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Pitbull
05-29-2008, 07:32 AM
Regulations covering catering basically say that catered food may not be prepared and cooked in a home kitchen. It must be prepared and cooked in a “commercial kitchen”. I need some help understanding what really distinguishes a “commercial kitchen” from a “home kitchen”. Here’s why I ask. Typically you think of a commercial kitchen having mostly stainless equipment and tables, however a “commercial kitchen” was recently opened at the place I work at. It was completely blessed and certified by the health department, certificate and all. It is constructed with the standard formica counter tops and cabinets and the only thing stainless in the place is the hot dog cooker, sink and pots and pans. There's nothing special about the floors and walls either. So why is that any different than a home kitchen???? :confused:

ZILLA
05-29-2008, 07:38 AM
More than anything else it's inspected by the city to make sure it meets health, safety, zoning, and fire codes.

Jorge
05-29-2008, 08:35 AM
The easiest and most accurate answer will come from your local health department. Regulations and procedures vary greatly! What might be the case in one city may be very different from another city a short distance away.

YankeeBBQ
05-29-2008, 10:39 AM
http://info.sos.state.tx.us/pls/pub/readtac$ext.ViewTAC?tac_view=5&ti=25&pt=1&ch=229&sch=K&rl=Y

Pitbull
05-29-2008, 12:45 PM
The link doesn't work.

YankeeBBQ
05-29-2008, 01:03 PM
http://tinyurl.com/36d589

Bbq Bubba
05-29-2008, 01:04 PM
Commercial kitchen = 3 bay wash sink w/ seperate hand sink!
Everything else is peanuts!
Stainles steel has NOTHING to do with commercial, i have installed commercial kitchens with simple HD cabinets, formica tops and standard appliances. :biggrin:

MAsQue
05-29-2008, 02:02 PM
The plumbing would also need to be constructed so that waste water can't back up into the sinks.

The best advice is to check with the local BOH.

Pitbull
05-29-2008, 06:12 PM
Thanks guys. That clarifies it some. In reality it wouldn't be that expensive to meet the requirements. I assume the 3 bay sink is for wash, rinse and sanitize. Correct?

Rockaway BeachBQ
05-29-2008, 06:46 PM
Here in NYC there are regulations regarding in home catering businesses. Basically a commercial kitchen must be separate from the home kitchen and home meals may not be prepared in it.

Bearbonez
05-29-2008, 07:39 PM
Same law applies here about seperate home meals and commercial meals. I have been going over ideas and best way for us to be set up with the health inspector. Have a meeting tomorrow with owners of a commercial kitchen to haggle use of it.

Spydermike72
05-29-2008, 08:03 PM
In out County you can actually take your plan to them and they will tell you what you need and if your plan is going to pass or not. The Inspector that I have worked with has been really helpful. I too am going the shared kitchen route...

chinesebob
05-29-2008, 08:12 PM
Here I don't think the home meals applies, but I've never looked into that aspect. A 3 basin sink can be 3 tubs as long as they have clean, soap, and bleach in one each and either wipes or a hand wash sink you are good.

When we rebuild our garage I'm building an extra half that will be a prep kitchen. My wife is overjoyed.

Pitbull
05-30-2008, 06:58 AM
What real difference does it make if you prepare home meals in it or not?

chinesebob
05-30-2008, 09:47 AM
Not sure. Every county is different. If I was 1 mile north of my house that county has different guidelines than the one I'm in so it varies to some degree.

parrothead
05-30-2008, 01:59 PM
The main difference around here is what you will be doing in that kitchen. We have low risk, medium risk and high risk classifications.

Medium risk at this point is our concession stand that we run. It has to have the sink requirements, but any standard homeowner appliances and what not are fine. Everything must be scrubbable. Durable paint, etc. Everything caulked down, etc. We have been told that this will change on us soon and as those refrigerators and freezers out there die, they will need to be replaced with nsf. They will give a 5 year plan if this gets implemented so as not to slam the little guy with complete replacement of everything all at once.

High risk is what we have at the store. All of our stuff HAS to be NSF. Our county doesn't require it yet, but there are now NSF7 classifications which are even higher. NSF7 is basically no right angles. Every inside corner is rounded.

Also around here, everything needs to be either on wheels or 6 inches off the ground. We opted for the wheels as it is WAY easy to clean and that is basically what all this stuff boils down to. Cleanability. If it is easier to clean then you are more apt to clean it. It still doesn't gaurantee that someone is going to clean.

Depending on equipment, a hood may be required. We were told NO outside cooking, but have learned since that there is some leeway to that rule.

Basically, there is so much variance from county to county that the only way you can be sure is to just talk to the person in charge there. It goes a long way with them doing this as well. They like to know that you are interested in doing it right.

One last difference between the medium facility and the high. At our medium facility we can have one person in charge with a food service license. They don't even have to be there. They just need to oversee how things are done and are responsible for training the staff. At our high risk facility, we have to have someone with a food service license present at all times (if we are doing anything in the kitchen). We have 4 of them and that is not a problem.

midnight
05-30-2008, 06:39 PM
What real difference does it make if you prepare home meals in it or not?

I don't know why they are are so picky about that, but I can tell you that the one time I got dinged on my Health inspection was because I had a package of primerib (from my local butcher shop) and an unopened bag of frozen hashbrowns in my freezer at the restaurant. The inspector knew it wasn't food to be served in the restaurant and marked me down 3 points for it !! He told me that if I put a freezer in ANY area of my building except the kitchen, and put my personal food in it, that I wouldn't get marked down on my health inspection for it.

HOW DUMB IS THAT!!!

STX Cue
05-30-2008, 08:34 PM
One of the classes in culinary school requiries you to do a business plan for a cooking business. Of course, they expect restaurants, but mine is a commercial kitchen operation that is available for rental. My instructors have told me that it was a flash of brilliance (I doubt that, somehow) because San Antonio has no such animal. People who make wedding cakes, caterers, and the like seem to need the space, especially those who are just starting out and cannot afford their own kitchens.

Here, at least, there aren't many differenes between home kitchens and commercial. The three basin sink is the biggie, and there are some other subtle differences, but nothing that you would really notice in day-to-day operations...mostly plumbing and electrical regulations.

parrothead
05-31-2008, 10:16 AM
I don't know why they are are so picky about that, but I can tell you that the one time I got dinged on my Health inspection was because I had a package of primerib (from my local butcher shop) and an unopened bag of frozen hashbrowns in my freezer at the restaurant. The inspector knew it wasn't food to be served in the restaurant and marked me down 3 points for it !! He told me that if I put a freezer in ANY area of my building except the kitchen, and put my personal food in it, that I wouldn't get marked down on my health inspection for it.

HOW DUMB IS THAT!!!

Well, as dumb as a lot of things sound, there is typically some reasoning behind it. This one I would surmise is that since they did not come through your regular chain of distribution, there is a chance that the temperatures may have entered the danger zone during your transportation of them. Unless of course you have a reefer truck.

We are eventually going to end up up with full HAACP plan implementation that will require logging of temperatures as they enter the store, yada, yada, yada. That is going to be fun. NOT!:mad::x

A lot of the trade magazines I get now are showing new items that are coming out very shortly. Items that affix themselves to product and turn colors overtime to indicate age, or to signal that the product reached the wrong temperature at some point in it's life.

Why? Because people won't be responsible and throw things away when they are supposed to, so now the cost of everything will go up. Our motto is "When in doubt, throw it out". Period.

Anyway, they have to write something down, and that was probably it. It couldn't have been too important to him or he would have told you to throw it out right then and there.

parrothead
05-31-2008, 10:21 AM
One of the classes in culinary school requiries you to do a business plan for a cooking business. Of course, they expect restaurants, but mine is a commercial kitchen operation that is available for rental. My instructors have told me that it was a flash of brilliance (I doubt that, somehow) because San Antonio has no such animal. People who make wedding cakes, caterers, and the like seem to need the space, especially those who are just starting out and cannot afford their own kitchens.

Here, at least, there aren't many differenes between home kitchens and commercial. The three basin sink is the biggie, and there are some other subtle differences, but nothing that you would really notice in day-to-day operations...mostly plumbing and electrical regulations.

Excellent idea! We also had thought of one that you rent freezer space to restaurants in the area. Most places will say that they never have enough freezer space. I know we don't. Only problem would be that we would have to own a freezer truck and make the pickups and deliveries with that truck, thus running it probably cost ineffective. This is the only way that the health department would allow it.

jgh1204
05-31-2008, 05:00 PM
STX Que, if you get that going, let me know. A friend wants to do cheesecakes.