We love our business but there are times at work when we walk into a tiny kitchen and think “how on earth can we produce this menu from here?!” We spoke to our chef Henry Maasdorp and asked him how he makes the magic happen in a tiny kitchen…
With food there is a constant expectation to be progressive and evolve. As a chef our responsibility is to strive and push the limits and boundaries of what we can achieve to deliver our best service. This can be tricky if the kitchen space is limited but you would be amazed what we have and can do!
Working as a chef in a small kitchen, or even front of house with a huge to-do list can be a real challenge, so preparation is everything. Limited storage, refrigeration and freezer space makes it really important to be ultra-organised and this starts with having daily plans in place with timelines noted and ensuring set up of the kitchen is flowing with equipment in easy reach. Making sure that deliveries are prepared and organised with fridges stored and organised as you would require. It’s always worth labelling containers and facing the labels forward to save time.
A big point is cleanliness or clean as you go. The more mess, the more distraction, meaning losing focus of your plan.
Plan menus in advance and ensure what you want to achieve is deliverable based on time, equipment and capability. Don’t take on doing too much as this will leave you focusing on the time constraint rather than the actual job at hand — producing great food.
Mise en place — sometimes we think it is possible to prepare, cook and deliver in one go, and I know as I am guilty of this at times — however, when working in a tight space, a key winning tip is always prepare!
You’ll need a team to help with this preparation but if you have not got the people power within your unit, then outsourcing some of the work is an option. Some suppliers offer prepared fish, meat and veg but you need to ensure this does not compromise quality. It’s also possible to fall into a trap and be reliant on this so I suggest only using this as an added tool and to continue developing your technique.
The points above are easy to implement and will ultimately allow you that little extra time to analyse your business, self-reflect, plan further and develop your team’s knowledge and practical ability.
What makes food great is its simplicity. Quality, fresh ingredients with good techniques used. Too many ingredients and add-ons end up complicating the meal and masking the flavours and natural beauty of the ingredients. Embrace the ingredients and the techniques and keep it simple!
Cook with love, passion, pride and integrity, have an inquisitiveness and the best results follow.