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Chef’s guide to food safety

We all know that food safety is important. However, it can be confusing to figure out the best practices for cooking, storing and handling food. This blog post will help you understand why Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill is important for chefs like you!

What is Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

“Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill” is a mantra that can help you stay safe when cooking. It is important for chefs to always use these four techniques because they are the best way to prevent foodborne illness, which can be deadly if not treated quickly or properly.

What does Clean mean?

Clean means that you should wash your hands with warm soapy water before and after handling food. You should also wash any surfaces or tools you use to handle food with soapy water too.

What does Separate mean?

Separate means that you should keep raw meat, eggs and seafood away from other foods. This includes your hands! When cooking, always put cooked foods on a clean plate before serving it. If you’re not sure whether something is cooked, or if you need to cook it more, don’t take any chances.

What does Cook mean?

Cook means that food should be cooked to a specific temperature before serving. The FDA recommends cooking most meat and seafood products to an internal temperature of at least 165°F, and to be sure you should measure the temperature for 15 seconds with a quick-read thermometer. Check out this infographic for a full list of recommended temperatures.

What does Chill mean?

Chill means that you should keep your food cold while it is being stored or prepared for serving. The FDA recommends keeping raw meat below 40°F (refrigeration temperature). If the temperature of your refrigerator is above this, you need to be very careful and consider having somebody check it out to be sure it is working correctly.

Why it’s important for chefs to follow Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill

Using these four techniques can help you to prevent foodborne illness, which is very dangerous and sometimes deadly. Foodborne illnesses are caused by germs that grow in or on your food, such as bacteria like salmonella, E Coli, and Listeria Monocytogenes. You can get sick if you don’t follow this practice as can anybody who eats the food you cook for them.

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Tips on how to safely clean your kitchen

Be sure to clean your work surfaces with soapy water before and after cooking. You also need to wash before you start cooking and then again every time you handle raw meat, poultry, seafood, or uncooked eggs. When you are done cooking, wash all the utensils you’ve cooked with, including your kitchen knives and pots and pans, and clean all your surfaces again to avoid cross-contamination. Don’t forget to wash your hands before you eat too.

Something that is often overlooked is washing fruits and vegetables. Wash any fruits or vegetables before they go into the refrigerator.

Why you need to consider temperature before and after cooking too

You should use a food thermometer to ensure that your meat and fish are cooked all the way through. This goes for eggs too. However, you should also keep cold foods cold and hot foods hot until they will be served or eaten. If anything has been refrigerated, be sure it doesn’t sit out for more than two hours before serving or eating.

Another thing to consider is the danger zone. The danger zone is between 40°F and 140°F, which is the temperature range that bacteria grow rapidly. This means you should never leave your food out for more than two hours in temperatures above 90°F! The flip side of this is food cooling down. As the temperature of the food reduces it will pass through the danger zone. This is something to consider for pasta, rice, or soups. The more there is, the longer it will stay in the danger zone as it will take longer to cool. Once you’ve finished eating, portion off the leftovers and store them properly.

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How to properly chill cooked food before storing it

When it comes time to store your leftovers make sure they are cooled down first. Place your food into shallow containers that can be quickly cooled down and then covered tightly with plastic wrap or aluminum foil before putting it back in the fridge. This is the best way to store cooked meat, poultry, or seafood that you’ll be eating later in the week.

Tips on storing leftovers in the fridge or freezer so they don’t spoil too quickly

There are a few things to consider when you want to store leftovers in the fridge or freezer. First, make sure that your food is completely cooled down before putting it into either place as this will slow bacteria growth and help preserve the quality of your meals. If something has been stored for more than two hours at room temperature, throw it out. 

The last thing to consider is that you should only store leftovers for three days unless they have been frozen first. If there are any signs of spoilage when you open your containers then just throw them away and don’t eat anything from them any more!


Cooking, storing, and handling food is a complex process that requires knowledge about the Clean Separate Cook Chill technique. Following this mantra could help you prevent foodborne illness which can be very dangerous. If you don’t follow these practices then you might get sick from the food you’ve prepared or you might make somebody else sick.

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