Work Clean, Work Small

My wife will most likely feel like killing me for writing this post, but seeing how I am forever desperate for material I am going to have to take that chance. When we entertain at the house, which is pretty often (somehow with me working nights), we tend to be a pretty good team.

Like most good teams we are able to crank stuff out, in a very efficient way, without even needing to communicate verbally. HOWEVER. I am afraid that I take the whole ‘work clean, work small’ thing to a level that she cannot fully appreciate.

Let’s face it, I’m a freak, but I do kind of know what I am doing, and it can be frustrating when every time I turn around something has been put down in my work space. Now, kitchens have limited work spaces. Anyone who has ever worked in a professional kitchen, or has entertained at home, knows this.

Keep it small

In professional kitchens, there are others who need to work, too, so it is imperative that cooks don’t take over the place with their stuff. In most places you are lucky if you have a 3′ x 3′ area to work in, so cooks must learn to rein it in.

Keep it clean

I find when I am working at home in my own kitchen that every time I finish a project, it is important to completely clean the area before starting another project. No matter how small the project is. This is necessary for both the ability to get work done efficiently, but also for cross-contamination reasons.

Safety first

If I completely clean the area before starting on something else, I pretty much assure myself that I am not getting that raw chicken juice on the salad greens that I am prepping next. Also, It is so much easier to produce food in a kitchen from a brand new starting point. This can only be accomplished by cleaning in-between tasks.

So, Mr. Chef

Teach those line cooks of yours the ways around that kitchen. Sure, you hopefully will be hiring seasoned cooks, who already know their way around a kitchen, but we are all teachers, and we need to share our knowledge with others–especially to those who will be using your kitchen to produce your food.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. That's Right says:

    You now owe Josh royalties.

  2. Hi Tom, I’m Ella Shaw’s father. We met last Thursday at OCI. Ella directed me to your blog, knowing I’d appreciate it. I found this post especially useful, with applications outside of a food service setting. Regarding blogging, see mine at You’ll see posts about Ella and OCI if you look deep enough. So nice to meet you last week! –Andy

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