Kitchen Safety Tips

When planning a cooking class, the number of students who can safely participate will depend on the recipe, equipment available, and number of adults available to supervise. A smaller group may be best until you have an idea of the skill and comfort level among your students in the kitchen, or anytime your recipe calls for a lot of stove-top cooking. Review the following safety tips with students and offer reminders as needed.

Avoid cuts

  • Use good quality kitchen equipment and handle it with care
  • Pay careful attention when using knives, vegetable peelers, and graters – do not rush
  • Do not put your hands inside a blender; the blades are very sharp

Avoid shocks

  • Keep electrical appliances away from water or wet hands
  • Hold the plug (never the cord) to unplug an appliance
  • Unplug small appliances when they are not in use

Avoid burns and fires

  • Keep paper towels and dish towels away from the stove/range top
  • Point the handle of a frying pan or pot inwards, not out (it could catch on your clothes)
  • Turn off the stove/range and oven after using it
  • Use dry oven mitts to lift food in and out of the oven
  • Do not leave pots or pans on the stove/range unattended
  • Avoid hot steam coming from boiling water

Avoid bacteria and foodborne illness

  • Wash hands before food preparation (and throughout, as needed)
  • Clean and sanitize cooking utensils, equipment and surfaces after cooking
  • Use separate cutting boards for fruits or vegetables and meat or poultry
  • Do not put cooked food back onto a plate or cutting board that held raw food
  • Do not taste foods twice with the same spoon. Wash it properly or use another.
  • Dress appropriately for cooking (e.g. a clean apron, closed-toed shoes, a chef’s hat), pull back long hair in a ponytail and remove any jewelry (rings, bracelets)

Avoid falls

  • Clean up spills immediately – wet floors are slippery
  • Keep walking areas clear
  • Use a step-stool to reach high places

Use knives safely

  • Use the right knife for the job. The knife should be bigger than the food you are going to cut (e.g. paring knife for trimming and small tasks, chef’s or slicing knife for larger tasks)
  • Use a cutting board. Never cut food while holding it in the palm of your hand.
  • Place a non-slip mat or a clean, damp cloth under cutting boards to keep them from sliding around
  • Cut round or uneven foods in half first to create a flat surface to rest against the cutting board
  • Keep your fingers out of the way by making a claw shape with the hand holding the food
  • Never put a knife in a sink of water. Wash and dry it right away or leave it beside the sink where it will be more visible.