Having worked in kitchens for almost 15 years I feel that I have learnt a lot of tips on how to keep
myself efficient in the professional kitchen, but have also managed to adapt some of the tips
to cooking at home.
Tips on being efficient that I have carried through with me over the years include:
Mise en Place is key, writing a list at the end of service for the following day
will not only mean that you already know what you need to crack on with the next day it will
also take out any room for error– you will be able to quickly see if any ingredients need to be
re-ordered and in the off chance that you couldn’t attend your shift the following day it will
mean whoever takes over your section will be able to crack on as soon as they get in.
2. Clean As You Go-
No-one likes a messy Chef! When you are busy multi-tasking it is vital to
keep your section clean and tidy, a simple bowl on your station to gather any peelings or
rubbish that you have not only keeps your section looking tidy but will also mean less
frequent trips to the bin (which in lots of places I have worked is placed at the bottom of the
kitchen or wash-up area).
3. Fridge Trips-
Let’s be honest how many times have you gone to the fridge and suddenly
thought – What did I want from here again? Try and keep fridge trips to a minimum- take a
list of what you require to avoid unnecessary back and forth trips.
4. Stock Storage-
Keeping fridges, dry stores and under counter fridges well organised is a
must, you should be able to pop to all storage areas during a busy service and know exactly
where everything is. If deliveries to the dry store are always put on the same shelf every time
it avoids lengthy searching trips.
5. Organised Section-
An organised station will ensure an easier service. Stick to a routine,
figure out what best works for you then organise it the same way every day- this will mean
you will become accustomed to where all your utensils are, and you will be able to find them without
6. Tea Towels-
Be honest how many kitchens have you worked in that tea towels seem to be
the hardest item to find. Try not to use 10 different cloths for 1 service- this will only result in
all the tea towels being used before the next clean lot comes to the kitchen. In the past I
would hide a few in a drawer to ensure that I had enough to cover my weekly shifts. Always
having your towel attached to your apron means less likely to lose it (you can now purchase
aprons that specifically have a loop for tea towels).
7. Spare Jacket-
It’s inevitable that you will destroy your Chefs whites during prep always
make sure you have a spare Chef jacket with you for service especially if you work in a
customer facing kitchen.
Written by Orla Murphy,
Chef Consultant at Back-2-Front Chef Recruitment Agency.