Food safety is of paramount importance in the food industry and in our kitchens where food is prepared. This topic was discussed in an interaction with Michelle Dennis of Food Infotech Magazine and Keven Simmonds, Chef De Partie at Neon Commasary! We gained insight with the Chef’s perspective on Food Safety and Nutrition in food service.

Read the interview for more insights into it.

Q 1. Hi Keven, can you share the highlights of your culinary journey, from catering to working in various kitchens and even going to culinary school?

My most memorable experiences whether at school or on the field is how people come together as a team. Anywhere you may be your team is diversified, and it’s amazing how these people come together to get to work at hand done. I also find as a chef many people have strengths and weaknesses and it is so rewarding to see a weakness become a strength.

Q 2. What have been the most memorable experiences along the way? You mentioned taking a course on palliative care and how it relates to food and the human body. Could you elaborate on how this knowledge has influenced your approach to cooking and the importance of nutrition in your culinary creations?

Taking the palliative course opened my eyes to various ways our bodies react to food, how our digestive system works, and how we can get out nutrients with food instead of medication. At first, it seems very complex, however, the more you read and learn it only makes sense. However, I find people don’t have time to make sense of what really matters. The right food and diet can preserve life. That’s amazing.

Q 3. Given your background, could you discuss the significance of food safety in restaurant kitchens? How do you ensure the highest standards of food safety while maintaining the quality of the dishes you serve? It’s clear that you enjoy meal planning and creating menus.

Food safety in kitchens is paramount and should be followed to the letter with no shortcuts. Here in Canada, we have many outbreaks due to the lack of knowledge of safety. We have many mechanisms in place to make sure all food industry obey. One must take pride in what they do and be responsible for their actions and others. To ensure the highest standards we have a checklist for day and night and deep cleaning, and each member of the team has to have food safety certificates. It is my view that people who do not obey the standards are not good cooks and have no pride in what they do. Those people get weeded very fast in the industry.

Q 4. What do you find most satisfying about this aspect of your work, and how do you approach the process of designing a menu that both satisfies your customers and showcases your culinary creativity?

Any cook in the industry is very happy when they come up with a dish that will eaten and displayed because it is the most rewarding, and compliment. Being able to menu plan is a great expression of one’s self in the highest form. You get to in love local foods, farms, butchers, wine, etc.

Q5. You mentioned the power outage experience when you had to cook with candles and a flashlight, sharing a unique and intimate dining experience with your customers. What did this particular event teach you about the power of food and dining beyond just sustenance?

During the power outage, I experienced how a team can come together in any event. Sitting down with the customers eating the meals we created was extremely rewarding as there was chaos outside and inside there was peace, delightful.

Q 6. You’ve expressed your love for the science behind food. Could you share some examples of how your understanding of food science has influenced your cooking techniques or allowed you to be more innovative in the kitchen?

Science and food are magical and learning about it makes a cook a chef. Science has always been there and understanding it makes life easier and creates the most magnificent dishes ever.

Author

I'm a Post Graduate in Food, Nutrition and Clinical Dietetics. Currently I'm thriving in my role as a Senior Sub-Editor at Food Infotech Magazine. My passion-driven research and engaging interviews with industry leaders captivate readers, bridging the realms of taste, health, and innovation in gastronomy while sparking curiosity about the future of food.

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