Business and Operations
Health & Safety
The Pizza Dude: A drop in the bucket
By Roberto Vergalito
A drop in the bucket
By Roberto Vergalito
My kitchen is always clean, but I remember one Friday
not too long ago, I went on a cleaning frenzy – you know, where you get
the places that your staff doesn’t clean. As I finished mopping, the
knock I heard at my back door was not a knock I recognized.
If there’s one thing my mother taught me, it’s “keep your kitchen clean.”
My kitchen is always clean, but I remember one Friday not too long ago, I went on a cleaning frenzy – you know, where you get the places that your staff doesn’t clean. As I finished mopping, the knock I heard at my back door was not a knock I recognized.
When I opened it and saw the health inspector walk in, I was smiling from ear to ear knowing that there was nothing she could bother me about. These words came from her mouth, “This is the cleanest kitchen I’ve ever had the pleasure of walking into.”
I was very satisfied and happy.
You never know when the health inspectors are coming, and it’s hard to keep everything clean all the time, so surface cleaning is quick, easy and, to the untrained eye, acceptable. We are serving food, and cleanliness is very important: from your front window and door, to your kitchen, to your walk-in cooler, to your freezer, stock room and out your back door. It’s very important to clean everywhere.
If you have an open kitchen concept – where your customers can see everything – you must clean, clean and clean some more. The front window, door and counter should be spotless at all times. If they’re not, would you order from that place again?
Your pizza table should be stripped and cleaned out at least four times a week. Take all the containers out, wash them, put them back and refill. The pizza sauce is always getting spilled in the corners, and when left there too long, it can create bacteria, which is obviously not healthy. You don’t want your customers getting sick. If they do, you’ve got big problems.
When you receive your chicken wings, I suggest that when you wash them in your sink, pour some vinegar in with the cold water and let them soak for about 20 minutes. Drain the water and place them in a bucket with holes on the bottom and place that bucket into another, thereby collecting the excess water and blood from the wings.
The kitchen area where you cook your wings is always the messiest. All the grease and fryer oil splashes into every nook and cranny, so make sure your staff cleans underneath the fryers as well. How many times have you looked under there and found a wing or two, along with some fries and so on.
While we’re here, don’t forget to clean the hood fan at least twice a year. If you cook a lot of wings it can get pretty gooey. For this job, I think it’s important that you have a professional from your area come in and clean it from top to bottom. And make sure they clean out the fan component of the hood that would probably be on your roof. The company I use places a sticker on the hood fan after it’s done to assure the fire department that it was professionally cleaned, and will be held liable if they made an error resulting in some tragedy – God forbid anything like that should happen to anyone.
Your walk-in cooler is another bacteria trap that should be cleaned out at least once a week from top to bottom, scrubbed and mopped clean – ceiling, walls, shelves and floor. Bleach can be your friend in this department, as it not only cleans, but also kills bacteria. Make sure to empty and clean out your freezer as well.
If you keep up the cleaning in your establishment, the less you’ll have to clean later. Work clean, be clean and don’t forget that dirtiness and food don’t mix. Always remember, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Customers will see it, and it keeps them coming back. I’m The Pizza Dude. •