The French culinary phrase ‘everything in its place’ is the motto of every proper kitchen. If you want your cooking to be on par with top-notch restaurants, you need to emulate their gastronomic philosophy. So, what makes a good kitchen run smoothly?
Freeze Before Slicing
Many despise grating or slicing slippery and soft items as it can be quite frustrating. But, it doesn’t have to be so difficult.
Before you start slicing them, pop them in the freezer. Ten minutes is all you need – don’t wait until your cheese or raw bacon freeze solid. Chilling raw meat makes dicing it much easier.
Replace Sheet Pans with Sizzle Platters
A line cook’s best friend — sizzle platters. Almost every commercial kitchen uses these tiny, oval-shaped metal pans. You can use them to broil steaks, melt cheese on burgers, and quickly toast nuts.
Sizzle platters are light and stackable, so you can fit plenty of them in your pantry or cooking station. Thanks to their small size, cleanup is a breeze and cooking single portions is easy. Each sizzle platter has a raised lip. You don’t have to worry about sauces and juices running off.
Minimise Gadgets, Focus on Efficiency
A bunch of state-of-the-art tools won’t make you a good chef. Nor will they make you an efficient one. Some tools are there just to spark joy and nothing else. If there’s some dust on them, it’s time to move them to the garage.
In restaurant kitchens, there’s enough clutter as it is. When a new chef comes on board, they get rid of everything they don’t need. Instead of wasting money on shiny gadgets, it’s better to use it to improve the essential equipment you already have.
Do what the pros do and invest in making your kitchen safer and more efficient. For instance, if your kitchen has ancient ductwork, it may be contributing to allergens, pollen, dust, and mould distribution.
The buildup in the vents can even pose a fire hazard. You can make your kitchen more energy efficient by properly configuring the ductwork and replacing your old appliances with Energy Star certified products.
Having properly configured ductwork will turn your kitchen into a safer and healthier environment for cooking. Throw in a couple of Energy Star rated appliances as well, and you’ll be able to save a lot of money on energy bills in the long run. The average family spends a lot of their time in the kitchen. Inefficient kitchens are notorious for wasting energy.
There’s no need for avocado slicers, garlic presses, or cherry pitters, and most other single-utility items of the sort. Instead, learn how to wield a knife like a pro and work with what you’ve got.
Keep Your Tools Close
Think of counter space as precious real estate. You can’t afford to flood it with clutter. Only the essentials get to stay there. For instance, you can keep a can with a spatula, tongs, and wooden spoons next to the stove, as well as a tray with oil, salt, pepper, and butter.
Another pro tip: butter is better outside the fridge. You can place your cutting board next to your kitchen island. That way, it’s always ready to go. As for your shopping bags, always keep them in the trunk of your car. When you go grocery shopping, you can rest assured that you won’t forget to bring them.
Make Everything Visible
That way, you’ll make sure it’s easily accessible. Pulling knives out of the block is often a frustrating guessing game. If you’re having trouble telling which knife is which, it may be better to mount a magnetic strip to the wall and keep them there. If that’s too much work, a drawer will do just fine.
Use glass or plastic containers to store dry goods. Restaurants do that to make doing inventory simple. Otherwise, it’d be difficult for them to tell how much dry goods they have left. So, when you’re cinnamon sticks are below halfway point, you know it’s time to order some more.
Also, separate items into different baskets and trays. For example, you can store utensils in open boxes in drawers and keep all of your medicine and vitamin bottles in one tray in the refrigerator.
Date and Label
Once you have your transparent containers, you can label them. Since most containers look identical, you’d want to know what is inside them and when you bought it.
Do it like the pros – forget about label makers. In commercial kitchens, they use painter’s tape to label everything. However, a chalkboard pen paired with a bit chalkboard paint makes things read easy, and it looks quite nice. As for bagged items that don’t sit well on shelves, keep them in a hamper in the pantry.
Cooking like a pro means so much more than adhering to their recipes. It requires a certain mindset. By employing these tips, you’ll be able to move around your kitchen much more efficiently and dedicate yourself completely to making flavoursome, restaurant-grade dishes.
About the author: Kevin Jefferson is a thirty-something single dad in the middle of renovating his home. Having decided to finally tackle the project of a lifetime last year, he’s had all manner of adventures around the place and finally decided to start writing on his blog Plain Help to share his adventures in tinkering around the house with the world.