Avoiding the blues with colour coding

Adding colour to your kitchen may be appealing, but sometimes its not the right decision.

This week we would like to discuss why colour coding can sometimes cause you to drop a food safety rating and how to correctly implement colour coding to your kitchen.

You’re probably familiar with this image. This system has found it’s home in kitchens all across the world, and with good reason. Colours enable our brains to make decisions in a logical efficient manner, but sometimes this efficiency can bypass that logic. Most commonly in our work, we are asked whether colour coded knives to match chopping boards is a good idea. Our view is the following:

  • Using a colour coded knife can encourage the user to leave the dirty knife on the board after use, thinking it will be used for a similar task. Using a black handled knife however, encourages washing of the knife after dealing with a high risk task.
  • Colour blindness affects over 2.7 million people in Britain, and as such it’s worth knowing whether it affects any of your staff.
  • Just as an artist’s brush is an extension of them, a chef prefers to use their own knife.
  • If your EHO picks up on someone in the kitchen using the wrong coloured knife, even low risk, for example green knife on yellow board, it could cause your restaurant to drop a rank in hygiene rating.

As such, we recommend sticking to black handled knives. But colour coded tongs for high volume fast cook items such steaks or burgers, can be a great place to implement colour coding in your kitchen.