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Today I saw Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares. Regardless of the alleged nature of "reality", he said that fridges at his London restaurant are cleaned twice a day. Is that excessive or in line with standard hygiene guidelines ? What about the kitchen and storage rooms ?

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I wonder about 24 hour restaurants as well? IHOPs come to mind. – Chad Aug 15 '10 at 17:34
@Chad : if they keep this level, they rotate fridges I guess. – Stefano Borini Aug 15 '10 at 17:55
That makes sense. Good point. – Chad Aug 15 '10 at 20:01
up vote 15 down vote accepted

I have worked in two professsional kitchens. The main kitchen itself (all the work tables, stoves, floors, refrigerator fronts and so on) is cleaned after each service, and very thoroughly each night with hot soapy water and sometime sterilizing solution. The insides of refrigerators and other storage areas don't need to be cleaned that often because everything in them is in sealed containers. They should normally be emptied and wiped out at least once a week, and of course immediately if there is any kind of spill.

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ok, so cleaning the innards of the fridge twice a day is maybe a bit excessive. – Stefano Borini Aug 15 '10 at 18:04
Yeah, unless the fridge is being use to chill/hold open containers of food, twice a day is a bit excessive. – smoore Aug 16 '10 at 14:22
Let me add one more point. Chef Ramsey could have been referring to the process of looking through the containers in the walk in, discarding anything that is too old or no longer fresh, downsizing food into the smallest container that will hold it, verifying labels and putting everything where it belongs. That process should happen 1-2x daily, and is different from "cleaning" (which would be wiping down the surfaces). That might be the source of the confusion. – Michael at Herbivoracious Aug 18 '10 at 4:31
he just said "fridges are cleaned twice a day". No additional details. – Stefano Borini Aug 18 '10 at 21:18

It totally depends on who's leading the kitchen. I've worked in a restaurant where we cleaned the fridges, floors, everything twice a day. A quickish clean after lunch service, and a full clean at night. In most other places I've worked, the fridges were done once a day, and the whole kitchen after each service. Regardless, you'll do what's called a 'deep clean' once a week which would include extraction, chillers, dry store, moving everything out of the kitchen etc. I once worked in a place where the fridge doors were taken off so you could clean beneath the screws.. taking it a bt far I think, but puts things in perspective in the next job!

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Different restaurants have different standards. The first restaurant I worked in, we would tear down everything after lunch service when the night crew & chef arrived. That meant everything currently dirty through the dishwasher, everything that was stainless steel getting scrubbed & sterilized, floors swept and mopped, floormats hosed down and sterilized. Then we'd do that again at 4, and again at 6:15 right before dinner service. The walk-in fridge was completely emptied and scrubbed every week, freezers once a month, dry stores moved and shelves/floor cleaned and swept every two weeks. You could eat off the floor in that place.

Personally, I think that should be the standard everywhere. More normal is line fridges once a week, walkin fridges once a month or so (this means deep cleaning on top of the usual sweeping/mopping and a quick wipedown of the shelves). All stainless steel, stovetops, etc gets scrubbed down every night, floors swept and mopped. Then we do a full-on deep clean from the back door to the dining room doors quarterly--everything pulled out, scrubbed, line pulled out and powerwashed behind, etc. The secret really is to start with a sparkling kitchen and maintain it.

24 hour restaurants rely on their downtime (often but not always 3-6AM) for their cleaning hours.

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In my Navy service, where the galley tends to roll with the waves, we did a lot of cleaning.

  • A quick clean after breakfast, wipe surfaces and the insides of the line fridges.
  • A deeper clean after lunch, including scrubbing the surfaces, emptying and cleaning the line fridges properly, scrubbing the stove top (electric), and sorting out the deep-fryer. After all that we'd do the floors properly.
  • After supper we'd basically reset the whole kitchen, including cleaning the dry storage and walk-in fridge.
  • After late night snacks we'd really just tidy up, and wipe any surfaces, but not properly clean the galley.

Once a week though, everything gets taken apart and scrubbed, and also sterilized where appropriate, including the walk-in freezer and fridge.

There's also the once yearly passover cleaning, where compressed air is brought in to make sure all the dirt is kicked out of everywhere. After that we used a pressure-washer, and then a blow-torch to make sure everything is clean and/or dead. It helps that all the equipment is stainless steel in this case.

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I wish my kitchen were constructed such that I could clean with a blowtorch! – Sobachatina Aug 23 '10 at 18:54
I can tell you the name of the shipyard, if you think it'll be useful ;-) – Carmi Aug 24 '10 at 18:55
The blow torch reports seem more than a little far out. I mean, any place I've worked would take a WWII flamethrower to attack a kitchen this way, and the kitchen would have to be specially designed not to have burnable items. Totally impractical. – user36842 Jul 15 '15 at 0:49

A good restaurant will have a thorough clean after each service. Of course, not every restaurant is a good one...

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I guess storage rooms are not cleaned daily though.. – Stefano Borini Aug 15 '10 at 17:25
No. I presume that the focus in on cleaning any surfaces where 'dangerous' ingredients (like seafood, raw poultry, etc) have been stored or prepared. Anything that can be stored at room temperature tends to be 'safe'. – JulesLt Aug 15 '10 at 17:46

I agree from all answers, its urgent to clean all equipment of kitchen twice a day, and all chiller and dry store should clean once time a week. All kitchen staff should have proper uniform and looks neat and clean. Floors, tiles, all thing should be neat and clean.

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