Lately I come across many videos where obers make a pasta dish alongside the customers table, inside a big wheel of cheese. A bit like the way they make a salad or tartare alongside your table.
Now I cant help myself thinking about the strict health codes there are for restaurants. And because I dont think they put the cheese in the dishwasher after the night or buy a different cheesewheel for every night.
Im wondering how they comply to those healthcodes, if it is necessary to comply to those in the first place.
Which part of the health code do you think they’re violating?
The cheese is an ingredient, not a dish. The food was clean (hot/sterile) when it went into the cheese, it was clean when it came out. The cheese itself is getting heated during the mixing process and most cheeses (especially the big parm wheels they usually use for this) are very high salt content…anything that survives the cook/mix process is going to die on the salt. I assume they pop the cheese in the fridge overnight but I’m not sure that would be strictly necessary.
The point of the healthcodes is to prevent the risk of food-borne illness. There doesn’t seem to be any risk of that here.
Ready for some food safety acronyms??
(In the states here so, I’ll only speak from my experience)
Presumably, the restaurant has to develop what’s called a “HACCP plan” for this. Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point Plan. This is a written plan, approved by the health dept that shows how they will minimize the risk of food born illness, in this case the concern would be bacterial growth.
Bacteria needs 6 elements to grow. Here’s our next acronym. FATTOM.
•Food (bacteria needs something to feed on, preferably a protein source-like cheese)
•Acid (bacteria like low acid foods-like cheese)
•Time (bacteria reproduces over time, with the fastest growth happening between about 40-140 degrees F)
•Temp (see above, bacterial growth can be reduced/stopped at lower or higher temps)
•Oxygen (must be present for most, but not all, bacterial growth)
•Moisture (also must be present for bacterial growth)
Salt’s not mentioned in FATTOM. Obviously reduces growth, but not to the extent that would satisfy most health depts.
Since this practice qualifies as a bacterial breeding ground for the FAO&M from FATTOM, they are using (or telling the health department they are using) Time and Temp as Control for Safety (also know as TCS).
With TCS you control the amount of time the food is kept in the “temperature danger zone” of 40-140, by either heating or chilling the food and tracking the amount of time it is inside that danger zone.
Again, helps that the cheese is high salt and the pasta going into it is hot…but I’m sure there are plenty of health inspectors out there that would take you to task on this practice, particularly if the cheese was stored at room temp between uses.
I believe they use alcohol, like a brandy, to sterilize and light it on fire to burn off the booze after each table. So they do sterilize it.