Hibachi - Food Safety
- schoenfelderp Jan 26, 2012 06:36 PM
Went to a hibachi place today at the request of some friends. I'm not usually a fan of the showy stuff but I went with it. I watched the chef sear a piece of chicken on both side, and while it was still clearly raw in the middle, use his knife to slice it into, then put the knife right back in his "holster". I know I tend to err more on the side of caution than most people when it comes to food safety, but this didn't seem right to me. Thoughts on this?*
*Other than the fact that no self respecting chef would be caught using knives on a metal surface or keeping them in a metal holster
The exposed part of the chicken was seared, and that's the most likely part to have bacterial nasties on it. It's highly unlikely (not impossible, granted) that the interior of the chicken would harbor any food-borne pathogens. In my mind, the chances are so remote that it's not an issue.
I bet he moved the chicken from the plate to the cooking surface with his spatula, tho...the same spatula he uses to toss and turn all the food he cooked. Cross-contamination is much more likely there. Again, to me, tho, not enough for me to be concerned. Possibly because I've only eaten at teppan places three times in my whole life.
Ok, let me explain it more clearly. The chicken, whether cooked through or not, is most likely to harbor bacteria on the surface, not inside, so the sear on the chicken will probably take care of the food safety issues, and dragging the knife through an undercooked chicken breast poses little if any threat of bacterial contamination. Using the spatula to lift (or even just to push) the raw breast from plate to cooking surface contaminates the spatula, and when the chef uses that spatula to toss or turn anything else on the cooktop, he's spreading the potential chicken-y badness EVERYWHERE. Fear the spatula, not the knife.