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Certifiably So

On the road to accomplishing my dreams, I had to do some research to assist with making my dreams a reality. While doing my research, I discovered that if I wanted to LEGALLY sell food to customers in Chicago, that at least one person at the establishment would need to have earned their ServSafe® Food Protection Manager Certification. If I wanted to open a restaurant, a food truck, a food stand on the corner, this certification is just as important as having a business license.

I was fortunate enough to find that the class was being offered at one of the community colleges. The cost of the course, book, and exam fee was under $400USD.

Day 1 of the class I learned that I didn’t know what I thought I knew about food safety. For instance, I would thaw the meat, seafood, or poultry out by simply taking the package out of the freezer and placing it in the kitchen sink. After the package was placed in the sink, I would wiz off to work or where ever my heart guided me that day. I learned that I should have thawed the food in the refrigerator, or under the proper temperature of running water, or in the microwave, or in the cooking process. There is more to thawing food properly than just taking it out of the refrigerator making sure is isn’t sitting on the counter.

Over two days, I learned about FAT TOM (and no FAT TOM is not a person). I learned the proper order to store food in hot or cold storages places.

Many people repurposed turkey leftovers after the holidays. I wonder how many ensured they didn’t keep that turkey salad around longer than 7 days from the earliest cooked ingredient.

Yes, the first day made me rethink my dreams. By the end of the class, I was confident that I could serve great tasting food with true care & attention. As an added bonus, I was the self-proclaimed food safety police at a potluck lunch. You can do that when you are the only person in the room certified for the next 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 years.

I encourage anyone who cooks to take this course. I promise you won’t see cooking the same again.

For more information about the certification in your city and or state, contact your local restaurant association. You may also find more information at ServSafe’s website.

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