First RSA course for 2012.

Prime Skills has arranged their first RSA course for 2012.

BOOK NOW to avoid missing out!

Work this summer in Bars, Restaurants, Bottle Shops or at the Australian Open!

Prime Skills has been delivering training to the food and beverage industry for almost 14 years and due to popular demand we are now also running courses for individuals to attend.

In Victoria, it is compulsory to have an RSA certificate if you work in a venue with:

  • A general licence
  • On-premises licence
  • Late night licence, or
  • Packaged liquor license (such as a bottle shop).
  • It is also compulsory in other situations where there is a condition on the liquor licence requiring the employment of RSA trained staff or you are applying for a new liquor licence.

Prime Skills is approved by Liquor Licensing Victoria (LLV) to deliver RSA in Victoria however we must use the materials and presentations prepared by LLV.

For only $60, you can obtain your RSA certificate. The cost of the training includes:


  • Delivery of training session prepared by LLV
  • A resource book prepared by LLV
  • LLV issued certificate
  • Assessment
  • Afternoon Tea

More details of the first RSA Course in Melbourne inclusions and benefits can be seen on our Training website.

Course Details:

Date: Wednesday 11th January 2012

Time: 4.00 to 8.30pm

Bookings: To book your place please email Sarah at or call 0407 840 730. LLV dictates that we cannot have more than 25 people attend. We are booking this course on a first in, first booked basis.

Cost: $60.00 – must be pre-paid to secure your place.

A payment form must be completed. Please email Sarah NOW for a copy of this form and return to our office by fax, email or post. Payment can be made by credit card, cheque, money order or direct debit. Once payment is made a confirmation email will be sent

Breaks: A 15 minute break with afternoon tea is included.

Venue:       41/125 Highbury Road   Burwood   Victoria

Trainer: Graeme Foote

Prerequisite:    None required, however you are required to bring photo ID and arrive 15 minutes prior to the start time to allow student processing, enrolment and review of ID. If you do not have PHOTO ID we cannot issue you with a certificate.

Certificate: A Liquor Licensing Victoria certificate will be mailed to you along with a receipt of payment on Thursday 12thJanuary 2012.

Getting there is easy:

By car: FREE street car parking is available on Highbury Road and    Stephens Street.

Tram: Walk from Burwood Hwy approximately 10 minutes walk

Any further queries or for bookings please contact Sarah to discuss or call 0407 840 730


P.S Courses for the following will be scheduled soon:


  • Level 1: Food Hygiene Course
  • Level 2: Food Safety Supervisor Course
  • Occupational Health and Safety



Cantaloupes (Rockmelons) KILL 29 people in the US!

“With 29 people now confirmed dead, the listeria outbreak linked to cantaloupe from one Colorado farm is officially the deadliest foodborne illness outbreak in the United States since 1924, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”

The above quote is what greeted readers of “USA Today” on the 3rd November 2011. The full article can be accessed through the links above, but I bet that most chefs would never have considered a melon to be a high-risk food, let alone be capable of killing people.

When you read the article (and other associated commentary) the cause of this outbreak has been linked to poor hygiene in the packing shed on the farm.

I have already written a couple of blog posts e on the importance of cleaning and in particular sanitisers, so my views on hygiene are well known. This is just an unfortunate case where a food business in the US has graphically highlighted the consequences of an un clean work place.

I believe that there are only three basics components in ensuring cleaning is conducted properly. They are:

  1. Knowing what, when and how to clean
  2. Having a chemical supplier that provides appropriate chemicals
  3. Having employees that are adequately trained

The first point is easily achieved if you spend a little bit of time in preparing a cleaning schedule. This involves you walking around your kitchen and identifying:

  • What needs to be cleaned (i.e. floors, benches, ovens, utensils etc.)
  • How frequently it needs to be cleaned (before use, after use, weekly, monthly etc.)
  • How you are going to clean (i.e. what steps are involved)
  • The equipment and chemicals needed to adequately clean
  • Who is responsible for the cleaning and checking the cleaning


The second point is harder. Many people solely choose a chemical supplier based on price with little consideration for effectiveness, suitability or ease of use. The best chemical companies provide automatic dispensing systems, labelled bottles, clear instructions, MSDS and colour coded systems. Some even:

  • Service your dishwasher
  • Provide audits/ reports on chemical usage
  • Staff training
  • Conduct micro testing to ensure effectiveness of chemicals.


All of this is generally built into the cost of the chemical and cannot be compared when purely judging the price of two different 5 Litre containers. Speak to your supplier and see what services they provide or you are missing out on.


The third point (as indicated above) may be provided by the chemical supplier. If it is not provided by the supplier, then this training needs to be conducted internally by a suitably qualified and experienced employee. Some of our clients have developed induction manuals for all kitchen hands and stewards that include:

  • Cleaning schedules
  • Summary of chemical uses
  • Monitoring forms
  • Safety information


To assist you, we have provided a template that The Gourmet Guardian use in the Food Safety Programs that they develop for clients and you can use to develop your own cleaning schedule.


We have included a couple of items, so that you can see how we would complete this for a client, however instead of “detergent” and “no rinse sanitiser” I suggest you use your actual chemical names.

As summer approaches, the importance of cleaning becomes even more important.

P.s Don’t forget to download the free template for a cleaning schedules.


Other references to this outbreak can be found at:


Preventing Potential Kitchen Hazards

When people hear about food safety, their minds automatically go to food poisoning or spoiled and mishandled food but dangers aren’t just inside of the food; they’re hidden all over the kitchen. Did you know that kitchens are the most dangerous room in houses, hotels and restaurants? It’s true!

Think about the last time you cut your finger on a knife while either cooking or trying to open a package. Not only did it hurt but it also made you think, wow, if I had just taken this step or that step, I wouldn’t be bandaging my finger right now. This is how people learn from their mistakes making the next time you’re in the same predicament, much safer.

In a home kitchen, the live and learn technique usually works great but when you’re working with many people in a hot and sometimes cramped professional kitchen, the percentage of having any kind of accident increases enormously.

Anyone who’s worked behind the scenes of a catering business or inside of a professional kitchen knows that when the mealtime crowd rushes in, the hectic pace in the kitchen also speeds up. Mix this with sharp utensils, stove fire, oil, lots of cooks and other high quality kitchen machinery and equipment, you’ve just made the perfect recipe for disaster. That is, only if you and your staff aren’t well prepared and trained on how to always be two steps ahead.

Some of the most common kitchen accidents are caused by fires, electrical appliances, steam, oil, hazardous materials and hard to reach places. Here’s why:

  • Fires – This is one of the more obvious hazards since stoves and ovens are always lit with fires and yet, it’s one of the biggest accidents to happen in the kitchen! Long or loose fitting sleeves can catch a flame or perhaps have some drops of oil on the wrist area causing it to become a flammable torch rather than a protective barrier. To prevent this from happening, it’s best to wear a flame retardant chef’s coat or roll the sleeves up to the forearm.
  • Electrical Appliances – Faulty or frayed wiring, burned out sockets or old appliances can also cause fires and electrocution if not checked on a regular basis. Before each shift, all electrical appliances, sockets and even lighting should be checked since the last thing you’ll ever want is an electric spark near the stove.
  • Burns – Burns and scalds come as minor and major injuries from every angle you turn in a professional kitchen. Whether it’s boiling liquid droplets or a large spill of bubbling oil, you must be on high alert at all times! Most people are aware of these types of burns but tend to forget the steam that comes with covered pots and pans that can cause serious damage to the skin. To help stay alert, keep all pots covered when unattended or when boiling hot liquid and also keep arms covered in well-fitted flame retardant sleeves. When opening covered pots, ALWAYS open away from your face, never towards yourself.
  • Hazmats – The word ‘kitchen’ and ‘hazardous material’ aren’t often put together but certain chemicals kept in the kitchen are considered hazmats by the Occupations Safety and Health Association (OSHA). Some of these products are hand sanitisers, cleaning liquids, certain oils and pesticides that are used in the kitchen for obvious reasons but should they accidentally get mixed into a customer’s order, it could cause serious side effects which is never good for business. Many kitchens keep a checklist close by to remind them which chemicals are considered hazardous to ensure that these products are always put away before the food is brought out.
  • Slips and falls – Falling off a stool or chair happen so frequently that there are television commercials broadcasted all over the world. There are even parodies made because it’s always the fault of the person who fell. If there’s something in storage that’s too high up to reach, ladders are sometimes used and not set up properly or chairs are pushed for a quick hop up, often not stable enough to support an adult’s weight. If you need to get something that requires additional help, bring a spotter along with you to make sure you climb up and down safely. As for trips and falls in a professional kitchen, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the bustle and forget to clean up after yourself but it’s such an important task to include. Leaving a fallen onion on the floor or a mop leaning against the wall is a disaster in the making with people running through to grab their orders, often not looking where they’re going. Always pick up after yourself to help keep a clear walking line for all staff – it’s that simple!

Just for a little bit of fun, take a look as this poor woman gets hit with just about every possible accident that can happen in a kitchen:

Accidents in the kitchen can occur quite often if preventative measures aren’t taken early on. Many companies are required by law to follow certain regulations and codes to keep the kitchen safe for customers and more importantly, food service workers. To help food business owners pass all points of inspection, it’s important to have an Internal Food Safety Audit conducted within their kitchen/s.

Internal Food Safety Audits will ensure that all employees are aware of potential hazards but also, will make certain that food business owners will take the proper measures ahead of time to keep common kitchen accidents to a minimum.

As long as you’re two steps ahead of potential safety hazards in the kitchen, you can be guaranteed to have a safe kitchen that keeps customers satisfied and coming back for more!




There’s an ‘I’ In Kitchen But NOT In Teamwork

What is a restaurant or catering business without its top chef? What is a chef without waiters and waitresses to serve their fantastic food? It’s definitely not one of the finer food businesses in town.

Teamwork plays an important role in the food safety business. With one part of its whole missing, the food business no longer functions as one smooth operation and guess what? This doesn’t only include the staff!

The leader must also be a part of the team whether this is making sure all wait staff, cooks, chefs and other key players is all on the same page or through demonstrating how tasks need to be completed.

A great example of poor teamwork is the famous Hell’s Kitchen television show with Gordon Ramsey as the star. Ramsey is renowned for his bad temper, use of profanity and degradation of anyone in his kitchen. While this is surely great for the network ratings and brings a lot of attention, it’s also a great example of what can happen in a kitchen without teamwork present or the leader setting a solid example.

With a crowded kitchen during a restaurant’s busiest time, the atmosphere can get tense. There’s waiters rushing in and out, bringing in orders, taking them back out; too many cooks and not enough chefs and that forever short period of time the food must be prepared before the customer gets angry.

If a sense of camaraderie isn’t established before the shift begins, then rank in the kitchen takes over the feeling of being part of the team. The end result of that can be disastrous causing a lack of helpfulness towards each other, leaving each to their own task and basically asking for potential accidents to happen in or outside of the kitchen.

This video is a little silly but it presents a good message of what happens when people work in restaurants alone rather than working with each other:

Kitchens are definitely a challenging place to work which means that motivation must be put at the top of the priority list. This is because the two most powerful motivators are trying to make a difference and the opportunity to work closely with others to achieve a common goal.

This doesn’t mean hold a cookie on a dangling string in front of your staff; it means care about getting to know your employees so that you can lead and inspire them to become better at their profession. It’s a completely natural feeling for people to work extremely well together when there’s motivation present.

Managers have to provide the motivation by fully training their staff, spending time on the floor with their cooks and giving constructive criticisms instead of degrading, sardonic remarks when someone isn’t performing up to their standards. It’s up to the staff to carry out their responsibilities while staying attuned with their colleagues. It’s a simple thing called respect.

There’s no way around the chaos that will ensue but if respect formed as a mutual bond amongst staff, from employee to supervisor and vice versa, motivation will stay high. This little shift in the professional kitchen paradigm will have everyone working together as a well-oiled team, not to mention, keeping the kitchen running as a smooth operation.

Every fine restaurant wants repeat happy, satisfied customers. The only way to acquire that is to start working as a team from the bottom of the faculty chain all the way up to the top of the management line!

Teamwork is a continual loop that shows teamwork can never be underestimated in ANY company – especially in the professional kitchen!





Restaurant Customer Service

In a previous post, we discussed what restaurant customer service would be if it was treated like shrink-wrapped software. Today’s short YouTube video is a Sesame Street version of that theme – Enjoy!


Pizza Facts

I came across this interesting Infographic on pizza facts… Yum!

Food Facts, Interesting Food Facts, Food Safety


Don’t Risk A Fine

New food laws require certain food businesses in the NSW hospitality and retail food service sector to have at least one person trained Food Safety Supervisor (FSS). Businesses have until 1 October 2011 to appoint their trained Food Safety Supervisor and notify the relevant council. Penalties for not having a Food Safety Certificate in NSW include a $330 fine for individuals or a $660 fine for corporations, plus placement on the NSWFA “Name and Shame” website for 12 months.

Click on the image below to access an online Food Safety Supervisor Training course.

Food Safety Supervisor Certificate


Revolutionary Chef Cuisinier: Georges Auguste Escoffier

Chefs consider their wonderful food as their masterpieces. As with many famous artists, their legacies live on, producing progressive changes in cultures and lifestyles, exactly the way master chef, Georges Auguste Escoffier did.

This revolutionary chef became as famous as his is today for three major points: The development of modernising traditional French cooking methods, modernising restaurant menus and applying organisation within the professional kitchen. Later on, Escoffier became a best-selling culinary author of books such as, Le Livre des Menus (1912), Ma Cuisine (1934) and most famously, Le Guide Culinaire (1903) which is still currently used as a reference for cookbooks and textbook cooking.

His recipes, techniques and approaches to kitchen management remain highly influential today and adopted by chefs and restaurants not only in France, but around the world.

In the late 19th century, Auguste followed many techniques of another, earlier and very famous chef, Marie-Antoine Careme. Careme’s culinary style was much more elaborate in the early 18th century but his introduction to modernising European dishes and introducing much needed illustrations into his books inspired Escoffier to simplify Careme’s recipes in a way that could continue to be modernised for decades to come.

Beginning his cooking career at Le Petit Moulin Rouge in Paris, Auguste quickly moved up the professional ladder, due to the most notable part of his culinary career: Introducing this newly discovered simplicity along with organised discipline into restaurant menus and kitchens to improve professional kitchen working conditions.

In no time at all, he was working all over Paris in the finest dining restaurants and travelling to Monte Carlo, Switzerland and London to learn more about the culinary world while fine-tuning his own culinary techniques.

Another interesting little fact is that during this era of his career, Auguste served in the French Army as Chef de Cuisine during the Franco-Prussian War in 1870, which most likely comprised of the best fed soldiers to date! This experience in touring and Army life led Escoffier to realise the importance preserving foods which led to him becoming the first chef to ever research and develop techniques for canning and preserving meats and vegetables.

After his time was up as Chef de Cuisine in the French Army, Auguste Escoffier delved right back into the same role, only this time, Cesar Ritz invited him to become the Chef de Cuisine for the Grand Hotel in Monte Carlo in the winter and at the Grand National in Lucerne in the summer.

Peach Melba

Ritz then took over management at the Savoy Hotel, which allowed him to open his own chain chain of renown hotels named, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, in which Escoffier joined as his partner. Together, they conquered hospitality serving up brand new menus daily of the finest foods around to people of high class like the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Orleans. Because he needed to create new food menus every day, Escoffier also created some of his most famous dishes that are still currently served all over the world: Peach Melba and Cherry Jubilee just to name a couple.

Aside from making French cuisine world famous and forever changing how the world looked at Culinary Arts, there was also quite the philanthropic side to him. Amongst his many other talented and creative‘firsts,’ Auguste was the first to start programs to feed the hungry and organisations to give retired chefs financial assistance.

Although he’s won many achievement awards like the Legion d’Honneur, a lifetime of recognition means so much more! In today’s culinary line of work, his systematically organised and spotlessly, clean kitchen, called the Brigade de Cuisine, are used in every professional restaurant and run by the Chef de Partie.

All of his revolutionary restaurant management techniques, philosophies and experiences have allowed for Culinary Artist, Georges Auguste Escoffier, to become the legendary master chef that is known and admired in today’s culinary world – and the world has definitely noticed!







Jewellery in the Kitchen

Most people have pieces of jewellery that they were regularly and some, like wedding rings, that they never take off. In the kitchen, however, taking off jewellery is extremely important for yourself and others in ways you may have never even thought of!

In professional kitchens, it’s a requirement that staff aren’t allowed to wear jewellery such as watches, earrings and necklaces when preparing food. There are a couple of exceptions to this rule that include wedding bands and medical alert bracelets BUT gloves must be worn at all times for protection. If there is a religious bracelet that an employee can’t remove, it will have to be managed by taping and remaining covered with protective work gear.

One of the main reasons watches and jewellery may not be worn around food are the dirt and bacteria it collects and spreads. Even if the jewellery has been cleaned and sanitised, it may catch other microorganisms that are lying around or from raw foods like uncooked chicken.

The other main reason jewellery is banned from food service kitchens is the potential hazard of a piece of metal or gemstone that could possibly fall off and into the food that’s being prepared. The last thing any reputable food company wants is customers with chipped teeth, broken teeth or internal cuts and lesions inside of their mouths!

Contrary to what people might believe, jewellery is very hard to completely clean out all of the germs and microorganisms that hide in the chain links or under those precious stones. Just because it looks sparkly doesn’t mean it’s sanitary.

Jewellery is worn for many different reasons; whether it means something sentimental or it defines how a person looks. The main thing to always remember, though, is to save beauty for outside of the kitchen because inside, food safety matters a heck of a lot more!





A Clean Chef’s Uniform = A Clean Professional Kitchen

Every job has a dress code; whether it’s for business attire at the office, a logo filled collared shirt for the cable man/woman or hair netting and gloves for kitchen employees. A uniform represents a personal standing within the company as well as oftentimes, useful for other purposes such as safety and hygiene assurance.

In any food working environment, great, personal hygiene and safety of the employee and consumers goes a long way in food safety. One way to encourage as much cleanliness in the professional kitchen as possible is to require uniform practices that help prevent bacteria from spreading in the food preparation area.

It goes without saying that all kitchen staff are required to come to work clean and wear clean, uniformed clothes and coverings when working with food. If you’ve ever noticed chefs and cooks in the kitchen when dining out, their uniform consists solely of all white. It seems a little silly to those not in the food business that white, the easiest stained colour of all, is used in one of the messiest professions out there. The reason behind it is very interesting though: Safety.

Not only can white be bleached (pure sanitation) every time it’s washed but white is also the most reflective colour which helps keep heat at bay for cooks to stay cooler. Also, these white coats don’t have your typical plastic buttons on them; rather, they contain knotted buttons that don’t melt and are easy to unbutton should a flame or oil accident occur.

You might think, in such a hot kitchen, why do food service employees wear long-sleeved coats? Again, the answer is: Safety. Long sleeves help protect employees from getting burns from boiling liquids or accidental oil spills while also protecting happy customers from flakes of dead skin, drops of sweat or body hair from ending up in their food.

Ideally, work clothes should be long-sleeved and light-coloured (to show the dirt) with no external pockets.  Long sleeves protect both the food and your arms, prevents skin from touching food and helps to stop hairs, fibres and the contents of pockets (which can carry bacteria) getting into food.

When working with raw poultry or other salmonella carrying food, aprons are then typically used over the white chef uniform so that it can be removed without requiring a time-consuming, full change of clothing. Also, to follow any health regulation required in any country, long hair is required to stay tied back while also wearing disposable hair (and beard) nets and rubber gloves.

A good idea to help keep up the sanitation of a professional kitchen is to enforce employees to only put on their kitchen uniforms once they’ve arrives to the food prep area and removed once their shift is over to avoid tracking in dirt and bacteria from the outside. Since reputable food companies need to keep their customers healthy and food-poisoning free, these uniforms, hair nets and gloves are an absolute must!