Ed Sherwin has been recognized as one of the country's top food safety trainers. We talked with Ed about everyday food safety, MacDonald's Hamburger University, what it was like working with Hooters and his extensive baseball cap collection. Stay to the end to find out what keeps him up at night.
I'm Larry Barsh. And you are listening to specifically for seniors. Today's guest is ed Sherwin, CP-FS ,MFP. He is one of the country's top food safety trainers. He was chair and professor of hospitality management at Essex community college and has received numerous awards for teaching excellence. He earned his bachelor of science from Kent state university, a master of science from Johns Hopkins and an honorary doctorate of food service. His postgraduate studies included courses at university of Maryland Cornell and Tulane school of public health and tropical medicine. Thanks for being with us today on specifically for seniors for our listeners. Could you explain what your degree letters mean?
Ed Sherwin (01:08):
Sure. I'll be happy to. I'm a certified professional in food safety, which allows me to practice, food safety, inspections and other types of work, involving regulatory compliance. I'm really very proud of that because I got CP-FS. , afte
r I, retired from teaching and that opened a whole new career for me. I was a college professor for 19 years at the community college level and a Morgan state university in Baltimore. And, I really wanted to broaden my perspectives. I loved learning about food and the relationship between food and diseases and the PFS opened a number of professional doors for me. the, FMP stands food service management professional, which is the highest ranking in the food service industry. I received my FMP with Dick Marriot from Marriott corporation and, I, developed a friendship with Mr. Marriott and the Marriot corporation for many years.
Interesting. How did you get into the food service business? Were you always interested in food or
Ed Sherwin (02:30):
I was born into it. My grandfather was a baker and, our family had a baking and catering operation in Cleveland, Ohio. my father was one of four brothers and all the sons of the four brothers worked in the business,
Ah, before we get into that heavy duty food safety stuff.
Ed Sherwin (02:52):
You know, there's something I've always wanted to know when you go to a store and you buy food, it either sells, says, sell, buy best, buy and use buy what's that all mean
Ed Sherwin (03:11):
Sell, buy is more of an expiration date. let's take eggs or milk as an example. You don't want, you don't wanna buy a car of milk past its sell by date. And that's why everybody reaches into the back of the case to get the one with the longest sell by date. best buy is simply that it's the fr a freshness designation, usually on canned goods and non-perishables, and all it's saying is this is the freshest product that you can have, but it's not gonna be dangerous if you eat it beyond the best buy date
And used by is flat out. Don't use after this date
Ed Sherwin (03:56):
Used by is probably a recommendation, more of a recommendation. Well, well, we think you should use it by this particular date. And, when we do our food safety inspections, one of the food items that we look at are behind the bar because they use half and half for some of the, cocktails, but the bartenders rarely actually check. They used by and the expiration dates. And, let's see today is February, 15th the day after Valentine's date. And we'll go in and we'll find, some products that had a used by date of December it's. So we pull that out and say, look at the use by date, look at the expiration date.
Yeah. To talking about half and half creamer is
Ed Sherwin (04:44):
That half and half creamer milk, orange juice, you know, many products that are, that are not popularly used in, restaurants. They'll just sit there unless somebody is actually checking the temperatures and the, expiration dates be used by as we call it.
And what about all that stuff we find at the bottom of the freezer that we never bothered to put a date on?
Ed Sherwin (05:11):
I, I used to go back to Cleveland, Ohio to visit my family. And my mother had a refrigerator, I think from 1948, it was an old refrigerator. And the, the joke we had was, that there was always a jar of nuts, Berry farm, blueberry jam. And it was always there.
Ed Sherwin (05:32):
From for years and years, and yes, the stuff that's sitting in the bottom of your freezer, that's unpopular and unsold in restaurant. And usually we don't want it there for more than a year,
A year in the freezer.
Ed Sherwin (05:49):
Yeah. That's about the maximum you wanted. Yeah.
On any, any differences in the foods
Ed Sherwin (05:56):
That well, it, it depends on, it depends on what you have in your freezer. if you look at our freezer, you'll find bread and rolls. They're not gonna go bad at all. you'll find some steaks and lamb chops in there. We wanna use those as soon as possible. And, we're freezing them to, maintain freshness, but again are not gonna leave them in there too long. No, no more than a year is what we recommend.
What about refreezing? Are you going to the supermarket? And it says previously frozen.
Ed Sherwin (06:29):
Yeah. It, it's not dangerous if you, if your freezer is in working conditions, you don't wanna re freeze fish. it's best to use that fresh, but certain items, like meats and some poultry items. No, no problem with that. As long as your freezer is working at zero degrees or less, and, you use it within a reasonable amount of time. You're okay.
Oh, well that answers a lot of questions. I've got to get to work after this podcast.
Ed Sherwin (07:02):
Well, I get, I get calls around Thanksgiving about thawing is, you know, when can you thaw frozen foods and again, on those, you don't want thaw room temperature. And, you want thaw under refrigeration is the safest, way to do that. And, for Thanksgiving time, start a couple days before, keep it in the refrigerator so that it doesn't become dangerous.
What about frozen shrimp for a last minute dinner?
Ed Sherwin (07:33):
Well, shrimp shrimp is great because it thoughts quickly and, and thought that under running water and you're good to go.
So that's perfectly. Oh
Ed Sherwin (07:44):
Yeah. That's, that's great. That's a great item. Yes.
you brought up food inspections here in Southern Florida. There's always a report of restaurants that passed inspection or didn't pass inspection. What does that it mean? What goes into a, a food safety inspection? What do you look for
Ed Sherwin (08:05):
There's? We, I, I got involved in doing independent third party inspections after I retired from teaching and it turned out to be a, a really, good, part of my professional growth because we based our inspections on the regulatory standards. it all starts with the us FDA model food code, and that's what it is. It's a model food code, but that doesn't mean that every jurisdiction needs to follow it. So you have some states that the FDA codes and you have some local jurisdictions that follow the FDA codes, but that kind of dictates the standards. What, how should food be handled? What are the proper cooking temperatures in any ways of handling food and, related food items in a food operation? the food inspections that we use down here in Florida are based on the Florida regulations, which are based on the us FDA rigs.
Oh, that's good to know. before you retired, your company served as food safety consultant to some of the biggest food service companies in the country.
Ed Sherwin (09:25):
Yeah. At the time of my retirement, we inspected over 1000 locations, in the United States, in the Caribbean and, in Canada. and, I had the contract for five years, as chairman of what was called quality tourism in the Caribbean QTC. And, I trained inspectors, at every English speaking Caribbean island, in that particular region
And you trained, taught at McDonald's, hamburger university.
Ed Sherwin (10:05):
I did. And, while, while, while we had been doing inspections for private retail companies, one of, of the companies that requested our service was McDonald's, they were, going to implement certain new food safety standards, and they wanted to make sure that they were up to, out to code. So I made a trip to, Chicago. I met with the president of hamburger university to the McDonald's, I should say. And he was a really great guy and we, we hit it off and he said, well, before you can teach a class for us, you have to become McDonaldized. So I had to go to one of the McDonald's, restaurants, one of the bigger ones and learn everything that there was about how a McDonald's operates. And it was very impressive. And then we, we followed it up with a class at hamburger university. I taught the class, the managers were incredibly enthusiastic. They loved my teaching style. and they gave me, they all signed one of the hats and they gave me what they called the silver hat award and showered me with gifts. I have McDonald's baseball caps, McDonald t-shirts McDonald's, neckties. It, it was great. And, I, I love the experience in, working for McDonald's and teaching some other classes.
We'll, we'll get back to the baseball caps in just a minute, but, okay. I understand that one of your clients was Hooters now.
Ed Sherwin (11:40):
Most of us think that Hooters is just a bunch of young ladies and sort of skimpy costumes, serving burgers and whatever, but we never think about how serious they are about food safety.
Ed Sherwin (12:00):
Can you? Yes, it was, it was a great, great experience. one of the companies that had requested me to teach a food safety class was Hooters, and I was going around the country, teach in classes for the educational foundation of the national restaurant association. And they would send me to train, some of the managers of these companies and executives. And one of the companies that had requested a class was Hooters, and they had a hamburger university. Everybody has a hamburger university, and this was a hoots university and it was in Atlanta, Georgia. So I went down there and I taught the class and I'm a real easygoing guy. And, they, they loved my style and I'll, I'll never forget that class because they had a Cal, they had a calendar and there was a poster of the calendar girl right in the class.
Ed Sherwin (12:55):
And she was one of the students. And I'm looking at the I'm teaching in the class from the front, and I'm looking at the poster and she was sitting in the front row and I'm looking at her and looking at the poster and looking at her. And at the end of the class, all the girls signed the poster, which I still have. And it's sitting in my, in, at, at home right here in Boyton beach. But anyways, they liked what I was doing so much. And they liked my style that they said, would you be interested in working with us? And I said, yes. And so at first I went around the country, doing food safety training classes, the program from the educational foundation as called serve safe. So I was teaching serve safe classes. And then one of the stores was close of all places close by the health department in Cleveland, Ohio.
Ed Sherwin (13:47):
Well guess where I grew up, Cleveland, Ohio and the vice president, Cheryl name was Cheryl Whiting at the time. And she called me up. I'll never forget that. And she, he said, hi, ed. I said, hi, Cheryl. She said, how would you like to go visit your mother? I said, yeah, sure. I said, I'm, I'm free next week. She said, no, I, I need you to go right now to Cleveland. And, I went to Cleveland and we got the, restaurant reopened in a couple days, cleaned up and reopened. And they liked what I did. And, asked me if I would be interested in doing, food safety inspections for the franchise, which was called RMD corporation. And then they had recommended me to Hooters of America, the parent company. And from that, I got the national contract for every Hooters in the United States with the exception of two franchises.
Ed Sherwin (14:42):
But every Hooters in the United States from Spokane Washington to Florida, it was great. I was, I, I worked with Hooters for 16 years and I can tell you, it's a tremendously professional organization. it's not sexist at all. They protect the girls. They respect, I'm sorry if I call them girls, but they're young and anybody younger than me as a girl, but they respect them. And it's a multi high billion dollar corporation professionally run by smart people. And the uniforms are really more cheerleader uniforms. They're, they're not sexy. They are sexy of course, but it's orange tights and, the tank tops, white, white, shoes and white socks. But, no more than what a 15 year old girl would wear, just out on the street. Really?
So the executives don't wear the uniform.
Ed Sherwin (15:41):
No, no, but we wear, we, when I would, go out to the field, I would wear polo shirts. They always gave me polo shirts and with 200, 200 and some stores, I, I collected sh shorts. I collected, shirts. I collected you can't, you can imagine t-shirts and, camp what they call camp shirts, where they're similar to what I'm wearing now from every one of the stores. And I would come in and they'd say, all right, dad, you're not leaving until you get a polo shirt or a baseball cap. And, I, I, before we moved down here, I probably had over 200 different articles of clothing that they had been, that they had given to me. And I kept many of them.
So that brings us to your baseball cap collection. Yeah. And the book you and the book you wrote about it,
Ed Sherwin (16:32):
It's called lids. And, because I, I have a motto that somebody had told me once. don't wear it unless you earn it.
How many hat?
Ed Sherwin (16:45):
How, how many, sorry, how many hats do you have
Ed Sherwin (16:49):
Right now? I probably have about 50 and yesterday in the mail from my nephew in Cleveland. I have a new Cleveland guardians baseball cap, and that's the name of the former Cleveland Indians. But my favorite cap of all is of course, chief wahoo from the Indians, because I grew up with the Indians and that was always my favorite team.
And what's your least favorite cap or shouldn't I ask?
Ed Sherwin (17:17):
Oh, no, no uncle Teddy's pretzels. It was a miserable experience. uncle Teddy's pretzels was a pretzel stand, at, in, in the Concourse at Camden yards in Baltimore. And at that time I was working for the catering company, that had the contract for that particular space. And when the season started in late March and April, it was so cold there. And we froze, I, I I'll never forget that. And it was just miserable, rolling pretzels in the basement of Camden yards in early April in the rain and the cold weather. And, it, it was just a horrible experience. the people at uncle Teddy's were fine. Teddy was a nice guy and, our company owned own the franchise. So that wasn't the issue, but I'll never forget. I made my wife work there. she's a CPA. And, she had to keep, track of the money. And when you have 40,000 people and each one is spending an average of $18, each that's about $700,000 that we handled in every game. And I made my wife go into the counting room to help count the money. And she, she disliked it him immensely.
One final question.
Ed Sherwin (18:41):
On a serious note.
Ed Sherwin (18:43):
What keeps you up at night about food safety in this country?
Ed Sherwin (18:51):
The we're, we're having some serious issues in the restaurant industry, because of the supply chain, problems, there's many of those problems. And of course, with the labor problems and people aren't sensitive, the, the guests still expect good food. They still expect quality service. And they don't understand that we are really hurting when it comes to finding managers, when it comes to finding employees, and serving the guests to the expectations that they have last Sunday, I received a phone call from a person who lives in our community and he said, I'm sitting at this restaurant and the service is terrible.
And, and he wanted You to do
Ed Sherwin (19:39):
Yeah. To do what it's Sunday night, I'm sitting at home watching television. And my response was what an amazing coincidence I happen to be in the kitchen right now. Well, the, and I said, no, I'm, I'm really not. But if, look, if we only the, the cooks come in and sometimes at eight o'clock in the morning, I'm amazed at how hard they work. And you try working in a hot kitchen and it's, and you're wearing a mask all day from eight o'clock in the morning. And sometimes when they work double shifts, that's until 10 o'clock at night where the servers and people don't wanna sit inside the restaurant. Everybody wants to sit outside if you have the space for it outside, and they'll be sitting outside and you can imagine how hard it is to carry those trays. When I go to a restaurant and I'm watching how the servers work, you see them, you know, you have a table of four, a table of six, and everybody's ordering drinks and water.
Ed Sherwin (20:38):
And they come out carrying those trays. I am in such deep respect for what they do and how hard they work. And of course the distance between the outside dining rooms and the inside is a lot, and they're going back and forth and, and their feet hurt and their legs hurt. And I, I'm very sympathetic to the people working in this industry. And that's what keeps me up at night is, you know, not, not so much the safety of the food, because we do have high standards for the restaurants that I work with, but just the employees themselves. I, I just want to make an aside on this, but my largest, my largest client before we moved here was actually not Hooters. Hooters was about the 40% of my business, but it was a convenience store chain called Royal farms based out of Baltimore. And what kept me up at night was wondering about the people working there, the, the, the theft and the crime. And every time that I read about a holdup at one of our stores, my heart would sink, especially if there was an armed robbery. So those are the kind of issues. I feel for everyone working in our industry. And I just wish that the customers would have more respect for the people in the kitchen and working in the dining room.
So as customers, what can we do? I, I, I know give a decent tip when the service is good, but
Ed Sherwin (22:08):
Yeah. I mean, look, I'm a big tipper. but if, if, if the bill is a hundred dollars, I'll leave them instead of leaving 20% or 18%, I'll leave 25% or 30%, especially if the service is, if the service is good, I'll leave 50% because this is their income. But, what can we do as customers? Number one is be considerate. Don't make demands upon your servers that are difficult to keep, people sending back food. Oh, I, I ordered, I ordered the steak medium. Well, and it came out medium take aback. Well, sure. They'll take a it back and don't, don't worry. They're not gonna, I promise you, they're not gonna spit in your food. That's we hear about that? Don't send any food back to the kitchen. They're gonna spit in your food. No, but the one thing I will tell you, that's an inside secret is everybody has French fries on the side. And when you don't have time to take a break, believe me, the servers are nibbling on your French fries on their way out to the table. No, but be cons. All I ask is to be patient, be considerate.
Ed, this has been great and more than informative. Thank you so much for coming on. If you enjoy this podcast, please write, recommend us to your friends, click on the, follow a subscribe button on the podcast page. And we'll let you know when there's a new podcast until next time. I'm Larry Barsh. And you've been listening to specifically for seniors.
Ed Sherwin has been recognized as one of the country's top food safety trainers. He was president and founder of Sherwin Food Safety, which provided consulting and training to food service and lodging companies throughout the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean.
The business was sold in 2016, and Sherwin retired to Boynton Beach, Florida with his wife Debra, CPA, MBA, Professor Emeritus and former chair of the Management and Economics Department at Goucher College. Sherwin was Chair and Professor of Hospitality Management at Essex Community College from 1976-1994.
He holds numerous awards for teaching excellence, including the 1987 Maryland Teacher of the Year, and the 1989 National Teaching Excellence Award. Sherwin served as President and Chairman of the Board of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Education (ICHRIE) from 1991-1993, the leading professional organization for hospitality educators world-wide. Ed Sherwin was raised in the food service industry.
His family owned and operated the Sherwin Baking Company and Sherwin's Party Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He moved to Baltimore, Maryland in 1974, where he was Senior Vice President of Martin's Caterers, the largest social catering company in the country. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Kent State University in Ohio, a Master of Science degree from The Johns Hopkins University, an honorary Doctorate of Food Service from the National Association of Food Equipment Manufacturers, and post-graduate studies at University of Maryland, Cornell University, and Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.
"Ed is not only a great person, but has a great understanding of what it takes to run a food-safe restaurant. Ed is one of the most sought after consultants in this field and one of the most respected individuals in this profession." CM, Nashville TN.