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        Food safety, taught simply.


Southern Pecan Maple Bread Pudding
Roasted Pecan Bourbon Sauce
Orange Scented Chantilly Cream

Yields: 8-10 servings
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30-45 minutes
Total Time: Approximately 2 hours

Bread Pudding
1/2 loaf white bread
1 pint heavy cream
1 cup pecan-flavored coffee creamer (if unable to find a suitable creamer, use Torani Caramel syrup and reduce the amount to ½ cup).
3 eggs
1 cup white granulated sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
3 Tbsp. Maple Syrup

Tear bread into one inch pieces and toast in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. While bread is toasting, combine all other ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mix until the sugar is dissolved completely. Once the bread is toasted, combine with the custard and toss and let sit until all the liquid is absorbed into the bread. Grease 14 (4 oz.) muffin tins with a non-stick cooking spray and place in a 350 degree oven in a water bath. Bake for 30-45 minutes until the bread is golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Hold warm until ready to serve.

Roasted Pecan Bourbon Sauce
2 qt. bourbon
1 cup white granulated sugar
½ cup pomegranate juice
¼ cup grape jelly
1 cup butter roasted pecans
1Tbsp. brown sugar
¼ cup melted butter
¼ cup peach schnapps

Bring bourbon to a boil. Whisk in sugar and grape jelly until both ingredients are dissolved. Add pomegranate juice and peach schnapps. Turn sauce down to a simmer and reduce by half or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. For the pecans, toss them in melted butter and 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar. Roast at 350 degrees for ten minutes. Stir in roasted pecans to the sauce. Hold warm until ready to serve.

Orange Scented Chantilly Cream
1 pint heavy whipping cream
2 Tbsp. Triple Sec
1 cup powdered sugar

Combine cream and triple sec in mixing bowl. Whip on high speed until soft peaks form. Add powdered sugar and continue whipping until medium peaks form. Keep chilled until ready to serve.

Note: Fresh peaches and melted chocolate compliment the bread pudding, if desired.
Note: Some of the roasted pecans may be put into the bread pudding itself for texture and more pecan flavor, if desired.

Christopher Scott Rumley
Associate's Degree in Occupational Studies, Culinary Institute of America
Bachelor's Degree in Professional Studies, Culinary Institute of America
Hyde Park, New York
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What to do to be prepared for your health inspection
The proper strategy for a successful health inspection is to be ready for an inspection at any time. To stay ahead of the game, managers can conduct timely, in-house inspections before the health inspector arrives.

Use the same form ̶ or a similar form that your health department uses, and put yourself in the health inspector's place. If a copy of this form is needed please let us know and we can send one over! The inspection form also contains reference numbers pertaining to certain sections in the NC Food Code Manual, and if you need help looking up certain items or have questions interpreting the NC Food Code Manual so you are ready for the next inspection, please LET US KNOW! We are only a phone call or email away!
Prior to the self-inspection review the last inspection or two done by the health department. You want to be sure any violations observed previously are corrected and will not be an issue for any future inspections. A trust issue will easily develop, causing problems for many future inspections, if your inspector sees something that was not fixed from a previous inspection. Also keep in mind he/she will dock the foodservice operation the maximum points if recurring/repeat violations are present!
Walk into your establishment from the outside when starting the self inspection to get an outsider's impression. Walk around the building and look for signs of pests not only at your establishment but also others if you share a building. Other business owners would want to be aware of the same problems you could face if the pests are not taken care of. Pests will spread if not contained. Keep in mind you also want to look for wasps and yellow jackets in the ground and bushes as well as nooks in all entrances for customers who may be allergic to these insects.
Brief your kitchen staff to review any problems after the self-inspection. This will help convey the importance of food safety to staff members. This could also identify any training gaps with staff that may need to be reinforced so as not to have the same problems over and over again and a standard is set within the operation.
Ensure all staff members are on the same page. Train staff immediately if you find issues. If your staff includes employees for whom English is a second language, have the findings translated so everyone understands how important food safety is to the success of your restaurant. If you need training items in different languages please contact us and we can likely have the material translated appropriately!
Know your priorities. Your self-inspection priorities for kitchen employees should include: food time and temperatures, personal hygiene (including hand washing) and cross contamination. Temperature guidelines include checking the temperature of products when they arrive, when they are stored (also stored in the correct order), when they are cooked, and when they are served. Please let us know if you need a copy of proper food storage that can easily be printed and posted on the refrigerator or walk-in.
Reinforce the importance of hand washing and no bare hand contact with ready to eat foods. Post signs at all kitchen sinks and in employee restrooms. Provide utensils and gloves for handling of ready to eat foods. Most of all, lead by example: if you expect your staff to wash their hands each time they enter the kitchen or change tasks, you have to do the same.

What to do when a health inspector visits
Don't panic when an inspector arrives. You and your staff should not scramble. Remember, you already prepared the staff and the facility by doing self-inspections. Think of the visit as a learning opportunity to help your operation to reduce the risk and liability associated with serving the public. To make the inspection a positive experience, follow these guidelines:

Ask to see the inspector's credentials if you do not recognize the inspector or he/she doesn't volunteer his/her credentials first. In some cases, people have tried to pass themselves off as health officials. If you're unsure of the person's credentials, call the local health department or the inspector's supervisor for verification. Ask whether the purpose of the visit is a regular inspection or due to a customer complaint. Train your employees to check identification before allowing anyone to enter the back of your operation.
Don't refuse an inspection (it seems obvious but you do have this right, especially if you do not recognize the inspector). Keep in mind in doing so, the health inspector likely will obtain an inspection warrant, which allows him/her to inspect your establishment without your consent.
Tag along with the inspector and take notes of any violations or suggestions. This gives you the chance to correct simple problems on the spot and most likely the health inspector will note your willingness to fix problems. Also, if the inspector has a question, you may be able to explain your methods and avoid a violation. Be prepared to provide any information or records that the inspector needs and answer the inspector's questions truthfully. Most likely if you do not tell the truth, your health inspector will eventually find out and not trust anything else you say. Don't be afraid to ask the health inspector questions or to explain why something is a violation but on the other hand, don't delay him/her from doing the inspection. If you do not receive clarification on a violation feel free to contact us and we can interpret the health inspector lingo!
Refrain from offering any food or any other item that can be misconstrued as an attempt to influence the inspector's findings.
Sign the inspector's report after the inspection. Signing it doesn't mean that you agree to the findings; it only means that you received a copy of the report.
Ask the inspector to explain his findings to your staff, or share the inspection results with your employees and offer suggestions on areas that need improvement. If the inspector has time, this could be a good learning experience for your staff.
Thank the health inspector for their time and help. Yep, oddly enough we said say "THANK YOU" to your health inspector! No job done well is easy-that includes running a successful food facility or being a health inspector. Showing your appreciation without going overboard will foster a good relationship.

Bartenders: Outsider Looking In

    It's Friday night, the work week is over, and the thought of relaxation has set in.  What to do?  Go home and watch a movie?  Go to Bed?  Go dancing?  There are many ways in which patrons like to spend their Friday nights after a long and stressful work week.  One of the most common activities these professionals engage in is having a drink at their favorite watering hole, served with a flare by a passionate bartender, or a nice person who can pop the top and talk shop. Bartenders are famous for two things: preparing delicious cocktails, and creating long-lasting relationships with their patrons. Most bartenders are warm, friendly, and good listeners.  

    Although the bartender understands that a chef handles food constantly they don't realize that ice and garnishes are considered food.  Also most bar areas have sinks to properly clean and sanitize the drinkware.  So unfortunately they can also be famous for disregarding proper food safety practices if the knowledge of proper food handling simply is not there.  This lack of understanding can be attributed to many things including lack of managemant supervision, proper traning, customer demands (we have all been there), and overwhelming peaks in customer counts (a good problem), just to name a few.  

    Recently, a friend of ours went to eat a a busy popular restaurant, and he/she observed its bartenders disregarding certain aspects of food safety to its paying customers, their self included. To give you an idea, here are some practices that the patron noticed: touching dirty plates and then placing a garnish on a cutomer's drink without previously washing his/her hands; improperly washing, rinsing and sanitizing glassware; and allowing waitstaff to garnish their own beverages for service.  Remember customers don't normally watch the chef make their food but they do often watch the barkeep make drinks. wash glasses, wash hands, etc. 

    Of course it can be challenging for our "happy drink" providers to think about safe food handling practices, especially when three deep at the bar, but most commonly we find that bartenders and waitstaff are overlooked when food safety training is concerned.  Managers and supervisors, alike, often forget that food safety does not end in the kitchen;  instead, food safety covers all aspects of a restaurant setting. The restaurant mentioned previously is not intended to run down bartenders; rather, its purpose is to provide an eye opener for managers to train every staff member to uphold  the same priciples and standards of safety, whether the employee is making a drink, cooking chicken penne pasta, or simply taking out the trash. As long as restaurant employees are given the tools and knowledge to be successful, there are no limits to safe customer satisfaction.  Be an example, be passionate, and please let us know if we can with any questions on bar food safety.


Preventing Allergies during the holidays

Holidays such as Thanksgiving revolve solely around food; therefore, it can truly be challenging for families and restaurant managers especially when small children and food allergies are brought into the equation.  The traditional meal for a family can present numerous allergy risks and the risks can be even greater if the food items are not prepared in the home, but outsourced to a catering company or restaurant Chef.  Is there any way around the stress and pressure of a holiday known for allergen-laden foods?  Can foods be prepared and handled in a way to keep them safe for your food-allergic kids?  The answer is yes! Below are a few simple and helpful tips on how to make this year’s Thanksgiving meal a raging success without the additional worries.

  • ·         Invite your children to help make his/her own special Thanksgiving dish with allergen-free ingredients.
  • ·         Separate the dishes that contain allergens from allergen-free dishes. Label each of them in a way that clearly identifies it.
  • ·         If using a catering company, restaurant, or private chef to prepare your Thanksgiving meal, clearly communicate your children’s food allergies to the person in charge.
  • ·         Consider incorporating fun activities for you and your family to enjoy together in order to take focus off of the individuals with allergens. Food is an important aspect of Thanksgiving, but does not have to be the only focal point of the occasion.
  • ·         Be sure you fully communicate your allergy to the chef, however let that communication be the end of it. Avoid constantly bringing it up during dinner and instead focus on the glory and feast of the day
  • ·         Consult with your allergist for recipes and ideas on how you can best approach the holidays.
  • ·         When traveling to someone else’s house, let the host know that you don’t want the chef to alter the menu (if that could pose a problem) and that you are happy to bring your own food. Find out where you can reheat dishes and maintain your food during the celebration.
  • ·         Don't forget about drinks especially specialty drinks during the holidays. Some (like eggnog) have certain elements that you are allergic to but may not be overtly obvious.

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