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Pro chefs, how do you organize your kitchens/make life easier?

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Hey guys, I'm hoping this topic can be the start of a really useful discussion amongst pro chef's about many different ways to make life easier in the kitchen. I find it amazing that as much as I've looked on this forum there are relatively few discussions about ways to get more organized in the kitchen. That includes many things like prep lists, order guides, inventory mgmt, recipe templates, check lists, and especially expediting during service.

Lets get some ideas flowing I think it would be great if we put some heads together and shared some great tips and tricks to help each other. Together we can incubate some really cool ideas. Please share anything, apps, high or low tech, whatever works for you.
Edited by EthanU (log)
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  • 3 weeks later...

Prior preparation prevents piss poor performance.  I don't know what to say... Kitchens have to be organized if they want to preform with militant precision day in and day out.  I don't know how much I actually want to talk about organizing a kitchen.  It's like talking about keeping your house clean.  You're expected to do so from day one so it's kind of instilled in you to work clean and stay clean.  All the things you have listed are must have in kitchens, I wouldn't say they make kitchens more organized because there aren't kitchens that run properly without those things.  Those are the tools in the kitchen needed to make it run.    

Edited by Zach Rawlinson (log)
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You would be suprised at the number of chef who don't use prep list, order list etc.

I have just finished an 11 month stint in Aged Care (which is worthy of discussion another time), and most of the chefs I encountered didn't have have any lists at all. The guy I took over from would walk into the dry store with a blank piece of paper right down his order then the next day he would place another order to get all the things he missed the first time round.

As for prep lists or any form of forward planning, just forget about it. 

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  • 1 month later...

Proper Planning Prevents Stress


at the very least, you need the following at your disposal:


- master item list of what is in season at any given time

- master recipe books with any preparation and portioning guidelines

- prep list with par amounts

- if you don't have a pre-written prep list, your chef can use the master item list as a guide to make the daily prep list

- the prep list for the following day should be written and/or ready to go half way through the PRIOR day. this is critical for us so we can look at the following day and say "well, there's too much on the list". there should be a buffer on that list, and perhaps 1 or 2 things could be "optional" so if things go smoothly, they can be done, if there's some disasters, the optional things can be moved. for my bakery, the buffer is key...it means we're actually always a day ahead of schedule.

- shopping list with par amounts for each vendor. I try to order certain things from certain vendors, and then put a little note for certain products that can be ordered from different vendors. (say you run out of tp and you aren't doing your paper order until next week, perhaps your dry goods supplier might be able to hook you up)

- waste log (depending on the business, this should be tied into the prep list. Say you always toss 5lbs of chopped onions. you need to know about that so you can adjust your par. 

- chore list. we have certain chores due each day. we also have monthly things like clean the fridge that we put on the calendar.

- maintenance schedule. This is something I dream about, but have yet to implement. i think it's extremely important to know when equipment is purchased and when it needs repair.


Right now, i have a lot of these in just printouts; however, I would love to move this into a database (especially shopping) so I could run reports to see how much we're purchasing and perhaps work budgeting into my weekly shopping.


Start there. the above are great tools to track the progress of your staff. Revisit your tools at least every month to start and then every quarter after things are rolling. And most importantly, make sure your staff understands the importance of filling out paperwork.

  • Like 1

Stephanie Crocker

Sugar Bakery + Cafe

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