When you start working in a professional restaurant kitchen, it can be uncomfortable and scary at first. Each restaurant kitchen incorporates its own unique style and methodology for getting things done.
If you happen to make a mistake and end up doing something in a manner that is not expected, you could be slightly embarrassed or worse, injure yourself.
Therefore, it is important to be prepared both mentally and physically when starting work in a professional kitchen environment. Below are 5 tips for working in a professional restaurant kitchen.
1. Get clarification
If you have not entirely understood your assigned tasks, ask or inquire again. It may make some of your co-workers mad if you do it too often as it shows your un-attentiveness.
However, it’s better than being unsure and end up doing your job wrong. The kitchen environment is all about consistency and you are less likely to annoy people when inquiring clarification than messing up the food.
2. Remain calm
Professional kitchen environments tend to have extremely high stress. It often requires discipline and nerves of steel not to lose control. When you are visibly nervous it makes others nervous as well and can even make the chef nervous.
Your colleagues will more than often notice your fear. Even when you are nervous inside, you need to do your best show that you are calm on the outside. This will show your workmates that you are confident in your abilities and will inspire confidence in them as well.
3. Have full awareness
A restaurant kitchen can be a very crowded and hectic place. Make sure that you let your workmates be aware of your location at all times. If you happen to walk around a corner, say “corner”, if you happen to walk behind someone, say “behind you”.
If you happen to walk near someone while holding a sharp object, say “sharp” and when walking around with a hot pan, say “hot”.
Not following these rules or any similar rules is considered to be very rude and dangerous. Additionally, it also shows that you have not yet spent enough time in a professional restaurant kitchen.
These call-outs are second nature for experienced kitchen workers.
4. Move deliberately and efficiently
In a professional restaurant kitchen, movement efficiency is very important. If you run around the kitchen with no clear purpose, your colleagues will perceive you as incompetent.
Take a moment to think about what you want to do, collect your product for preparation, and remove any unnecessary movements around the kitchen. Divide your process into small steps so as to minimize unnecessary movements and maximize efficiency and speed in the kitchen.
5. Maintain good organization and cleanliness
Always ensure that your station stays organized and clean and also make sure that everything remains in its place. Keep all your products and work materials appropriately organized on your workstation and also make sure that your apron and jacket stay as clean as possible.
Here are a few additional tips for working with cooks and chefs.