Canadian Pizza Magazine

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The Pizza Dude: Inspections Online

Inspections Online


March 25, 2008
By Roberto Vergalito

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First of all, before I even get to my article this
month, I would like to tell all my readers that I am now the proud
father of a baby boy.

First of all, before I even get to my article this month, I would like to tell all my readers that I am now the proud father of a baby boy.

Sebastian Patrick was born on June 2, weighing 6 pounds 13 ounces. Both mom and son are home, healthy and soon enough he’ll be flipping pizzas high in the air.

Now, here’s something that I wanted to talk about in this issue: how about the local health department displaying our restaurant inspection reports on the Internet?

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I know, like all of my fellow pizzaiolos out there, we are very protective of our pizzerias and we work our butts off to keep our kitchens as clean as possible. I really don’t have a problem with the health department posting my inspection report on the web, but what worries me is the wording of the reports.

If a kitchen is not in compliance just because we didn’t have a thermometer in the pizza table or something stupid like that, will our customers understand what that means? Or, will they be deterred from my pizzeria just because they read that something was not “in compliance” at the time of the inspection?

My guess is that this will have a two-tiered effect on the industry. For starters, we pizzaiolos who keep our kitchens in tip top shape, won’t have to worry. When our customers see that our kitchens are in compliance with all of the health department’s requirements, it will make them more at ease when ordering from us.

Pizzerias that are not in compliance will end up losing a lot of customers.

On the other hand, it is very difficult for a lot of busy pizzerias to keep up with certain things like making sure the temperature in a pizza table or walk-in cooler are up to par 100 per cent of the time. That’s not to say they wouldn’t be perfect on different days or during slower times, but who’s to say the inspector won’t let us get away with not having a thermometer where it’s supposed to be. Or maybe our kitchen might look like it just needs a “fresh face,” but is still clean. Will we be found not in compliance and will the customer understand what that actually means?

My friends, I can’t stress enough, keep your kitchens, coolers and freezers clean and don’t let the health department get the better of you. We have to make our own living and unless we pay top dollar for benefits, we don’t get squat. Not to mention, as independents, we don’t even have a corporate pension plan.

So do yourself a favor, these inspectors work for the government and have all that good stuff we don’t: 40-hour workweek, health benefits, pension plans and vacations. We have to earn it the hard way.  We control our destiny so let’s not let the government decide it for us.

Now that we got that out of the way, seeing as this issue is on pizza toppings, we have a wide variety to choose from. My latest pizza that has taken off is with prosciutto and baby spinach.  You can also use arugula.

Have a great and prosperous summer. I’m the pizza dude.•


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