

There are a lot of tricks for making "hot" foods taste and feel hot, even though they're actually being served at a slightly lower temperature for legitimate culinary reasons. Hot plates, hot sauces, good service, to name a few.

Ed is almost always right; and batting 1000 in this thread. What else is new?

Fingers never left my hand,
BDL
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Just because someone wants their food to be doesn't mean that they are ignorant. Just because you do your job to a T does not mean that I know what your job entails. Ignorant is a very harsh word for a paying customer that wants to dine out, and eat something he or she likes. It seems like we all have our own perception of what should be served hot, warm, lukewarm, or cold.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #15 of 19
"""There are a lot of tricks for making "hot" foods taste and feel hot, even though they're actually being served at a slightly lower temperature for legitimate culinary reasons. Hot plates, hot sauces, good service, to name a few."""BDL

BDL you are right about steamtables and heating via H2O bath, again correct about there are ways to keep food hotter or seem hotter.
A good example is if your holding a minestrone or vege soup stir in a drop of olive oil before putting in hot water hold and it will be hotter.
Or heat the plate and when waiter places it in front of patron, he says to them ""be careful this is hot"" In their head now IT IS HOT .
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post #16 of 19
:lol::D I know that as a diner, you're the same as me or anyone who's ever worked the hot side in a kitchen (double for turn and burn). You take the hot plate with your bare hand and give the waiter a sort of puzzled, "this is hot?" look. :D:lol:

BDL
post #17 of 19
I know that as a diner, you're the same as me or anyone who's ever worked the hot side in a kitchen (double for turn and burn). You take the hot plate with your bare hand and give the waiter a sort of puzzled, "this is hot?" look.

BDL

How can you even think that?????
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post #18 of 19
Temperature Danger Zone:
40 f - 140 f.

In between you have a 2 hour window before you risk issues.

So, you want your food either under 40f or over 140f.

when baking, breads, cakes and the like (cooking the starch) I look for an internal of 200+f.

Meats and fish range between
145 f - 165 f.

At a hot buffet the food should register 145 f or above.

Hope this helps.
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bake first, ask questions later.
Oooh food, my favorite!


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post #19 of 19
Mapiva - I agree. Some like it hot, some not.

There's some food tasting (to me) much better hot, like a steak, some that tastes better room temp, like lasagne, some better cold, like a tossed salad. Or icecream - you can enjoy the flavour more if its brought up from freezer temp. a little.

But again - that's what I prefer, and I'm sure is not what everyone would prefer.

There's some salads that taste much better room temp., some that really need long chilling. Depends a lot on the textures and ingredients. Sometimes a dish will be made of hot and cold ingredients mixed together - take a filled taco for example - and its the mix of temps that actually make it taste better.

We had some guests to dinner recently and we had cheesecake - it was the type I like chilled, but was (privately) appalled to hear they liked it room temperature. So I put my piece back in the fridge and let theirs sit for a bit. No big drama. But it went to show that temp- its a personal thing.

Depends a bit on what climate you're in too. If its 15C below, well you probably prefer things steaming hot. But if its 40C in the shade, I reckon you'd opt for cold/chilled or room temp at the most.
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