Are things getting a bit too hot in the kitchen? As a professional chef, you can never afford to be overwhelmed by your work, as the quality of your product – and indeed the success of your restaurant – depends on you keeping your cool.
Running a commercial kitchen is arguably one of the toughest, most demanding jobs out there – with busy shifts being almost unrelenting in their nature. Achieving a successful kitchen shift day in, day out requires preparation, determination and constant commitment to the cause, but what four tips are most useful when it comes to making the most of your daily operation off of the restaurant floor?
Keep your work clean
Neatness and efficiency are two absolutely critical concepts to a successful kitchen, but qualities that can get left behind in typically intense culinary environments. A successful kitchen is effectively a well-oiled machine – an assembly line which can be derailed if there’s just one chink the armour. If one or more of your working stations is hampered by clutter or mess (of which there can be plenty if left to pile up), kitchen shifts can quickly go awry.
So, work clean, work tidy and don’t discount these ideas in busy times. For most chefs, working clean is working organised, and you have to be organised to get the desired result when cooking for tens or hundreds of people at once.
Never stop learning
Like many industries, the culinary world is constantly moving forward, with new processes and trends redefining what it is to be successful in the restaurant business. As a general rule of thumb, regardless of your industry, the desire to constantly learn, adjust and advance your skills is a necessity to stay relevant.
In a fiercely competitive, always changing and highly critiqued arena like professional restaurateuring, make sure you’re always cognisant of new developments in your sector that could help you to stay ahead of the game.
Use the right tools
It’s tough to find a chef who doesn’t take pride in their tools. A chef’s set of knives, for example, is often their absolute pride and joy, as are the pots and pans that they use every day, but kitchen tools extend well beyond the direct cooking and preparation utensils used, too.
Don’t expect to be able to produce quality work without quality tools. With culinary equipment, there is often a sense of “you get what you pay for” with your key gear, so solid investment in this area is a must. From a premium knife set and consistent, precision ovens through to anti-fatigue mats and effective cleaning products, make sure every bit of your kitchen boasts the equipment it deserves.
Hold yourself to your highest standards
Cheffing is a passion project for many, but a job for less. If you do find yourself in the position where you’re both talented and lucky enough to have people paying for food you’ve created, make sure you hold yourself to your absolute highest standards at all times. If you’re not producing your best work consistently, then you’re not doing your talents, your product or your personal brand justice.
The recipe for success in a professional kitchen? Always going the extra mile, offering no excuses and having a passion for your product. Put all that together and your patrons are sure to see the benefits in your cooking.
Not everyone is cut out to be a restauranteur or chef, and even for those who are, there’s no easy route to building a great kitchen. With the tips above that focus on preparation, versatility, investment and passion, you’ll be making the road to success as short as it can be, while putting out some pretty good food in the process.