With the season of hectic winter feasting behind us, now is the ideal time to get your kitchen re-organised and ready for the new year.
How do you begin? Start with the basics.
Rid your hard-to-reach corners of any grime which may have gone unnoticed over the last few weeks. Do your dishwashing, and wipe down those work-tops. De-clutter and make your kitchen sparkle.
While you scrub away at your surfaces and pack away those pans, get thinking about how you could make your kitchen work better for you and your staff. Then, when your elbow grease is expended,
Get Organised: make sure everything has its place
Find a home for those new salad tongs which have been floating around, between your counter tops and the sink for the past fortnight. Return the knives to their rack. Put your pots back on their hooks.
Get all of your stray pieces of equipment stored away as close as possible to the places where they’re usually used.
Maximise the storage space you already have.
Move onto your Stock
Now that 2020 is finally here, it’s time to rotate your stock to suit the new year – and the new raft of use-by dates which suddenly feel so much closer.
Making sure that you are using up your ingredients in the right order – soonest use-by date first – is crucial to cutting out food wastage and it could save you thousands of pounds in the long run.
- Set up a system which ensures that you and your staff keep your stock organised throughout the year: have your oldest items easily accessible at the front of your shelves with the newest at the back.
- As your new re-stocking orders come in, return to your stock room to check the system is holding up.
- If you notice your order becomes disorder too fast for you to handle, you may want to help your system along by adding labels and, perhaps, a colour code: red labels on those foods which need to be used up most urgently, for instance.
Top Tips for Store Room Etiquette
While you’re in the storeroom, make sure that it’s still safe: dry foods can seem so durable, that it’s often easy to let standards slip. So:
- Take the temperature and check the humidity of the room. 10 - 21°C with a humidity of 15% or less is ideal for dry foods – if the room is too hot or too cold, or too damp, adjust the thermostat, or extract that moisture, and check your food is still good to go.
- Ensure that no items are in direct sunlight, too, as sunlight can degrade the nutritional value and quality of many foods. If sunlight is streaming in, get those windows covered up pronto.
- Then, make sure that your shelves are a good 15cm off of the ground and about 50cm away from the walls – to prevent condensation, and make it easier to keep the room clean and clear of pests.
Mop the floor and be sure to check for any signs of rodents before you turn the lights off.
Once you’re back in the kitchen, spare some time to think about what this new year really means. A new year can be a time to look back on how time has flown. It may be that it doesn’t yet feel like 2010 was 10 years ago – or that it has been a decade since those countertops were installed - and half a decade since you promised your staff those new shelves. Maybe it’s time to…
Invest in the Right Equipment
If you want to keep your kitchen feeling uncluttered and calm, space is essential. If you want to reduce the amount of chaos in your kitchen in the long term, invest in making some room.
If you’re looking to make a lot of it, looking for some new, versatile prep-counters may be worth your while – particularly those which combine refrigerated storage spaces with cupboard shelving and top quality worktops. These may just allow your staff to double what they can do in a single space. For these, and for durability, be sure to stick to easy to clean and difficult to damage stainless steel.
If you’re looking to make a little less than all that, you may wish to simply invest in some versatile appliances: get rid of machines which can only do one thing and replace them with others which can do a whole lot more - whether that’s getting a combination oven that can cook all sorts or a bread mixer which can also beat eggs and other batters. Paring back your armoury of appliances can be a sure way to soothe a troubled kitchen.
If you simply want to bulk up on storage space, checking out some new shelving units may be the way to go. Utilise unused vertical space and replace old cupboards with unusable arrangements by investing in some quality commercial kitchen shelving and racking. Reducing overcrowding of your plates, glasses, pots and pans along with your dry food ingredients can go a long way towards ensuring that your kitchen carries on running smoothly once you leave your staff to it.
But, whatever you choose to do, make sure that you start the new year off right: with a calm kitchen clear of chaos.