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There are many rules to follow when it comes to working in the kitchen and following some of them will certainly make the difference between a successful cooking career and one that flops pretty quickly.
The so called Laws of The Kitchen have been written and passed on in many forms but a recent post by chef Paul Sorgule who has produced a comprehensive list of how to behave in the kitchen. Sorgule has worked as a chef, restauranteur and culinary educator and has written a piece on the Culinary Cues blog that list 28 different laws of the kitchen.
We think he’s pretty much nailed what’s needed perfectly for a great start in any kitchen and the advice is all sound. Below you can see his list and there’s a lot more detail offered about each point on the Harvest America Ventures website.
1 - My KNIVES are my KNIVES – HANDS OFF!
If you are looking for a sure-fire way to bring a cook to insanity – try picking up his or her knives to use without asking.
2 -NEVER, EVER, PUT DIRTY KNIVES in the SINK and WALK AWAY.
3 - DON’T be LATE- On TIME is at LEAST 15 MINUTES EARLY.
4 - MAKE SURE that your MISE is ALWAYS TIGHT.
When mise en place starts to fall apart for one cook so goes the rest of the line.
5 - KEEP your HANDS off my MISE EN PLACE.
6 - I MAY YELL AT TIMES TO GET A POINT ACROSS – DON’T TAKE IT PERSONALLY.
Some may view this as the creation of a hostile work environment and it can certainly be seen as just that, but when used sparingly it can be effective.
7 - BEND your KNEES DAMMIT!
The majority of kitchen injuries happen because an employee lifted, reached, or turned incorrectly.
8 - WORK CLEAN – ALWAYS!
9 - KNOCK FIRST – WHEN LEAVING the WALK-IN and ALWAYS ASSUME that SOMEONE is on the OTHER SIDE.
10 - Say “BEHIND” WHEN you ARE.
When walking behind a person in the kitchen, coming up to a corner, or entering into a room or cooler – always announce your presence.
11 - SWEAT the DETAILS – It’s ALL in the DETAILS.
12 - NEVER SACRIFICE QUALITY for SPEED, NEVER SACRIFICE SPEED for QUALITY, be PREPARED for BOTH.
13 - HOT PANS and WET SIDE TOWELS DON’T MIX.
14 - ALWAYS TAKE CARE of the DISHWASHERS.
15 - KEEP VENDORS HONEST – CHECK PRODUCT when it ARRIVES.
16 - You START it – You OWN it.
Put a pan on the stove, turn on the flame, add a bit of oil, and walk away assuming that someone else will keep an eye on it for you? I think not.
17 - A HANGOVER is not an EXCUSE.
18 - No GLASS in the KITCHEN.
Glass and food do not mix. Use disposables or plastic for your water, if you see a cook using glass – address it immediately, and if anyone ever uses a glass to scoop ice out of the ice machine – show them the door. A broken glass in an ice machine is one of the restaurant’s worst nightmares (next to a fire, sewer problem, or fire suppression activation).
19 - ROTATE – LABEL and DATE – No EXCEPTIONS, No EXCUSES.
20 - DON’T ASK ME to TASTE if you HAVEN’T FIRST DONE so YOURSELF.
21 - Put EVERYTHING BACK WHERE it BELONGS.
22 - DON’T OPEN ANOTHER CONTAINER of SPICES BEFORE CHECKING for any OPEN ONES in USE.
23 - CLEAN UP YOUR OWN SPILLS – IMMEDIATELY.
24 - In THE HEAT of SERVICE- ALL for ONE and ONE for ALL.
25 - STAY HYDRATED.
26 - STAY PROFESSIONAL – DON’T be an ASS.
There is no room in a professional kitchen for renegades who think that all of this is a joke. This is serious business and your cooperation is essential. If you want to be a rebel and come across as an ass then I would encourage you to look for work elsewhere before the crew decides to straighten you out.