Knowledge Base > Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

Eric Wynkoop - Ask Me Anything (Office Hours)

This event was on Tuesday, January 02, 2024 at 11:00 am Pacific, 2:00 pm Eastern

Join Chef Eric Wynkoop in his virtual office as he welcomes all of your questions. This event was created for you and we encourage you to Ask Anything – from cooking techniques to co… Read More.



Do you have a recommendation for cooling foods down before putting in fridge. Such as soups, etc. Is this a concern?

— Jane Barnett


You know, um, when we talk about, uh, food safety and sanitation, which is a part of any culinary course, any culinary program, um, that, uh, is, is the one of the first topics we cover. And, um, uh, the way that we handle these, uh, hot, uh, you know, uh, items is to put them into a shallow container to maximize surface area, and then that's gonna, you know, allow heat to dissipate. Uh, and then, you know, we do that at room temperature usually, um, for a while. It could be an hour, for example. And, uh, then we can put that into the refrigerator. We can, we can recon containerize it as needed and then put it into the refrigerator. If it's a smaller amount of food, um, very often we can just put it in the container and then put it into the refrigerator, and that's okay. All right. Um, but larger quantities of hot items that go into the refrigerator will increase the temperature inside that box, inside your refrigerator, and it'll compromise everything else, okay? They might not go bad immediately, but their shelf lives will decrease as a result of, uh, their exposure to the higher temperature in the refrigerator. So that's a, that's a, a big reason why, um, we, uh, wanna avoid putting large quantities of hot things in the fridge. The other one is for that given hot item. If we have something that is in a, in a container like this, and it's hot, it's gonna take a while for that very center of that, of the container, uh, in the food, in the container to, uh, come down to a safe temperature. So all the while the outside might be cool to the touch, it might seem fine bacteria is multiplying in the center where it's still warm. And, uh, that can pose, uh, a concern, right? And, uh, the typical concern is one of spoilage. The most common scenario, uh, is gonna be spoilage, right? We always have yeasts and bacteria, uh, on our, in our environment, on our hands, on our containers. That's just the way of life. And those things, um, hasten the spoilage of food. They decrease the shelf life of food. It could be mold that results or, you know, something else depending on what it is that's infected the food. Um, however, what we usually talk about is a foodborne illness as in a, um, a disease like salmonella or botulism or, you know, Norwalk disease or something like that. Um, yes, those are concerns, but they're a much, much, much smaller concern. The reason why we talk about those foodborne diseases, uh, more often than spoilage is because the consequences can be dire. Uh, it's not unusual for a person to die, whereas if it's spoilage bacteria, you might get a stomachache and diarrhea, and that's it. You're gonna be over it in a few hours. Um, so you know, the, the keep in mind that, you know, as far, I, I'm kinda on a ta on a food safety and sanitation tangent here, pardon me. But it is a, a favorite topic of mine. You know, keep in mind that one of the, um, and perhaps the number one culprit when it comes to transmission, uh, of these other microorganisms, um, that these unusual, but, um, uh, very devastating microorganisms, uh, is gonna be the hands, um, via cross contamination. Also, keep in mind that, um, a common mechanism, uh, um, it, in transferring these microorganisms, uh, to us, you know, is the, uh, the fecal oral contamination, uh, which means after gonna the bathroom and wiping the tail end, um, someone didn't wash their hands or didn't wash their hands properly, and it ends up getting into the food, and then into our mouths and into our gut. Um, and so that's often what's happening. Think about that. Um, but anyway, um, yes, by all means, cool, your food start in the refrigerator. And then the other part of this is to reheat the food properly. And, um, in most cases, that means, uh, heating foods to 165 degrees Fahrenheit until it's heated all the way through. Um, you know, at which point, um, you know, most of these microorganisms are gonna be killed off. The populations will drop. We can safely eat the food. Okay? Um, so maybe a, a longer winded answer, uh, than expected, but hopefully that provides some context.
Eric Wynkoop

Eric Wynkoop

Director of Culinary Instruction