A thermometer is a little tiny tool but it plays one of the biggest roles in a restaurant kitchen. Workers stick it in baked chicken to make sure it's hot enough to kill salmonella and they poke it in potato salad to make sure it's cold enough to keep any bacteria from growing. But it's easy for thermometers to get out of calibration.
Unfortunately if one is off by just a few degrees means you could get sick. Chef Keith Gardiner at GTCC says, "It's so easy for one to get out of calibration. People think,'If I calibrated last week I'm fine.' But if there's a sudden change in temperature - going in and out of the freezer - can cause it. Dropping them is a huge problem."
But Gardiner says it's so easy to calibrate them. "I brought three of them here to give you an example of how to do it. The easiest way is ice water. It should be 32 degrees. Put them all in there."
He swishes them around in a container of water for about a minute. "This one actually reads 40 degrees."
Now - to calibrate it. "A lot of thermometers are really cool. They come with a little wrench built into the sleeve. You slide it over the nut under the thermometer face. Put the tip in the water and turn the nut until dial reads 32 degrees."
Gardiner says, "It should really be checked every day."
It's that easy for us at home too. We don't need the super secret chef thermometer. All thermometers have a bolt you can adjust. A pair of needle nose pliers will do the trick. Or like Gardiner's, the thermometer sleeve may adjust it. And we should do it frequently as well.