How to handle leftover food in the kitchen?

Leftover food can be a significant cost for your hotel. Managing leftover is one of the key task for the executive chef. In this tutorial, learn how to handle it with care so that you do not end up harming guest.

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If you do not handle leftover food with care, you can end up poisoning guests. So then how do you handle left over so that you can minimize wastage and at the same time keep people safe?

Hello and welcome to yet another tutorial on hotel tutor dot com. We make tutorials and courses to help people working in the hotel industry. In this tutorial, we will answer a question on how to handle leftover food.

Now let me get this straight, food that is time-temperature abused, that is left at a temperature in the food danger zone for more than 4 hours must immediately be discarded. What I am discussing in this video is the food that has not crossed the time limit and has been handled carefully.

There are 2 levers you can use while protecting leftovers. One is time and the other is temperature.

First, let us understand how food becomes unfit for human consumption. Food can get spoilt due to the Growth of harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi in food. Now for all these to grow, you need to give them time. Because they are living organisms, they need to reproduce. And given ambient conditions and time, they thrive and make food unfit for human consumption.

The second level of protection while handling leftover food is to ensure that you maintain the temperature of the food product. The temperature at which bacteria thrive is between 4 degrees Celcius to 60 degrees Celcius. It is called the temperature danger zone.

To maintain the temperature you can keep food hot or cold. You need to understand that even food held at a cool temperature can spoil. The temperature at that bacteria thrives, between 4 degrees Celcius to 60 degrees Celcius is very difficult to achieve in a walk-in refrigerator. If you keep opening the walk-in door, chances are the temperature is not being maintained. Make sure you are maintaining your refrigeration well, servicing the door gaskets and ensuring that the temperature is maintained.

Now while keeping food in the refrigerator, you need to follow a first in first out policy. But more importantly, when in doubt, discard the food item in question. Remember food safety is more important than recycling food to save some money on food cost.

So to summarise, handle leftover food with care.

  • Avoid the time and temperature abuse of the food
  • Use a first in first out policy consistently.
  • Before using the leftovers, check the quality physically. If you see signs of spoilage, like smell, mould or a change in the food colour or texture that is not acceptable discard it.

Keeping the guest safe is our responsibility and handling leftovers safely is our primary task.

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