Without good kitchen hygiene there is no top-tier restaurant

The kitchen of Pekka Terävä's Michelin-star restaurant Olo is cleaned with Kiilto's products and the long-standing co-operation garners praise from the top chef.

Pekka Terävä is one of the big names and ambassadors of Finnish cuisine. He has reaped success in both international chef competitions and as a Michelin-star restaurateur.

The latest honour Terävä received came from abroad when he received the Stockholm Culture Award in March 2017 for his work in promoting Nordic culinary arts.

Even though international attention for his life’s work warms his heart, Terävä is not fazed by the accolades – he is more interested in constant, uncompromisingly high quality in everything that he does.

– For me, everyday work is important. I want to be constantly proud of the quality of my work. The biggest thank you I can get for my work is that all of the over 30 restaurants I have worked on are still viable and functionally terrific. I don’t work on flashes in the pan or short-lived concepts; all my kitchens are designed for first-grade craftsmanship.

Disciplined kitchen work requires cleanliness

What makes a top chef an expert of cleanliness? Having designed nearly 40 restaurants and kitchens, Pekka Terävä knows exactly what is needed for a functional kitchen. A top-tier restaurant is cleaned twice a day and a larger clean-up is done once a week. In this weekly cleaning, everything is scrubbed: the ceilings, the walls, the shelves, the stoves and the pans.

– Without hygiene there is no top-tier restaurant – these two walk hand in hand. If the kitchen isn’t clean and organised, the chef cannot operate rationally in the space. The work is so disciplined that each instrument must be clean and in its rightful place.

On a typical day, the table surfaces of a top kitchen are cleaned at least twice a day and the floor twice a day, and the ovens and all kitchen utensils are washed once at the end of the day. In addition to diligence, the cleaning result also depends on the used cleaning agents and equipment. In Pekka Terävä’s kitchen there are no compromises on these: he only uses Kiilto’s general cleaning agents and oven cleaners.

– The kitchen has to be as clinical as a surgical hospital, states Terävä unabashedly.

Cleanliness is next to godliness: signs of a good restaurant

Restaurant goers are always interested in how to spot a good restaurant. If the menu does not provide the answer, Terävä advises people to evaluate the overall appearance and cleanliness of the restaurant.

An outsider is only rarely granted a glimpse into the restaurant’s holy of holies – the kitchen – but according to Terävä you can judge a place’s cleanliness by the main room and the bathrooms.

If the water taps in the bathroom are dirty, for example, or if things are just lying around here and there, the kitchen is probably not up to scratch either.

Cleanliness and order go hand in hand, so a messy general appearance probably means that the restaurant does not reach a very high level in cleanliness either.

– If the restaurant is messy and everything is a bit here and there, the staff can’t properly focus on the patron. If the restaurant does not have enough staff to clean up, then they probably don’t have enough to serve the patrons. Restaurant work is, after all, craftsmanship, so being in a hurry reflects on everything: a messy place does not have enough staff for neither the food nor the service product. This is the unavoidable cycle of a restaurant kitchen, Terävä notes.

See how the kitchen of Pekka Terävä’s restaurant Olo is cleaned after lunch: Restaurant Olo – Cleaning the restaurant kitchen after lunch: