The Anatomy of a Kitchen Knife

August 27th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Without a knife, creating a signature entrée with perfection is next to impossible. A chef would not be able to cut the ingredients precisely, the meals cooked would lack finesse, and in all honesty the lives of chefs all over the world would be a lot more challenging if knives didn’t exist.
Parts of a Knife
A knife consists of 8 different parts. Each plays an important role. Although the shape and size of a knife differs depending on its make and use, the basic anatomy is the same for each one. The parts include:

• Tip
• Edge
• Spine
• Heel
• Bolster
• Tang
• Handle
• Butt

Tip
The tip of a knife is the top point, or the front part of the knife’s blade. It is used for most of the cutting and is used for separating usable ingredients from the remaining waste. Most chefs and cooks use knives with a very sharp tip for cutting meat and poultry.
Edge
The edge is the part which extends from the tip of the blade till the bottom of it. The edge is sharp as it is crucial not only for the slicing and chopping of ingredients, but also for the safety of the person behind the knife. This is because if the knife is not sharp, the user will apply pressure and could end up getting hurt as the knife can slip, fall, or even spring upwards.
Spine
The spine of the knife is the line formed on top of the blade which is on the opposite of the edge.
Heel
Heel is the bottom of the blade, of the rear of the blade. It is used for cutting through tough products which require a lot of strength and force.
Bolster
A bolster is a portion under the heel and above the handle, which sort of looks like a neck. It is only found as a part of forged knives. The bolster is a band of steel which is thick and plays a huge part in balancing the knife.
Tang
The tang extends from the heel of the blade in to the middle of the handle. This part of the blade is kept as a part of the knife as it also plays a vital role in the balancing of the knife in the user’s hand. Majority of knives have a tang which is ½ cm or ¾ cm in size. Knives which have a tang with full length are considered to be superior knives.
Handle
Also known as scales, the handle helps the user maintain a better grip over the knife so that it is easier to handle and control. Handles or scales can be made from different material including wood, stainless steel, or plastic.
Butt
The butt of the knife is the rear end of the knife.
What kind of knives do you prefer? Do you have a favorite?

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Identifying Greenwashing

August 20th, 2015 by Amanda | No Comments »

Most manufacturers and growers have become environmental friendly because in the end it helps them save money and reusable resources. Unfortunately, despite the practicality, some organizations and individuals falsely claim that they are changing their ways by applying these methods just to get more sales. In fact, there’s so much of if going on that they had to coin a term for the heinous act. False green advertising to mislead customers is referred to as greenwashing.
How Can We Identify Greenwashing?
So how does one identify greenwashing? Once identified, which steps can be implemented?
There have been some signs identified as common forms of greenwashing. If you can spot any one or all, it is likely that the green the provider is claiming is a front. These signs include:
• Fibbing – Business would use a fake certification by involving a third party. These third parties would pretend to be environmentally friendly organizations such as EcoLogo.
• Irrelevance – Meaningless or irrelevant claims made, for example, products are ‘CFC free’. In reality, there are no products manufactured that contain chlorofluorocarbons.
• Vagueness – Assume that there is a product named ‘Eco-Gadget’. The product label should explain why the term ‘eco’ is used its name. If there is no such explanation as to why the product is eco-friendly, then the claim of is vague. This should raise questions regarding the credibility of the product, meaning that there might be something fishy.
• No Proof – A product label should be visible that provides information or evidence that the product is eco-friendly. Lack of proof is a sure-shot way of knowing the provider is greenwashing.
• Hidden Trade-offs- Just because a product is ‘green’ in a particular area, doesn’t mean that it’s green in other areas too. There is a possibility that the product is forest friendly, but, at the same time, it may not be transport friendly. Products which have been labeled as green products are friendly in many different categories to quite an extent. There could be possible hidden trade-offs behind the product if it is not friendly in many or all areas.
Products sold as safe and friendly products include, bio-plastics, bleach-free papers, and green cleaners. To make sure that these products are what they claim to be, there are a couple of signs to lookout for.
Bio-plastics
Manufacturers use terms like ‘100% compostable’ or ‘completely biodegradable’ when they talk about new bio-plastic products. Yet, just sounding friendly does not prove that the product actually is what it claims to be. To identify authenticity, the product needs to receive BPI Certification. This certification proves that the tested product meets all standards of the Biodegradable Products Institute. You will see their logo on the product if it’s passed BPI standards.

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Benefits of using Energy-Efficient Hoods in the Kitchen

August 13th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Most Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems consume about 28% of all the energy used in commercial kitchens. HVAC systems, if you already aren’t aware, make it possible for fumes and heat to escape from inside the kitchen into an open area.
However, there are things that you can do to save your budget and the environment. With some minor changes to your kitchen, you can save up to 30% on utility bills by preserving resources like energy and water.
The ‘Right’ Hood
Before you decide on a HVAC system, make sure you know if it is the best choice for your kitchen, efficiency wise.
Also, before you consider buying or retrofitting a hood, you should know that the right hood will save you money on your overall utility bills.
After you have selected an efficient hood, it is time to get a variable speed vent installed. The vent helps in cutting back on ventilation costs. Approximately, between 30-50% when the fans are adjusted. Since you can control the fan’s speed now, you can determine when to turn it lower or faster. Using it according to your needs saves extra resources and does not let them go to waste.
The third thing which you need to get are side panels. These panels help reduce cross drafts by allowing the air to be drawn from the front.
The fourth step is the proximity hood. Eyebrow, back-shelf, and pass-over hoods require lower amount of energy consumption than a standard hood which has been mounted. However, you must keep in mind that such proximity hoods are not built for solid fuel.
Now you need to get an overhang. Though it is a bit large in size, yet it is very useful. Overhangs help by capturing more exhaust. The more exhaust is captured, the less amounts of fumes and gases in the atmosphere.
Do not forget to be on the lookout for UL listed hoods. These usually operate at a much lower power, consuming the least amount of energy.
Save and Rearrange
Even the simplest move of rearranging your kitchen settings can help you save energy. All you need to do is push some of the equipment back towards the wall. This will help in the reduction of heat, fumes, and cross draft. This will prevent the hood(s) from overwork.
Another smart move is to move all heavy appliances, like broilers towards the center. The benefit of placing a heavy duty appliance in the center is that the fumes and heat can escape faster. While the other workstations which are occupied experience less pollution.
Your Gain
By following this guideline, not only will you be able to improve your proximity hood’s efficiency, you will also reduce the amount of work required by your hood. This will save you money on your bills and a lot of energy from being spent. Reduction in fumes and heat results in happy customers and allow your employees to work with more efficiency and dedication.

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5 Energy Saving Tips to Reduce your Commercial Kitchen Bills

August 6th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Commercial kitchens consume three times more energy than other types of commercial buildings or space according to the FPL.
30% of the energy in commercial kitchens is consumed by HVAC systems, whereas 29% goes into food preparation, 19% on refrigeration, 9% on water heating, 7% is used by equipment, 4% on lighting, and 2% amounts for everything else according to Energyright.
You can save yourself from paying extra money by saving up to 30% on energy bills. In order to do so, you must replace standard kitchen equipment with efficient equipment so fewer resources are consumed. The fewer resources you use, the more you save.
1. Purchase and Use Energy Efficient Appliances
Unlike standard appliances, energy efficient appliances, in a typical kitchen can help save up to $15,000 a year by cutting back on utility bills. This is because efficient appliances consume less energy, are more cost effective, and can be used as per need. The amount of money which is saved along with the preserved resources can then be utilized within the kitchen for other purposes.
2. Equipment Maintenance
Kitchen appliances have a life span of 10-15 years. During those years, if the equipment is not looked after properly it starts to lose its efficiency. When they are not efficient anymore, their amount of energy consumption, total output, and of course efficiency starts to vary. Because the efficiency of the equipment is not properly stable, your utility bill will see a lot of unstable increase.
However, equipment can be maintained through regular cleaning, changing of filters, replacement of parts, etc. The appliance will then remain efficient for a longer period of time.
3. Proper Ventilation Makes a Difference in Utility Bills
In order to save money on bills, you can install efficient hoods and a proper HVAC system. The most appropriate HVAC system should be installed because it’s a cost effective method of saving energy and other resources. Similarly, hoods play a major role in the usage of energy and are a major consumer of the 30% of energy that’s consumed. They are important as they allow fumes which are given off by the equipment and which are present in the premise an exit. Switching to efficiency hoods and HVAC systems mean that there will be a reduction in the bill.
4. Conservation of Hot Water
Using hot water can raise your utility bills as compared to using normal or cold water. This is because you do not need to turn on the water heater when you use cold water.
The longer the heater or the furnace runs the more money you will have to pay in the form of bills.
5. Start-up and Shut-Down System
Creating and maintaining a proper start-up and shut-down system will help you save a lot of money. This is because you eliminate extra and un-needed appliance use. By doing so, you will save many resources and cut back money on your utility bills. You will also be able to manage the amount of energy consumed by your appliances to quite an extent.
Which techniques do you use to save some cash?

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3 Ways to Avoid Commercial Kitchen Chemical Hazards

July 30th, 2015 by Amanda | No Comments »

In a commercial kitchen, it is always very important to keep employees and staff members informed about possible hazards and their causes at the workplace.
This is because a hazard can occur at anytime, and the reason behind it could be negligence of warning signs. In order to prevent hazards in commercial kitchens, training should be given from day one.
By sharing plans, information, and processes with consistency, a transparent environment will be established from the very first day at work. That transparency will help employees seek the aid of one another, and it will help them have a better understanding of what to do in a certain situation.
To avoid chemical hazards in a commercial kitchen, a hazard communication program should be carried out. This program includes training in which all employees are familiarized with chemicals. This includes the chemicals which are used, ordered, or currently present in the kitchen. They are also taught how to maintain a safe distance, and if needed, how to evacuate the premise. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has provided standards for food serving operations in order to develop a preventive program. There are three parts to this program:
1. Written Hazard Communication
Although it may not be needed, it is always wise to write labels in bold fonts and highlight them so that they are easy to see. This includes signs, warnings, stickers, or any such label which will tell the next person that there are chemicals in this container so you must be very careful.
All chemicals should be properly labeled, spelling should be accurate, and all employees must know which chemical is used for what. Charts and posters can be hanged up on walls with pictures to make things for easier.
The following chemical types fall under hazardous and must not be taken lightly:
• Agents causing temporary or permanent damage to the lungs, eyes, skin, or membrane (mucous)
• Corrosives
• Neurotoxins
• Irritants
• Carcinogens
• Toxic Agents
• Reproductive Toxins
2. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
For every hazardous chemical which is present in the premise, there must be MSDS. When the chemicals are ordered, the sheet will be provided by the supplier which contains the following information:
• The manufacturer’s name
• The exposure limit
• The common and chemical terms of the substance
• Primary means of entry (inhalation)
• Precautions for safe handling (regarding storage, use, and disposal)
• Physical hazards (such as combustibility)
• Physical and chemical characteristics of the hazardous ingredients (odor, appearance, pressure)
• Health hazards
• First aid and emergency procedures
• Date the MSDS was prepared
• Contact information for the chemical manufacturer
MSDS are not needed for the following:
• Articles (plastic chairs)
• Drugs (solid form)
• Personal food
• Retail food, alcohol, and cosmetics
• Tobacco products
• Used consumer products (pencils)
• Wood or wooden products (excluding saw dust)
3. Employee Training
All employees must be familiar with all the chemicals, their side effects, purpose, etc. They must also know how to use MSDS in a tensed situation and read the information provided on it. They must also be able to identify the different chemicals, and point out according to their warning sign and labels which is which. Lastly, proper and detailed demonstrations must be done in workshops to brief the employees on how to manage these situations professionally.

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Investing in Green Appliances for your Commercial Kitchen

July 23rd, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Commercial kitchens use up a lot of energy. In fact, the food service sector spends up to $10 million only on energy bills. But, because of inefficient equipment, 75%-80% of it goes to waste as it is consumed for no purpose at all.
Changes, such as using green appliances, help save important resources like energy and water, while proving to be beneficial for the business. This situation can be described in a simple phrase, “Think about tomorrow before you buy today.”
Most appliances found in a commercial kitchen have a life expectancy of somewhere between 10-15 years. Along this time frame, its energy consumption, amount of efficiency, and output vary due to many different factors.
Savings on utility bills are shown in a simple chart right below. Based off results, it can be established that energy efficient appliances save up to 25-27% in overall utility savings.

Equipment Type Standard Equipment Energy-Efficient Equipment Amount of $ Saved (annually)
Reach-in Refrigerator $200.00 $97.00 $113.00
Reach in-Freezer $34.00 $25.00 $9.00
Steamer $1,169.00 $806.00 $363.00
Toaster $406.00 $182.00 $224.00
Fryer (gas) $767.00 $438.00 $329.00
Convection Oven (gas) $325.00 $163.00 $162.00
Water Heater $3,539.00 $22,882 $657.00
Ice Machine $7,657.00 $6,425.00 $1,232.00

As seen, it is very easy to save a lot of money through energy efficient equipment. In this case, it added up to a little over $3,000. This money can now be utilized towards other needs and resources.
These are results from just eight appliances. Just think about how much you would save when all appliances are energy-efficient.
But results wouldn’t just come in. It is very important that all employees are given training in how to use these appliances. Asides employee training, it is important that proper maintenance is adhered to.
Tax Breaks
Tax can be a huge pain, but, if you decide to settle on something like an appliance which is saving you more than it is costs, then your pain can be somewhat eased. Under the act of 2005 Energy Policy, those who installed energy saving appliances get extra credit on their taxes.
Healthier Environment
Greener appliances can make a huge difference to the health of your staff, the hygiene of the food, and to the health of your customers too. Since these energy saving appliances do not consume a lot of resources, their impact is less harmful. They produce less carbon dioxide, harmful gasses, and chemicals.
Durability Guaranteed
Since these appliances are green, the materials which have been used in their making are lighter, and more cost effective. They are of better material, with high quality. They last longer than standard appliances which aren’t as durable.
Go green and you can save a lot more than you had expected.

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Tips to Manage Fats, Oils, and Grease in your New Kitchen

July 16th, 2015 by wp | No Comments »

According to researchers, commercial kitchens in US restaurants utilize an estimated 25 billion gallons of cooking oil every single week! What’s left over is a combination of fats, oil, and grease (FOGs) which are dumped in to lines, pipes, sewages, even our water systems. This causes clogs, massive blockages, and leads to overflows which are extremely unhygienic.
Caused overflows not only cause health concerns, they also cause environmental damage. However, with proper management and care, you can easily minimize your expenses and the amount of pollution caused.
Clogs and trouble due to FOG causes concern in four departments work, health, water, and environment. The bursting of pipes can cause severe damage to other pipes underground. It costs a lot of money to replace the pipes.
Minimize Production of FOG
There are precautions and necessary steps which you can take in order to reduce the amount of FOG produced every week. This can be done in three ways:
• Reusing Clean Oil – Oil does not have to be thrown away right away from the skillet. If the oil is clear, with no extra sediments, and no smell, it is reusable.
• Baking Instead of Frying – As compared to fried food, baked food is much healthier, and produces less amount of oil waste. Not just that, baking is energy and cost effective when compared to frying.
• Preventing Spills – Spilt fats and oil can cause problems, someone can fall and hurt themselves and the spill can escape in to the lines and pipes. Ask all staff members to be careful when they are going about their work.
Proper Disposal of FOG
Now that you know how to minimize the production of FOG, it is time to know how to dispose of it properly as well. There are seven different ways in which you can dispose the substance, they are:
• Reuse and Recycle – There are grease handlers who recycle and reuse grease and oil instead of throwing it away. In fact, grease which is of yellow color can be sold for a profit.
• Grease Traps Cleaning – If there are drains or any platforms on which oil or grease fall on, they should be connected to a grease trap or grease separation device. In order for the trap to work efficiently, it should be cleaned weekly so that it does not overflow and lose its efficiency. You can, if you want, sign a contract with a grease handler to take care of the cleaning for you.
• Dry Clean – Using water to clean grease will make it go down the drainage, instead, use food grape paper to help with the grease.
• Properly Dispose of Scrape – A rubber scraper can be really helpful in removing food scraps from dishes before they are placed in the sink to avoid any FOG from being able to pass the grease trap.
• Awareness – Hang signs, pictures, or posters above drains which do not have a grease trap.
• No Garbage Disposal for Grease – Remember, you should never get rid of fatty food or oil through garbage disposals, even if a grease trap is present.

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Safety Tips for Commercial Kitchen Employees

July 9th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Working in a commercial kitchen means handling knives, being exposed to high temperatures, and working with many electrical appliances. Although it’s not likely, but there are always chances are that someone may get hurt or injured.
Even in a professional commercial kitchen, there are chances of accidents, injuries, and burns. This is why it is always best to be safe than sorry. Here are some safety tips for commercial kitchen employees:
Always be prepared for Emergencies
In a world full of knives, flames, and spices, it is always wise to implement emergency plans for natural disasters, fires, accidents, injuries, and all possible situations. The plan should be shared with all employees, old and new, and should be posted on the walls so that all employees can see it.
Furthermore, emergency exits must be easy to find and reach. There should be at least one fire extinguisher on each wall, working sprinklers, first aid kits, and a proper protocol to keep the situation under control.
Handling Chemicals in a Kitchen with Care
Though chefs may not have any interactions with chemicals, the rest of the staff may. Many cleaning agents found in households and commercially, contain high levels of chemicals which are quite volatile. If those chemicals were to be used in a commercial kitchen near flames or in an unsuited temperature, an explosion can occur.
In order to make sure something of this sort does not happen, make sure the staff buys cleaning material made especially for commercial kitchens. While they do so, they must also keep an eye out on the labels upon the bottles for their own wellbeing.
Practice Proper Lifting Techniques
Often, your kitchen staff will have to lift and shift many boxes from here and there. These boxes can be as light as a feather to as heavy as an elephant. In order to avoid strains and sprains caused by heavy lifting and usage of bad posture, proper training should be conducted. Make sure that all employees know the right methods of lifting and placing before they are given the task. This is highly important as they can suffer from serious injuries if they are not careful enough.
Minimizing Body Aches
Standing for hours, running from here to there and dealing with customers can be very stressful and tiring. Many employees get strains, sprains, and body (head) aches from working long shifts while being on their feet for long hours. In order to avoid such a situation, fatigue mats should be used. Not only that, employees should get a 15-minute break every now and then to rest up. They should be forced to have a drink of water, and regain their energy before they start again.
Using Sharp-edged appliances with Caution
Using appliances like knives, machines, dealing with broken glass every day, significantly increase the likelihood of sustaining an injury. In order to avoid such a situation it is best to use safety gear like cut resistant gloves to protect the employee.
Which safety precautions are used in your commercial kitchen?

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Why Choose Green Cleaning for your Commercial Kitchen?

July 2nd, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Everyone wants to be able to save money, resources, and the environment – after all, Earth is our home. Today, almost all commercial kitchens are doing everything possible in order to save.
Green kitchens result in healthier customers, increase in employee productivity, reduction in liability, and there are many other benefits associated with going green.
Protection from Diseases and Conditions
It is hard to believe, but, the products which you use to kill germs and bacteria to keep your commercial kitchen clean are actually killing you. The products contain hard chemicals which pollute the indoor air to at least 2-5 times more as compared to the air outside of the restaurant.
That’s not all, according to The World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of buildings and restaurants face problems with indoor pollution. Another study by WHO states that almost 80% of cancer causing chemicals and toxins are found in the solutions which are used to clean kitchens.
1/3 of such products have chemicals which hurt our health. They even contain chemicals which release toxins at dangerous levels. The toxic vapors which are released can cause several diseases and conditions like:
• Fatigue
• Nausea
• Headaches
• Burns caused by chemicals
• Eye(s) irritation
• Skin irritation
More Benefits
There are several more benefits as to having a cleaner and greener commercial kitchen, like you pay less and get the same results, or even better. Additionally, green products do not have a negative impact on the environment.
To be able to clean perfectly, you can choose several methods for green cleaning. You can even make your very own products as well. Try to avoid single use of items. For example, go for a cleaning cloth which can be recycled or is reusable, like a sponge. Prefer microfiber, unlike normal cleaning rags, these have less chemical usage and they consume a lower amount of water, while giving the same result. Microfiber rags have been designed especially for picking up nasty bacteria even in hard to reach places. By using such materials, and rags, you save water, a resource which can be utilized. The same goes for energy like electricity, instead of being wasted, it is preserved, stored, and used when it is most needed.
If you are unsure of which products are the best, you can always buy certified products. These products are made from environmentally-friendly chemicals and are extracted from minerals and plants. This makes them toxic-free, as well as biodegradable. Such products have been made with a combination of fragrances, wetting agents, emulsifiers, and surfactants. These allow the product to remain chemically balanced without causing any harm to the environment.
All in all, green products are very helpful in a commercial kitchen, as the owner, you may be looking for methods to improve employee productivity along with customer satisfaction. By using these products, your employees and customers benefit, so do you.

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Getting Maximum Efficiency from Fryers

June 25th, 2015 by Tim | No Comments »

Your fryers can actually be more efficient than you might think. To use appliances to their full efficiency, you must work smart, not hard. This will not just save you energy, time, and money. It will also result in your appliance lasting longer.
Be Smart
There are many energy smart solutions which are applicable on appliances like your commercial fryer.
As a commercial kitchen owner, you know that fryers are on for almost 75% of the day. By cutting back during idle hours, you can save up to $250 annually on gas bills. You also save up to $350 annually on your electric bill.
Remember to always check and adjust the thermostats if needed. With time, thermostats become inaccurate. This can cause a lot of problems. As a result, the oil becomes either too hot or too cold. Customers will not be happy because the food will be negatively affected because of hot or cold temperatures.
Turn off unneeded and unwanted fryers when there are fewer amounts of customers in the restaurant. A fryer that’s unnecessary on will only cause you to burn more gas, use more electricity, and waste resources. Remember, a fryer can only take so much at one time, so never overload it. This is because it has a certain capacity. If you do overload it, then the food might come out undercooked.
Maintaining your Fryer’s Efficiency
In order to maintain your fryer’s efficiency, you can apply the following tactics:
• Check and maintain oil temperatures – Most fryers have a built in temperature gauges. They help the individual in charge to constantly check and maintain the temperature. To double check, it is recommended that you get a second thermometer. Since the thermostats lose their efficiency over time, you may want to have one on backup that you use from time to time.
• Degreasing the unit on a regular basis – Grease build-up is essential when fryers are used. However, they decrease the efficiency of the fryer unit, and may cause a breakdown.
• Cleaning and maintaining the heating unit – The cleaning element is a very vital part of the fryer. It helps in running the fryer without any problems and maintains the temperature which you want.
• Monitoring recovery time – Your unit can be in need of replacement if the recovery time is longer than which it previous was.
Remember, fry efficiently for best results.

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