I am often asked to provide extensive information about building safety, but when it comes to the need for designing and planning Food Service Facilities, food safety is often put on the back burner.
For years I have understood the needs and requirements for qualified Food Service Facilities and more recently I’ve learned even more about the legalities of the Food Handling process. As a result, I’ve become cautious of the hands that feed me and after reading this article you will too.
My training and experience in designing and planning both Residential and Commercial Kitchens taught me that running a Commercial Kitchen is an entirely different animal than running a residential kitchen. Commercial kitchens are typically designed for the preparation of large quantities of food prepared by multiple people. Commercial kitchens are designed to accommodate the various functions of food prep – to ensure that food is stored at the proper temperatures, to eliminate cross contamination of food, and to ensure the convenience of hygienic activities such as hand washing, dish and utensil washing and also overall cleaning.
Caterers must prepare food in an approved facility. If they do not have their own facility, they can rent space in one of the local Incubator Kitchens (facilities for caterers that don't have a legal place to prepare food). Some Caterers also rent out church kitchens to prepare their food for events. But whatever the case, you must be aware of the hands that feed you.
Let’s say you attend a public event and a caterer is serving food. Do you dig right in or do you inquire about their company, their facilities, and their overall service? As the late President Ronald Reagan once said "Trust, but verify". Verify that all Chefs are ServeSafe Certified (they have been trained about the importance of food handling, food safety, safe preparation, and qualified preparation facilities). Verify that the Caterers have Food Handlers Licenses, Safety Permits and the food was prepared at a licensed facility (or at the very least, they obtained a temporary license to vend at that event).
Why is all this necessary? It's necessary because your health and safety is important. This verification process may not equate to a 100% guarantee, but following these steps will provide you with an extra layer of assurance, protection, and safety – food safety. Restaurants, Caterers, and anyone who prepares food for public consumption, must follow these rules.
Here are a few suggestions if you’re unsure about a Chef or Caterer's preparation facility:
As a specialist in Commercial Kitchens, Restaurants, and Food Facility Design and Planning, I am available if you are a Chef or a Caterer looking to open a Restaurant, Cafe or Food Service Facility. Feel free to contact The Foodie Builder at (267)702-0810.