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How can I run an efficient kitchen?

An efficient kitchen keeps staff and customers happy, and cuts costs by letting you get things right first time as often as possible. But how do you ensure your kitchen runs smoothly? Here are our top tips:

Good planning

If you have a large amount of space in your kitchen then you can get a head start on the day by preparing as many ingredients as possible during the day (mise en place) and storing them until they are needed. If you don’t have the space to store them you will need to have staff preparing raw ingredients for cooking by the chef during the session.

Think about the layout of your kitchen. Make sure that raw ingredients are delivered as close to where they are stored as possible, and that they are put away as soon as possible. If you have space, have a separate preparation area for baked goods and pastry, including a separate oven.

Escoffier revolutionised kitchen operation with his Partie system; it works just as well today as it did then and is still used in many professional kitchens. By separating duties into distinct stations, Escoffier made his kitchen more efficient. To learn more about Escoffier, read this article from BBC Good Food.

Clean crockery can take up a lot of storage space in a kitchen. By using commercial warewashers such as this one you can keep dishes in the system, needing less storage space and fewer items of crockery.

Effective workflow

Make sure that equipment is all in working order and that knives are as sharp as possible.

Think about when you use equipment. If you are preparing small quantities of an ingredient then it’s probably not worth using a mechanical chopper which will take a long time to clean. Instead, do things the old-fashioned way for smaller amounts.

Make sure that tasks are carried out systematically, preparing ingredients before assembling the whole dish and storing ingredients as close to where they will be cooked as possible and getting as much mise en place in place as you can.

Ultimately, an effective kitchen needs a good leader. The head chef needs to be on the ball and proactive in dealing with issues that may come up. It is an involved subject but we hope these tips point you in the right direction.