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Tetris in the Walk-In…

Having worked in the restaurant industry before, I know that every few months the kitchen or restaurant as a whole gets deep cleaned. Most of the time deep cleanings  are a few hours of getting the floors, walls, and equipment clean, while the staff cleaning gets dirtier, and dirtier. However sometimes you have the story that is about to unfold in the meat fabrication kitchen from yesterday.

Now deep cleaning is normally difficult because of all the dust and grim that has been allowed to accumulate in the months between deep cleanings. However because of the regulations that are in place for cleaning each day this doesn’t really get the chance to happen to much. Anyone who has been in our meat fab kitchen can tell you that it smells like an operating room.

With this being said when our chef dropped on us, an hour and a half  before the end of class, that we would be deep cleaning the whole kitchen I wasn’t to worried about getting done in time; then he told me we had to scrub the walls and all of the shelves in our walk-in refrigerator. All of this had to be done without first exposing any of the product inside to the cleaning chemicals, and second to not allow them to get into a temperature danger zone.  What this meant for me as the first person to start the walk in was I got to play a real life game of Tetris. with shelves of beef, chicken, fish, lamb, pork, and all the other items that we keep in our walk-in for making the fabricated meats (sausage, deli meats ect.) being my Tetris blocks.

Cleaning the walk-in had the same rules as the game, build an empty shelf and it gets taken out of the playing field to be cleaned only to be brought back in later and have to find a home. The items and shelves are all different sizes, and if they stack up to much, can fall and the game is lost. It is also a race against time as you have to complete the game before anything spoils.

So there I am moving everything off one shelf on to another shelf keeping it in order of use (first in first out). This is the first part of the game, the next part is getting the shelves out and here came the fun part… I found out that not all the shelves are the same size, and the best part is that 2 of them are behind the cooler fans. This involved me having to “juggle” the shelves and items on the selves  around so that we could get enough room to remove the two shelving unites from behind the cooling fans.

As the shelves are removed two of my block mates, (the other students who are on the same rotation and class as me) jump to action and clean the walls and floor. Outside the walk-in the rest of the block is cleaning the shelves, sanitizing, and then drying them down. It was a dance of cleaners, brushes, shelves and people.

Like every game of Tetris there are moments of “oh god I’m not going to make it!” However being the masters of Tetris that we are, we got everything completed in time with no spoilage.

This is where our story ends, but the real life game of “Tetris deep clean” will continue for me at least every few months…


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One Comment on “Tetris in the Walk-In…”

  1. leaf52 October 20, 2010 at 5:19 pm #

    Great analogy!

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