Helpful tips and tricks to sort your kitchen like a pro
Chefs don’t have the luxury of time. When the heat is (quite literally) on, every second is of the essence. Needless to say, chefs worth their salt view organisation in the kitchen crucial to any success – be it serving a 5-course meal, or cooking up chicken wings for ‘the boys’ on game day.
If storage space is at its limit and you spend valuable minutes searching for kitchen tools while cooking, you’ve stumbled upon the right article. Every kitchen can be made chef-worthy with a few simple tips and tricks. Make optimum use of space, get organised, and grab spatulas with your eyes closed by following the guide below.
Get organised with appropriate storage
To keep a kitchen fit for a cooking pro, you first need to keep your space clean and tidy. To do that, you’ll need a suitable storage system that has plenty of space. Cabinets with drawers, wall shelves, pharmacy cabinets and wall cabinets – these are all your friends. If used properly, it won’t take much to declutter your kitchen and start operating in a more streamlines space.
Start from ground zero. If you really want to reorganise your kitchen, dedicate a morning or even a whole day to the task. The first step is clean-up. Empty absolutely everything from your cabinets, closets, pantries, drawers and the like. Grab a few garbage bags to stash things that you want to sell or give away.
Begin the clean-up. To keep hygiene at a chef-approved level in the kitchen, you should clean regularly. Not only worktops and the hob, mind you, but your kitchen cabinets and drawers too. Once you have cleared everything out of the storage spaces, clean everything from top to bottom.
After cleaning, distribute all the items you took out into different categories. Decide what to throw away, sell, give away, or keep. Expired food and things you did not use in the last year, should be cleared out. Here are some expired food recipes to get you started.
When packing things back, make sure to use a good drawer organising system. Dividers and drawer inserts are inexpensive and do the job.
Tackle the pantry
When the clock is ticking, you don’t want to be fumbling around your pantry, looking for that one item you “swore was there a day ago”. It wasn’t. And there’s a way to avoid this common kitchen disaster.
Bin anything older than a year. Frozen items, canned food, boxed items – if you haven’t found a use for it in 365 days, chances are you never will. If you don’t use it, you certainly won’t miss it. Do this for your fridge and freezer too.
Display your spices by date. Spices can be expensive, and often you only use certain spices once or twice. Organise your spice drawer/rack, and make use of them before they expire.
Get rid of old plastic containers. No one in a restaurant environment has the time to find lids for odd tupperware containers and keep an overflowing cupboard at bay. Simplify your life by buying new containers – in maximum 3 sizes for better stack-ability. You’ll thank us later.
Organise your fridge
Think about cooking temperature. Naturally, chefs are constantly aware of food safety. It’s part of the job. But most household kitchens skim over some of the basics when it comes to cold food storage. Store items in your fridge according to its cooking temperature. That means keeping things like red meat, fish and vegetables apart. Doing this reduces the risk of cross-contamination. Google it, it’s a thing.
Opt for zip-close bags. Liquid items like soups and stocks are easily storable in sealed plastic bags. It saves space in your freezer and allows you get a clear overview of your available items when scanning.
Freeze everything. In a restaurant, wasting food is wasting money. So apply some tricks of the trade and start freezing items you know will perish sooner than later. Butter, ginger, oven rolls – everything can be frozen and saved for longer.
One final tip. If you want to get organised like true chef, you need to plan out your menu. Good planning will go a long way to feeling in control and managing your time. Happy cooking!