Surviving a Professional Kitchen
Working in a new kitchen can be, let’s be honest, terrifying. Every kitchen has its own culture and ways of doing things. One misguided step and you’ve landed up in the ER or worse, embarrassed yourself! Here are a few tips to help new chefs survive in your kitchen:
- Stay Calm
A professional kitchen will often be high stress and will require nerves of steel to stay calm. When one person is nervous, the rest of the kitchen is going to feel it which is going to throw everything off. As long as you exude an aura of calmness, everything will be ok! It will also show you have confidence in yourself and your abilities.
- Move with Purpose
Running around the kitchen like a chicken with its head chopped off is not going to help you fit in with the rest of the team. Take a moment to collect your thoughts, gather your product for prep and then cut out any unnecessary movements. Breaking your production down into smaller steps will minimise movement and maximize speed and efficiency!
- Ask for Clarification
If you’re not sure, ASK! Yes, if you are constantly asking for clarification it is going to make you look incompetent and annoy the heck out of the chef. One of the worst things you could do is be unsure and then prepare the dish wrong. Great kitchen are about consistency, ask and listen to what you are told so you don’t need to ask again.
- Don’t Act
Pretending to know more or have more experience than you actually do is going to trip you up further down the line. Learn to walk-the-walk before you talk-the-talk. Don’t start throwing around terminology to impress the chef. He/She will be more than impressed if you can learn the food and produce a consistent product.
- Do Your Homework
Most restaurants have websites so take some time to get to know the restaurant and their menu. Read through the menu, familiarise yourself with their dishes and terms. If you’re unsure then do some online research. Walking into the kitchen and knowing absolutely nothing about the restaurant’s dishes is not going to be conducive to a future within the restaurant.
Of course, there are even more tips for any new chef heading into a professional kitchen but these should certainly help you on the road to success.