Sunday, November 22, 2009

ServSafe study day

ServSafe is a national certification for food handlers.  I have to pass the test before I can even register for pre-requisite culinary classes- my test day is December 8.  I began studying for the test today- chapter 2 on pathogens is a toughie- but a lot of the stuff is common sense and/or interesting enough to remember.

I'm going chapter by chapter, making outlines, taking end-of-chapter tests, and doing pretty well so far.  But the deeper I get, one thing keeps occurring to me: In the little local, seasonal cafe of my dreams, everything I want to do is illegal.  

Real food, by federal SafeServ standards, is considered pathogenic.  Here's the list of road-bumps so far.

-Real milk and cheese?  Check.  Real milk illegal in Michigan, but real cheese can be served after 60-days' aging.  Unclear if I can make it in-house, though.
-Local, backyard/ community garden suppliers?  May have to jump through crazy hoops for certification- especially with the new hyper-restrictive, over-legislated Food Bills (I'm looking at you, SB510) coming through.  Check.
-Garden or greenhouse out back?  Probably- if it's not an "approved supplier"- Check.  (I smell zoning troubles, too.)
-Worms to recycle kitchen waste?  Likely considered vermin.  Check.
-Making or handling "unusual" foods- you know, freaky stuff like lacto-fermented foods or on-site smoked meats- will require Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures and will be a Giant Pain in the Butt.

So, blah.


Paula said...

Just think WWAWD*.

You're talking about the dreaded Policies and Procedures obstacle here. I saw something about people who are making their own "hand crafted" (that term always cracks me up) Italian cured meats in-house. I believe there are several of them in San Francisco so if they can do that, there's got to be a way to be a way for you to do your thang.

*What Would Alice Waters Do?

d. moll, said...

Food cart? do they have different standards? it is the new big thing in served food.......

ilex said...

OMG FOOD CART! A lunch truck with really good food! Pulled by a team of rabbits... is that going too far?

As far as I know, food carts don't have different standards from the draconian food safety standpoint, but I LOVE the idea.

d. moll, said...

Portland OR has a lot of very upscale food cart with. know you. like real foodie chefs, NYC too. My son (in Sunnyvale CA) says the lunch truck that comes to his school has super excellent Chinese food, wokked while you watch. It's a way to work small, low overhead and have your way! Work in the rabbits too!

jason said...

Love, I have a vision of you behind the wheel of a carriage with Max and Cecilia tied to the front. You shout, "Mush, bunnies! Mush!" -- and Cecilia scratches her ear. Meh.

d. moll, said...

Couldn't you get around it all by having eaters sign a waiver?

Mariah said...

There's a restaurant in Baltimore called Woodberry Kitchen that is totally local-only food. They even go so far as to make their own ginger ale, etc. You can't get cola there b/c they don't make it. I'm not sure if they are buying all of their stuff locally or make a lot of it in house, but it's a similar idea. They would be a good one to check with if you ever wanted to go into that.