It’s an area of food service that’s often overlooked — yes, we’re talking about ice. Whether you have an upscale cocktail bar, a sushi restaurant or a bistro, it’s likely you deal with ice on a daily basis. The type and size of ice you use will determine how you get your ice, whether you buy it from a supplier or choose to have your own machine. Here are some guidelines for how to use ice in your restaurant.
Cooking with ice
How: To some, this will sound counter intuitive, but you know that a quick blanch and ice bath is the best thing that happens to some vegetables. From blanching to emulsions, there are many ways to use ice while cooking.
Which shape: Cooking with ice means you can use standard ice cubes, or crescent ice which has a slower melting time.
How: Displaying fresh seafood on ice not only looks great, it also keeps your catch of the day fresh. Salad bars are also popular places to use ice for display, as it can be packed around salad bowls and helps to keep the contents cool.
Which shape: In this case, use flaked or snow ice, as it is formed quickly, uses a minimum of water to create, and can be packed into shapes and around bowls easily.
How: From cocktails and high end whiskey on the rocks, to iced coffees and tea, drinks are a more obvious way to use ice in food service.
Which shape: Use larger cubes for expensive whiskey and spirits, as they take longer to melt, and standard ice cubes to shake up and chill a cocktail. Iced coffee can be brewed over large ice cubes, or blended with ice in a blender.
Most regulatory bodies view ice as a foodstuff, regardless of how it is being used. It should be made from potable water and handled correctly:
- Always use a scoop and hold it by the handle, not the body of the scoop.
- Scoops should be kept outside the ice maker in a container and both should be cleaned regularly.
- Wash hands before removing ice from an ice maker, and do not return unused ice to the ice maker.
- Store all food stuff away from the ice machine — it is not a refrigerator or freezer!
- The ice machine should be shut down, emptied and cleaned regularly.