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Chicken and "the danger zone"

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

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.

post #2 of 20
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!

"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 #3 of 20
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.
post #4 of 20
If your gonna call in health inspector you may as well quit. Date and label the chicken for storage and store on bottom shelf.

http://www.durham.ca/departments/health/health_protection/foodSafetyTrainingCourseManual.pdf

http://foodsafe.ca/resources/Food_Services_Code2004.pdf
post #5 of 20

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.

FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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FOR YEARS I LIVED TO WORK! NOW I WORK TO LIVE!
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post #6 of 20

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.

Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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Chef EdB
Over 50 years in food service business 35 as Ex Chef. Specializing in Volume upscale Catering both on and off premise .(former Exec. Chef in the largest on premise caterer in US  with 17 Million Dollars per year annual volume). 
      Well versed in all facets of Continental Cuisine...

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post #7 of 20
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.
post #8 of 20

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..... 

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #9 of 20
"Catering style"
post #10 of 20

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.

post #11 of 20

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

"Ars Est Celare Artem"

 

True art, is to conceal art......

 

https://www.instagram.com/smokehouse_84/

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"Ars Est Celare Artem"

 

True art, is to conceal art......

 

https://www.instagram.com/smokehouse_84/

Reply
post #12 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by solwinds View Post
 

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.


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.

Gourmandise is an impassioned, rational and habitual preference for all objects that flatter the sense of taste.
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Gourmandise is an impassioned, rational and habitual preference for all objects that flatter the sense of taste.
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post #13 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by EverydayGourmet View Post
 

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


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

Gourmandise is an impassioned, rational and habitual preference for all objects that flatter the sense of taste.
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Gourmandise is an impassioned, rational and habitual preference for all objects that flatter the sense of taste.
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post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by helloitslucas View Post
 


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.

I concur 100%. 

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

Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Dr.Seuss

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post #15 of 20
Don't be too hard on the OP, kids. Check out his original "kitchen nightmare" thread
post #16 of 20

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

"Ars Est Celare Artem"

 

True art, is to conceal art......

 

https://www.instagram.com/smokehouse_84/

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"Ars Est Celare Artem"

 

True art, is to conceal art......

 

https://www.instagram.com/smokehouse_84/

Reply
post #17 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by solwinds View Post
Its left on the side to cool down before going into the fridge though, and I'm sure that's the most dangerous part.

 

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.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #18 of 20

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

Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
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post #19 of 20

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

post #20 of 20
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.
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