The major responsibility of a kitchen steward involves operating and maintaining cleanliness and hygiene in the kitchen and surrounding areas while adhering to health and hygiene regulations and the hospitality company’s policies and procedures. Raja Narayanasamy, Cluster Chief Steward, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island, DoubleTree by Hilton Ras Al Khaimah and Nader Halim, General Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island talk to Clean Middle East about the current cleaning best practices and more…
Can you explain in detail the cleaning practices followed (for the dining and kitchen area)?
RN: Safety comes first in any of the cleaning processes whether managing personal protective equipment (PPE), sign boards, proper dilution of chemicals, etc. The cleaning process should start from the visible areas first, like walls, ceiling, tables, under counter areas. Before pouring water on the floor it is very important to sweep and remove the dirt. After floor washing we repeat the cleaning of the drainage, cover and surrounding areas. After sanitising all the food contact surfaces, we use disposable tissues for kitchen cleaning equipment. It is very important to know the hazards like the position of the electrical lines or any equipment’s reaction to chemicals to avoid any possible accidents.
Is there an ongoing training required for stewarding managers/staff?
NH: Learning never ends in our department. We train our team for cleaning practices, basic food hygiene, breakage handling and controlling and chemicals handling where third party is involved. Our certified departmental trainers make sure the team is well trained.
What is the required skill set for a stewarding manager in any hotel?
NH: Understanding hotel operations, operating and maintaining cleaning equipment and tools, waste management, knowing all the required standards, knowing the chemicals are some of the most important aspects of being a stewarding manager. Additionally, teamwork, budgeting, effective communication and problem-solving skills while being customer and results oriented are some of the key performance areas of stewarding manager.
How do you ensure the kitchen is clean, well maintained and organised at all times?
RN: By creating a culture of clean environment which goes far beyond the job description while keeping the team motivated by appreciating them for their good work. Also, it is important to maintain teamwork and collaboration within the kitchen and F&B teams. As a Hilton brand we do have quality assurance and follow HACCP standards. Everyone must be trained to ensure our job is done properly and to ensure safety for the guests and the team.
What kind of equipment do you use and what are the steps taken to ensure all equipment are clean and in good working order?
RN: Every year we have new and improved products like granule disk pot wash machines, dishwashers, cutlery dryers, polishers, scrubbing machines, steamers, and waste composters that help us in supporting kitchen operations. Apart from that, we use anti-bacterial soap for hand washing, washing chemical and rinse aid with automatic dozing pumps for dishwashers and pot wash machines; tablets for under counter glass washers, alkaline-based chemicals for ovens and grill cleaning, along with disinfectant for garbage bins and drainages. Some of the tools we use in the cleaning process are gloves, masks, goggles, sponge, scouring pad, mops, wipers, brushes, and dustpans amongst others.
Putting a cleaning schedule in place with a detailed check list, performing preventive maintenance physical checks and pest control along with regular training for all the team members and a strict clean-as-you-go programme help us in ensuring the stewarding department is functioning at its best round the clock.
Are eco-friendly products being used in the cleaning process? How much importance is given to use these?
RN: We make sure that our suppliers have a sustainability certificate. All their products must meet or exceed biodegradability standards and requirements. This must include environmental certifications, including:
1. ISO 9001 (quality), ISO 14001 (environmental), and OHSAS 18001 (health & safety) certification across all manufacturing sites.
2. Eco-labelling: Many of their care products must be eco-certified with the EU Ecolabel (“EU Flower”) and/or the Nordic Ecolabel (“Nordic Swan”).
What are the steps taken for food safety in the kitchen area?
RN: The management of the Double Tree by Hilton Resort & Spa Marjan Island is committed to the establishment, implementation, maintenance and improvement of the HACCP system, in line with the Codex HACCP, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality Food Control Department, guests and in-house requirements. In each of Critical Control Point stewarding plays an important role starting from grooming, hand washing procedure, handling dirty and clean equipment, overseeing pest control activities to maintenance and health of the team members.