The morning started with the visiting from our local government office (a long awaited meeting), Riverside county health department officer.
I just opened the door, 11:00am, and there he was. I thought the young man whom I saw standing right in front of the restaurant was just somebody who wanted to have early lunch. But as he asked if we were opened, I recognized the batch he wears on his chest. My heart skipped several beats. “Uh oh!…Here he is!!!…” I thought. “The long awaited man since we opened the restaurant eight months ago is now at our door.”
For those of you who have never run a food business probably will not understand the battle between the “Health Department” and the “Food establishment”. And I tell you, it is quite a “cat and mouse” chasing game. A very interesting one! and yet, some time it can turn into a very dangerous one.
By law, Health Department officers are sent out on their routine to check the food businesses every six months. Their goal is to make sure each and every restaurant (small or large, individual or corporate) is clean and complied to the rules and regulations in their book. Sound good and dignify, right?
The problem is, depending on each establishment and what kind of business one owns, peoples have different ways of running their operations, as well as ways of preparing and cooking method. So, it is very common that these officers will find mistakes, wrong ways of operating or many little things for them to mark down points and judge, and give poor rate of performance accordingly. Of course, this creates arguments and complaints.
Ruggero (and many, many other business owners) always complains about these service men and women. He even calls them “terrorists”. But “In the end”, I tell him again and again, “Thanked to them, food facilities in America are clean and healthy environments. It is good for every businesses and for customers too. That is what they are for, don’t you think so?” He thinks for awhile, then agrees.
Well, the young man took a tour around our facility with his pen and a note book. Both of us followed him and watched every move he made. He opened all the refrigerators and freezers; Checked each and all the temperatures of our foods whether it is fresh, raw or frozen; Checked all the dry food on the shelves; Looked through and into every container on the racks. Then he looked into the sinks, where we do dishes. Checked the temperature of the hot water, to see if we have enough soaps, sanitizer, bleaches etc. An hour went by with our heart beats jumped up and down with every note he made on the paper.
Finally, he stopped, looked around the kitchen and the dinning room one more time and then said: “Good! you passed the inspection.” He looked at his report again.
Hooray!…Ruggero and I gave each other a big high-five.
“I give you 95 points and an “A” for the inspection.” He said.
“YES!…”I can’t help screaming with a big smile. Ruggero shook his head and laughed at me. We signed in relief as the young man said goodbye and walked out the door.
“Phewww!!! What a day!…”
For couple of days, I have been busy fulfilling my duty as an American citizen too, to pay tax due. Yep! it was not fun at all, but it is time to get it done. So, here I go…papers, notes, invoices, emails, fax, phone calls…It takes great discipline to really sit down and work seriously with the numbers and to gaze through piles of papers. By the time I have all the facts together, my mind froze. Mentally, I am exhausted.
So, I will have to apologize to all of you for the skipping of my posts. Goodbye for now, and hope you all had a good day.