Where’s the Beef?

by kpmautner

Culinary rant. The very first class we took in Pastry School was called ServSafe; essentially it was a class in how not to poison your customers once we went pro. The first class, the first day of classes, was personal hygiene. The Health Department code of every state requires that anyone working with food do the following:

– wear hair completely covered by a cap or hairnet
– wear no jewelry of any kind (this includes earrings, nose rings, necklaces and rings other than ONE plain band – i.e., wedding band with no stones of any kind)
– have nails that are cut short (really short), clean and unpainted

Aside from the obvious things like washing hands obsessively, refraining from working around food when ill, and cross-contaminating food products, these rules are designed to prevent “interesting” objects from appearing in or on a customer’s dish. Yes, it would be neat to find a loose diamond in your scrambled eggs, but think of the dental or doctor bills you might incur!

So tell me why, on a majority of the cooking shows now appearing on television, both women and men appear with long, flowing locks, two-inch long and painted fingernails, and great big engagement rings? Paula Deen and Rachael Ray are two offenders who come to mind. Aside from the dangers of dangling jewelry or hair around moving machinery (ever get a strand of hair caught in a mixer? You’ll never do that again!)

The professional competitors on shows such as Iron Chef and Chopped do honor the code, but I personally would refuse to even sample some of the preparations from some of the other shows. I have found that I am becoming a lot more picky about the environment in which I dine at restaurants, especially after the second week of classes, when we were taught all the “interesting” assorted ailments that can be acquired from mishandled food.