Whether your job is prepping, cooking or cleaning, nothing about working in a kitchen is easy. Rewarding yes, but easy, not so much. There are ways to make your work that little bit easier, cutting a few minutes off your prep time here, saving yourself some cleaning stress there, every little tweak to a process can help. Every kitchen professional, no matter their role develops a secret stash of go to tips and time saving tricks that they pick up throughout their career.
As an Agency Chef you have the unique advantage of not only developing your skills throughout your career but also experiencing many different kitchens and working alongside many different kitchen teams.
No doubt by now, you have found quicker and easier ways to complete most of your time consuming kitchen tasks, but no matter how streamlined your work has become there is always more to learn.
Through many conversations with our Head Chefs, Relief Chef’s, Kitchen Porters and everyone in between, we have collected together our top 10 commercial kitchen hacks, some of which you may already know, and others might make you might wonder how you didn’t think of it before.
Top 10 commercial kitchen hacks
1. Clingfilm your work surfaces and cover the hob with tinfoil for a super-fast easy clean down
2. Put a damp tea towel under your chopping board to help keep it in place. This is also super helpful for when you are rolling out dough and you don’t want to chase it around the counter.
3. Help out non Chef staff by keeping simple signage visible. A great example is your food safety fridge layout. As a Chef you know to store raw food at the bottom and fresh at the top, but does your new helpful Kitchen Porter? Be sure that no one is going to accidentally put your food hygiene at risk by keeping helpful signage visible.
4. Always have a spare Chefs jacket to hand. Sometimes you will be required to leave the kitchen and venture towards the front of house. Consider how it looks to have a Chef in food covered whites strolling through the restaurant. Keep one jacket for cooking and one for walking and you can’t go wrong.
5. Prep, prep, prep. No matter how small the task, prep it well ahead of time. For the items you use every day, prep more than you need, you will no doubt use it up tomorrow.
6. Visualise the process. Kitchens can be hectic and in our haste we make mistakes, we are only human after all. Minimise the risk of costly mistakes by taking a moment to stop and think about what you need to do before you get started. Run the process through in your mind and you will soon notice if you have forgotten something.
7. Read ahead on your ticket line. Working one ticket at a time is a recipe for slow service, mismatched cooking times and food wastage. You can make everyone’s life that much easier by working at least 6 tickets at a time. Read along the tickets and count up how many of each dish you have to create. 6 fish portions ordered across 6 tickets? Get 6 fish portions going. 2 steaks and 4 chicken? Get them all on the go too and have the rest of your team work on cooking up the sides for all the dishes and bam, 6 tickets processed and lots of food out to hungry customers in one proactive swoop.
8. Hard butter is difficult to work with and waiting for it to soften can take ages. That is unless you grate the hard butter with a cheese grater of course. With this handy hack your grated butter will soften in half the time of that on the block.
9. To stop your knife from slipping in your hand, simple elastic bands wrapped around the handle will help you to get a grip.
10. Do you have a regular dish on the menu? Save time by freezing the right herbs and a little olive oil together in ice cube trays. Next time you are cooking just drop them in.
For more kitchen advice, tips and tricks check out some of our other posts;