August 26, 2008

ServSafe Certified!

servsafe-1

Last Friday I went into the Massachusetts Restaurant Association offices in Southborough, MA and took my ServSafe exam ($50). This is an exam that is required for “Foodservice Managers.” At John Olinto’s recommendation I’d skipped the course and opted for the online training. You sign up with the National Restaurant Association, give them $135, and take the course at your own pace online. It’s sort of fun and hokey, but they have all of these movies, and you have to let each of them play through, or manually fast forward before you can move on. Takes a long time, but you have to complete the training before you can take the test. It took me about 5 hours, and I don’t think it could go much faster for anyone. I managed to catch up on episodes of Mad Men while taking the course, so it wasn’t so bad.

So I needed an 75% to pass the test (which seems a pretty tough bar to me). I got a 88%, so home-free. I missed a couple about some meat-borne bacteria (they have about 15 that they want you to remember, all with different names), and a question about how to properly thaw a turkey.

The interesting thing is that the test and the FDA’s guidelines and requirements work together to ruin food quality. There is literally a quote suggesting restaurants consider using only frozen chicken because it is safer. Another one of my favorites: “consider using pasteurized eggs for all dishes that will not be cooked to high temperature.” (I’m paraphrasing) Pasteurized eggs!?! Do you know what those are? They come in a milk carton, enough said.

So here’s the interesting thing. Immune systems, nutrients, etc. aside, if you just take it that processed food has a lower incident of health problems (which it generally probably does). That only balances very broad distribution. That is, given the structure of these food systems and how many people are served out of a single factory, the cost of a failure is thousands sick.

FDA’s “potentially hazardous foods” (they recently changed that to some sort of acronym, TCS Food or something):

  • Milk and milk products
  • Eggs (except those treated to eliminate Salmonella spp.)
  • Raw sprouts and sprout seeds
  • Shellfish and crustaceans
  • Heat-treated plant food, such as
  • cooked rice, beans, and vegetables
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Baked potatoes
  • Tofu or other soy-protein food
  • Sliced melons
  • Untreated garlic-and-oil mixtures
  • Synthetic ingredients, such as textured soy protein in meat alternatives

The latest addition to the list? Tomatoes. And they weren’t even to blame for the outbreak!

Recent Posts

March 27, 2024
Every year, just after Valentine’s Day, we start getting the same question in from customers: Will there be a Passover Box this year? Sometimes the pleas are more direct, sometimes more colorful. The glories of the vegetarian Chopped Liver are a common theme. This year, Sarah, an NYC-based friend of mine said she’s spent so much time thinking about the emails describing last year’s box that she’s DRIVING UP TO BOSTON to claim one!
February 15, 2024
We have a new sandwich out everywhere today. It’s a take on a Buffalo Chicken sandwich. We use celery root, aka celeriac, this nobbly, gnarled joy of a winter vegetable. We cut it into planks, batter it with panko, and fry it. We’re getting ours from Norwich Meadows Farm, a farm in NY state that’s known for creating really flavorful organic veggies using a cool irrigation system. 
February 7, 2024
For the week of Valentine’s Day, we’ll be delivering these Making Whoopie (Pie) Kits 😉. They have everything you need to make whoopie pies — more specifically, Chris’ favorite oatmeal cakes with beet buttercream frosting. You’ll also get a scoop for making the perfect size pie, and a roll of sugar cookie dough for more sweet fun.
January 18, 2024
Pull out your plaid and cue up the bagpipes because it’s Clover’s third-ever celebration of Burns Night, an introduction to Scottish food/drink/music/poetry and a reason to raise a glass during this dark and cold month! You may be asking yourself, what is Burns Night?
January 17, 2024
Chances are you’ve tried the new Clover Bowls. We’ve been running them since the Spring. After a few tweaks, we landed on a roster we love: the Mediterranean Bowl, the Verde Rice and Bean Bowl, and a Rotating Seasonal Bowl. The bowls have transformed our menu – Josh, a Kendall customer, recently wrote to us, “The beet poke bowl is the best new item I’ve tried at Clover in years. I love the freshness and bite of the mix of flavors.” We’ve also heard some very good suggestions about how to make them even better…
January 3, 2024
Meet the Veggie Monster Meal Box! Some of you are subscribers to our Friday newsletter about plant-based cooking. Now… that newsletter has spawned a meal box! Pack your fridge with everything you need to make an entire week of vegetable-based meals. Think hearty pot pies; sweet and spicy maple-roasted squash tacos; bowls packed with…
December 20, 2023
New Year’s Eve is no time to be buried in the kitchen, so we pack our NYE Box with Clover fan favorites that come together fast and encourage a night of Finger-Food Feasting. Can you think of anything better than digging into bubbling hot Brussels Sprout Cheese dip on a freezing cold Boston night? Or scooping up our bright nutty Romesco sauce as the clock ticks to midnight?  And our breakthrough Carrot Lox (probably the best thing to come out of our food dev in 2023) will have you resolving to spare more salmon in the year ahead.
December 19, 2023
Stop by Clover today (Tuesday 12/19) and when you order a Brussels Sandwich on the app, we’ll give you $1 off our new chocolate chip cookie! It’s a gift from King Brussels, on his final day in the Clover Kingdom. Use this link to get yours!
December 16, 2023
Are you looking for the perfect gift for a friend who loves Clover? We have online gift cards! You can specify a time that you’d like the card to hit their inbox – and there’s a new feature that lets multiple people pool money to send a card to one person. Pretty cool!  
December 10, 2023
What would we serve if we had all of you over for Christmas dinner? This (epic) box, available only for Christmas, is an homage to the holiday traditions of our Clover staff. And like all Clover boxes, it supports our hardworking Massachusetts farmers, millers, bakers, and cheesemakers. This box is designed to feed you and keep you properly festive throughout a week with different meals/snacks, and can also be laid out all together on a holiday table as one big feast.
December 4, 2023
These sweet potato latkes date back to early days on the Clover food truck. They’re so yummy and the sweet potatoes lend them such a fun golden color. They’re probably the most popular item in our Hanukkah Meal Box, which you can get delivered on December 7th. Inside the box you’ll find: 
November 29, 2023
I’m writing to share some news: we’ve decided to permanently close CloverROW, our outpost in the Assembly Row neighborhood of Somerville. The closure of this restaurant is part of the whole company’s focus on reaching financial sustainability and positioning us for future growth. These decisions are really hard, but they’re necessary steps for us to simplify Clover. And, happily, all the amazing staff at CloverROW, including the manager Joe, will be able to move into other Clover restaurants. The math is straightforward…