Saturday, November 6, 2010

Run your Kitchen like a pro. Top Ten things to Know.

(Prep area - White House Kitchen - Official White House Photo by Samantha Appleton)
When working in a commercial kitchen, one follows guidelines and traditions that can be as unique as the establishment. But a great kitchen follows at least 10 kitchen practices that can be applied to any home kitchen. Here are the ten best practices, in descending order, that can turn your kitchen from a nightmare into a dream.



10. Never run with knives!
Pretty self explanatory, but there are people that seem to not notice that they have a knife in their hand as they wave their hands around while talking, pointing or even going from station to station! Which can lead to the next item.

9. If you bleed, take heed!
If you get a cut or injury and the wound keeps bleeding for more than three minutes, then you need to be seen by a trained professional. Longer that 3 min can indicate that your injury is greater than your bodies ability to deal with. So get seen today, so you won't be DOA tomorrow!

8. Don't treat your body like a steak!
If you get a burn, don't, I repeat, don't put butter or any oil or salve on the burn. While a nice Rosemary infused butter may tingle the tongue on a steak, it does nothing for burns except to trap the heat and moisture. What you need first and foremost, is some way to bring down the heat level to the burn. And the best way is with cold water or even a cold steak! Keep the cold water running on the burn for at least 3 min. Enough time to help counter some of the burn effects. If you develop a charr or grill marks on the burn, seek a medical professional.

7. Never place knives or any sharp object in a sink filled with soapy water or other dishes.
Dirty knives or any sharp object should always be placed on the counter next to the sink and washed by hand. If you can't see the contents in the sink, then you really don't know what is in there, do you?

6. Everything in it's place and a place for everything.
If you keep a kitchen organized then finding what you need becomes easier when you need it. And the last thing you want to be hunting for are those pot holders, when you need to remove something hot from the oven or the stove in a hurry!

5. Keep your cutting and cooking area clean.
Nothing is more of a problem then clutter in the area that you are cooking or prepping in. With clutter can come mistakes and injury or in some cases death. The wrong product could get into the wrong dish or worse the cross-contamination of foods can spell disaster for you or your guests a few hrs later.

4. Empty the garbage BEFORE cooking.
The last thing you need is your hands full of things to put in the trash and find that the trash bin is already full.
Knowing that you trash bin is empty before you start to cook, makes the ability to keep your cook space and prep area clean even easier.

3. Always wash produce before you cut it up.
Washing produce of any kind is always the right way to go.But washing before you start cutting is the smarter way to go. Washing before you cut helps prevent outside contamination from going inside the produce. And safer produce equals safer food.

2. Know what to do in a kitchen emergency before it happens. 
Spend some time familiarizing yourself with things that could go wrong in the kitchen and then think about how you would react. Do you know where the fire extinguisher is? Do you know where the lids are in case you have a pot or pan on fire? Do you have a mop? In the chance you spill water, sauce, food or even milk on the floor? Spend some time before, so you don't get caught short later.

1. Always wash your hands.
Whether you cook for a living or cook as a hobby or just for yourself, washing your hands frequently and after prepping each product is the number one thing that can make the difference in your kitchen  from a danger to a delight. So wash your hands with soap and water often.

So there you have it. Ten things to do in the kitchen that will help turn your home kitchen into a more professional, productive and smoother running kitchen. Just like the big boys down the street!

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