Restaurant kitchen crew preparing food.

Today you will find me on page 9 in The Telegraph on the great debate that has taken to twitter by storm about ‘Double Dipping’.

Quote – TV chef Olia Hercules hits back at ‘double dipping’ criticism saying diners ‘get it every time you eat out’ Olia Hercules made the comments after viewers criticised her for using the same spoon a number of times while tasting a sauce on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch show. Source by Mike Wright at The Telegraph…

I am not commenting on this incident but giving a general comment whether all chefs do this all the time when diners eat out in the Daily Telegraph.

Food Hygiene is about common sense most of the time when you prepare and cook food at home or cook live on TV which understandably is tough, you are usually eating your own food and not serving the food to the public to eat so maybe no harm done.

What I don’t agree with is that Olia Hercules states as a fact that ‘diners get it every time you eat out’ that is simple, not true. I have worked in many kitchens on and off for 30 years firstly as a professional chef working in high profile restaurants and hotels and now as a Food Hygiene Expert training chefs to a high level of food hygiene and HACCP development to gain their 5 Star Food Hygiene Rating. Not all professional chefs have bad habits and certainly work to a very high standard in their kitchens. I train many high profile restaurants in and around London and personal hygiene is paramount to Head Chefs and their kitchen brigade in producing safe food for their customers.

Food Hygiene and Safety as a Professional Chef

Food hygiene and safety is about the measures you take as a professional chef to ensure that the production of your food is safe and wholesome for the public to eat. It is not just about a clean kitchen but good personal hygiene and good practices of a chef. High standards of personal hygiene are essential to prevent contamination of food and food poisoning, potential hazards arise from Staphylococcus aureus which is often present on the hands, in the mouth or the nose. As the mouth is likely to harbour Staphylococcus aureus chefs and food handlers should not taste food with a previously used spoon, other bad habits are not to eat sweets, chew gum, taste food with fingers, no spitting, touching your face, picking or poking fingers into the ears as all these practices transfer bacteria to food directly or indirectly.

The bacteria in your mouth could cross contaminate the food you are preparing and cooking for the public and spread a variety of illnesses. Best to take a clean spoon every time you would like to taste a dish or if you are dipping a crisp or cracker into a dip, you should take a portion of the dip onto your bowl or plate to taste or eat. Double dipping is simple, just don’t do it in a professional kitchen when preparing and cooking food for diners to eat, would you like someone else’s saliva in your food? It is simply poor hygiene practice. Its ok to double dip your own food it’s only a problem when you are sharing with others.