Tuesday, May 28, 2013

On the Right Track

You know how, when you're doing something to get your bakery opened, you sometimes get to something that is scarily familiar because it reminds you of working at the zoo? I love that, too.

Today and tomorrow, I'm in the ServSafe class as part of the health department requirements for opening the shop. The instructor is adorable and fun, but not even Ms. Janet can make all of this stuff interesting. Oy. It's not that hard, though, and a lot of the guidelines are familiar. Really familiar. Scarily familiar.

Before I set out on this bakery adventure, I was a teacher for kids with behavior problems. Before I was a teacher for kids with behavior problems, I was an animal behaviorist. 

Like the Crocodile Hunter but less jungley and more in zoos and laboratories.

Because life it too short for only one career, that's why.

As part of my animal behaviorist life, I worked in a couple of zoos. 

No, really. See?
This is Bart. We both like eggs for breakfast.
When I was at Zoo Atlanta (and Sea World for that matter), I was privileged to get to work with a LOT of different types of animals in a several different areas of the zoo. Every area has different guidelines and procedures, but food prep safety is a HUGE deal in every area. 

Please don't eat the Mandi
I'll spare you the specifics, but the rules for preparing animal food were extensive and specific. "Restaurant quality or better" was the mantra repeated countless times. Food was inspected again and again. The meat prep area was completely separate from the produce prep area; not just separate knives, I'm talking separate tables, sinks, and areas of the kitchen.. Things were stored in individual bags, labeled twice, and thrown away earlier than their expiration date.

"Restaurant quality or better."

So, when I started making cakes for people other than just my family, my old zoo habits came back. I remember thinking that I had to keep things cleaner than the zoo- because the standards for animal food should be lower than the standards for human food, right? I wash my hands, on average, every 4 minutes when I'm caking. (I counted once.) I label, I throw away, I go through Clorox wipes like you wouldn't believe. I'm pretty careful, y'all...

Now, imagine my surprise when I attended the ServSafe class today and learned that the Zoo Atlanta standards for food prep really are restaurant quality or higher. Mostly higher. 

I can do this, you guys!

I find it very affirming that my zoo background is paying off in the bakery. Woo hoo! I'll take it as a sign that I'm on the right path.

Also, this:

is whackadoo. Really? Who keeps cake in the same fridge as fish? EW!

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