The Cooking Control Point
Cooking is simply the addition of heat to food products. There are many different ways to cook food items; baking, roasting, frying, to name a few. The make-up of the food item and the desired results dictates the cooking method.
Cooking, with many foods, is necessary to increase the digestibility of many food products. Cooking also changes the components and chemical make-up of food items. Proteins, fats, and carbohydrates in cooked foods are frequently easier to digest than the same nutrients in raw products. Unfortunately, cooking can also reduce the nutritional value of food products by destroying some of the vitamins they contain. In general, shorter cooking times help retain more vitamins.
Cooking alters the form, flavor, color, texture, and appearance of food products. These chemical and physical changes increase both the acceptability and palatability of food products. Strict time-temperature controls ' combined with standardized production techniques, can enhance food quality and increase customer enjoyment of cooked menu
Cooking and Personnel
Many of the personnel considerations discussed under the preparation control point also apply to cooking. Personnel at the cooking control point are responsible for cooked-to-order appetizers, entrees, side dishes, and desserts. The number of people involved in the cooking control point depends on the extent of the menu and the volume of business done by the establishment.
Above all, accuracy is an important component of the cooking control point. Cooks and chefs are expected to follow the operation's Standard Recipes. The master food production planning worksheet outlines what is to be requisitioned and cooked for each meal period. Standard recipes must be followed exactly, including ingredient amounts, cooking times, and cooking temperatures.
In many food service establishments, production and service personnel are frequently at odds with each other. At times it almost seems that these two departments deliberately create roadblocks for each other. The atmosphere of hostility which results is not conducive to achieving the goals of the operation. Management must care enough to take an active role in improving the situation by encouraging production and service personnel to work together and cooperate. Some managers have found that one way to reduce the chronic complaints of the kitchen staff is to have them trade jobs with servers one day each week or each month. In this way, each person begins to appreciate the complexities of the other's job.
Food service equipment is an investment that must be regularly cleaned and maintained to prolong its useful life, to reduce repair and energy costs, to elicit proper care by employees, and to protect food products. For these reasons, the descriptions of equipment include requirements for cleaning and sanitizing. However, manufacturers' instructions should be followed if they are available. Also, equipment cleaning procedures are available from several manufacturers of cleaning and sanitizing compounds.
Cooking and Facilities
Careful planning of production facilities reduces safety hazards and sanitation
risks while creating a more efficient operation overall. Facilities planning
begins with the menu, because its content determines what is to be cooked and,
therefore, the types of facilities needed. The number of meals to be served
also has an impact on facilities design. The allocation of work areas and storage
space is directly affected by the food being prepared and cooked. Distances
between work stations are a critical consideration. The goal is to avoid traffic
jams of people and products. On the other hand, having large distances between
work areas may reduce traffic jams but it does not conserve space. A balance
must be reached in order to maximize the return on the operation's investment
in facilities. Management must review national, state, and local codes and ordinances
before any decisions are made regarding facilities design. These codes cover
lighting, ventilation, sanitation, and construction requirements.
Energy usage is another important consideration in facilities design. Well-planned facilities equipped with energy-efficient equipment can save the operation countless dollars in the form of lower energy bills.
Equipment and facilities do not last forever, but cleaning and preventive maintenance will prolong their useful life. Ease of cleaning and maintenance is an important consideration in the selection of wall, floor, and ceiling materials for the food production work centers.
Change affects the cooking control point in much the same way that it affects the other basic operating activities. That is, standards for cooking may need to be re-evaluated if conditions change. For example, if the operation switches to the use of more convenience food products, this will change production requirements.
Another example of change is seen in some American establishments that are adding ethnic foods to their menus in response to customer demands. This change in menu has an impact on the operation's control points and resources. In terms of purchasing, Italian, Mexican, and Oriental menu items can be prepared using less expensive raw ingredients. However, these raw ingredients and the special spices used in ethnic foods may be decidedly different from any the operation's purchasing personnel are familiar with. Therefore, new guidelines for the purchase of these items may be needed. Similarly, some guidelines for preserving these new inventory items may be needed by storeroom personnel. And preparing and cooking techniques for ethnic foods often differ from some of the more traditional menu items. Therefore, production personnel may require special training.
Adding ethnic foods to the menu may affect other resource needs. For example, the operation needs the right equipment and facilities to make these menu items easy to produce. Without the right equipment and facilities, the production of ethnic foods can be time-consuming, tiring, and even dangerous. Steam equipment is often required for the production of ethnic foods. Specialty equipment (e.g., woks, Chinese barbecue ranges, taco ranges, and semiautomatic pasta cookers) may also be required. In light of all these implications, managers are advised to evaluate the effects of a change on the operation's resources and control points before the change is implemented.
To complete this Topic successfully, please review the above material and determine how it relates to the other control points
Go on to serving
Go back to Food Service Control Points
Send E-mail to Dr. Rande or call (520) 523-1710
Copyright © 1999
Northern Arizona University
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED