Monthly Archives: July 2014

How to Sharpen Your Chef’s Knife

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Most chefs know that a sharp knife is a safe knife. That’s because a sharp knife requires significantly less pressure to be applied for it to do its job. Dull knives require more, making them more likely to slip and cause injury. Most chefs also know that a sharp knife is also an efficient knife that will help you improve your cooking and make your job in the kitchen a lot easier. Cutting jobs simply go much faster with sharper knives. Sharp commercial cutlery will also enable you to create more uniform cuts, which will aid in more even cooking and improve the taste of your dishes.

Honing vs. Sharpening

If you have a higher quality set of knives, you may have honing steel. That’s the long, abrasive steel rod with a handle that you see TV chefs running their knives across. The honing steel is a tool made to maintain the edge of blade, to keep it smooth and straight. It isn’t for sharpening and shouldn’t be used as a substitute for sharpening. Use it once every few cutting jobs to maintain the quality of the cutting edge.

Sharpening Your Kitchen Knives

If used with regularity, you should sharpen your blades about every 60 days, especially the most used ones like your chef’s knife. The best way to sharpen your knives is with a whetstone. There are other methods, especially sharpening machines, but they tend to grind away too much of the blades surface, which will greatly reduce the knives useful lifespan.

Five Steps to a Sharp Knife

A good set of well-maintained knives should last you a long time. Here are the five steps to caring for your blades.

  1. Lay the whetstone on a cutting board or non-slip counter top with the coarse side facing up
  2. Grasp the handle in one hand and hold the edge of the blade to the surface of the stone with the other at about a 22 ½ degree angle
  3. With medium pressure slide the blade forward and across the stone. Left to right or right to left will depend on whether you are right- or left-handed. Maintain both pressure and angle as you run the entire length of the blade across the stone. Do this 10 times on each side of the blade
  4. Flip the stone over so that the fine side is facing up and apply 10 similar strokes to each side of the blade
  5. Finally, apply five to eight strokes per side with a honing steel. Be sure to maintain the same 22 ½ degree angle used for sharpening

Rinse the blade under water and carefully (it’s sharp) dry with a soft cloth or towel. Your knives are now as sharp, or sharper, than when you first bought them.

8 Food Safety Tips for your Kitchen

cambroEvery restaurant wants to provide not only the best tasting food, but food that is safe to consume. Below are 10 food safety tips you should follow to ensure you are protecting your employees and restaurant customers alike.

1. Wash your hands. Those that prepare the food in a restaurant should be regularly washing their hands. This should especially be done before and after handling any raw foods. Contact after working with raw meats or produce can infect already cooked items.

2. Wash your produce. Wash produce, even if it looks clean. If eating a fruit that can be peeled, scrub the surface to be sure any germs on the outside do not make their way into the interior section.

3. Use clean plates. Serve food on clean plates or trays. If surfaces used for raw meats are not cleaned correctly before cooked meats are placed there afterwards, bacteria are spread.

4. Replace serving plates. If fresh food is placed on an old tray, then the food becomes contaminated.

5. Take advantage of food thermometers. Use a food thermometer and be aware of Minimum Cooking Temperatures for each item. If an exact temperature is not provided, know the characteristics of the food to know when it is ready to serve. For example, different seafood items have certain colors or textures once they are prepared properly.

6. Find the right hot temperature. Keep your hot foods at 140 degrees F or above by using the right restaurant equipment and supplies. Before cooking, thaw frozen meat in a fridge, microwave, or under running water.

7. Find the right cold temperature. Keep your cold foods at 40 degrees F or below. Foods – hot or cold – should never sit out on a counter for longer than two hours.

8. Use two cutting boards. Be sure to have two cutting boards in the kitchen – one for raw meats and one for ready-to-eat foods. This will keep the risk of cross-contamination at bay. Many commercial kitchens use color coded cutting boards and knives to help alleviate this problem.

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