We are two days from taking our Food Safety certification exam, the ServSafe test. Not only do chefs need to be talented cooks, but we need to know how to run clean, safe kitchens as well.
Today's tip doesn't have to do with cooking, but rather food safety. Because the average kitchen sponge is dirtier than your toilet, use a wire brush or a thin, green scrubber pad instead when washing dishes. The thick, foam structure of a sponge is to bacteria what Cancun is to drunken spring breakers: party time. No matter how often you run your sponge through hot water or where you store it, the sponge is just too dirty to be used for cleaning food items.
The wire brushes and thin, green scrubber pads will dry much faster and have less porous surface area, making them less hospitable environments for bacterial growth.
While I prefer to stay away from scare-tactic tips, I couldn't keep the "sponge-is-dirtier-than-your-toilet" image to myself. Don't let this stop you from cooking at home; just cook clean!