How to organise a refrigerated cabinet in the catering industry
Trends, Tips and Equipment Insights for Restaurant owners and Professional Chefs
It sounds simple, but we can assure you that it isn’t. Properly organising the industrial refrigerated cabinets in your bar or restaurant is an essential task in order to maintain the quality of the food. Although you may think that by having different shelves you can organise them at your own discretion, there are unwritten rules to ensure food hygiene and safety and thus avoid problems with your customers and patrons.
The first thing to bear in mind when storing refrigerated food is hygiene, temperature and shelf life.
Just as we maintain optimal and adequate hygiene of the rest of the elements that make up a professional kitchen, it is important not to forget one of the most important elements in the preservation of the food that will delight diners.
As a space through which many foods pass, it is important to maintain proper hygiene and cleaning of the professional refrigerated cabinet to avoid possible cross-contamination. Therefore, cleaning of the interior will have to be carried out frequently.
Industrial refrigerated cabinets are a perfect environment for the proliferation of bacteria that can be dangerous for the health of customers, as they can cause poisoning, illnesses or allergies.
Therefore, properly organising them will help us avoid spoiling food, since, despite the fact that refrigeration cabinets control the temperature (which we will talk about later), despite all the times they are opened during a service, it is more complicated to control the humidity and oxygen required to ensure food safety.
Refrigerators are a universe in which micro-organisms thrive readily and quickly if we don’t keep them at the right temperature. The ideal temperature for this is between 2° and 5° at all times, with 4° being the ideal temperature. However, if it is too full, it will have to be lowered, while if it is too empty, it will have to be raised.
As we all know, each food has its own shelf life in which it has to be kept under specific conditions to avoid premature spoilage. Within this time period, it is also advisable to check its condition from time to time, to avoid the proliferation of fungi and bacteria, which can contaminate the rest of the food.
Organisation of the refrigerated cabinet
Once we have these three variants under control, it is time to organise the refrigerated cabinet according to the different foodstuffs. A well-organised refrigerator will facilitate the work and productivity of the staff, so when organising the shelves, consider the following:
Meat and fish
They are usually stored on the lower shelves, which is where the lowest temperatures are maintained and where, in the event of any type of dripping, we will avoid this affecting the rest of the foodstuffs. It is important to separate meat and fish, and to organise it by similar products.
With Fagor Professional you also have the option of installing a refrigeration cabinet with a fish compartment to avoid cross-contamination.
These are foods that do not need excessively low temperatures, just like pre-cooked foods, so we can store them on the central shelves of the refrigerator and always in airtight containers.
Fruit and vegetables
- If the fruit and vegetables are to be eaten raw, place them in covered containers, separately and on the upper shelves.
- In the case of fruit and vegetables that are to be cooked, place them at the bottom. However, it all depends on the type of fruit and vegetables you need to store, as not all of them need the same temperature. For example, potatoes, onions or garlic do not need to be refrigerated.
Eggs and Dairy
In the case of dairy products, such as cheese, milk, and yogurts, use the central shelves, as they need to be kept cold to stay fresh. Eggs are a food with a high risk of contamination, especially if subjected to sudden changes in temperature. They do not need to be at such low temperatures, so they will go in the least cold area of the fridge, ensuring that it is an isolated, cool and dry space.
Preserves and jarred foods
These are foods that need lower temperatures, especially if they have already been opened. In the latter case, it is best stored in an airtight container and on the top shelves of the industrial refrigerated cabinet.
These are processed foods that do not need excessively low temperatures, so they should be kept on the middle shelves, just above the meat and fish.
If your establishment does not have an industrial refrigerated cabinet specifically for desserts, the ideal is to store them on the lower shelves, always covered to prevent them from absorbing the smells and aromas of the rest of the food.
Once you have your refrigeration cabinet perfectly organised, you will see how the productivity of your work team will increase, as you will know exactly where each food item you need is located.