Mastering Cook Times and Temperatures – $15
This course teaches your food preparers everything they need to know to make sure that foods are cooked to correct internal temperatures. From the basics (knowing the correct temperatures for different foods) to more focused skills (knowing how to use thermometers correctly) to advanced steps (correct internal temperatures for seafood and eggs), all the most important skills for correct food preparation are covered.
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- Know why cooking food to correct internal temperatures is important
- Understand the correct internal temperatures of different foods for safe consumption
- Know how to correctly use thermometers to check the internal temperature of food
- Master the “15 second rule” to assure correct temperature readings
- Understand correct procedures for cooking seafood and eggs
Your patrons do not want to eat foods that are cold or undercooked. Even worse, patrons who eat undercooked meats and shellfish are very likely to become ill.
How difficult is it to cook or heat foods to the proper temperature levels? At first glance, it is tempting to think that there is not much to know about this issue. Any meat thermometer tells you the basics, right? Rare beef should be cooked to an internal temperature of about 150ᴼ Fahrenheit and well-cooked beef to about 170ᴼ. Without exception, pork should be cooked to a well-done internal temperature of at least 175ᴼ. And to be safe, poultry should reach an internal temperature of at least 185ᴼ.
It all sounds pretty simple, right? But in fact it is not, especially in restaurant settings. In order to assure the safety of your dining patrons, your food preparers must be trained in some critical specifics about taking the internal temperatures of meats. These include:
- Knowing about the “15-second window,” which means that unless the correct internal temperature that is shown on a meat thermometer remains steady for 15 seconds (and does not drop), the meat requires more cooking time.
- Having the skill to select the right kind of thermometer and probe for the food that is being prepared. Without this knowledge, incorrect measurements of internal temperature result.
- Knowing where to test meats for internal temperature. In general, the right place to measure is in the thickest part of the food, where it takes the most time to reach the correct temperature.
- Understanding that local laws and regulations may apply. It might be surprising to hear that cities and municipalities sometimes mandate the internal temperatures of meats – pork and chicken especially – that may be served. If your establishment is ignorant of these requirements or does not strictly observe them, you could be cited for a violation.
Training is required to prevent these problems. And again, employees should not only understand the basics, they should be taught to comply with strict protocols and procedures in their work.
What about Safely Preparing Stuffed Poultry, Ground Beef, Eggs and Fish?
Here, things become even more complicated, and training is needed to make sure that food items are safely prepared. How should your cooks measure the internal temperature of a stuffed chicken or turkey, for example? If stuffing has not reached the correct temperature, it could expose diners to bacterial or other contamination. How thoroughly should scrambled eggs, or sauces that contain eggs, be heated? And what about fish? Can a thick serving of salmon remain pink in the middle for example, and what is the safe cooking temperature for thin flounder fillets or scallops? If you are serving raw seafood in an oyster bar or at a sushi restaurant, are there local laws that need to be observed?
All of those questions, and more, need to be addressed carefully in your training.