Commercial kitchens are extremely busy places and as a commercial cook you are often required to complete several tasks at once. This can be very confusing at first but the trick is to be well organised.
Planning is an important part of working in a kitchen. Some tasks, for example, are urgent and need to be done immediately, while others can wait; preparing soup to meet a lunchtime deadline would be an urgent task, preparing potatoes for a buffet tomorrow is not.
Organising your workstation so that you have all the tools, equipment and commodities you need will enable you to work quickly and efficiently.
In the kitchen this is known as mise-en-place. “Mise-en-place” is a French term, which literally means “put in place” and that means that everything has to be in place before service begins. This may include the assembly of a dish, preparation of ingredients used to cook specific dishes or ensuring garnishes are prepared and ready to use.
This all means that a range of equipment, too, must be clean and ready to use – and it is this aspect of hospitality that we will cover in this unit.
Select food preparation equipment
In the hospitality industry the presentation of the food you prepare is an important aspect of customer service; customers will expect their meal to be well presented and appetising.
This means that selecting the right equipment for food preparation is almost (if not just) as important as selecting the right ingredients; food that has not been prepared properly can look messy and unappetising.
In this section you will learn the skills and knowledge you need to:
Confirm food preparation requirements from recipes, lists and other workplace information.
Identify and select knives and other routine and specialised equipment suited to the food preparation task.
Confirm cleanliness of equipment before use
Confirm food preparation requirements
Food preparation procedures will depend, very much, on the type of restaurant or café you run and the style of menu offered. This might be a la carte; it could be a degustation menu; it might have ethnic flavours such as Italian, French, Lebanese, Asian or any number of other types of food.
The preparation that needs to be completed and the equipment needed to do this will, therefore, be influenced by all of these factors. For example; in an Italian restaurant you may need pasta machines and pizza ovens while in an Indian restaurant you might need a Tandoori oven – as well, of course, as all of the ingredients needed to make the particular type of food the restaurant is known for.
So you must have not only the right ingredients but the right equipment to complete the job. We will take a look at how commercial kitchen equipment is used a little later in this unit; for now, however, typical equipment that can be found in most commercial kitchens might include (but is not limited to):
knife sharpening equipment; sharpening steels and stones
peelers, corers or slicers
….. and you will need all of this equipment to prepare and work with each of the following food types:
fruit and vegetables
general food items such as; batters, coatings, oils, sauces and marinades, condiments and flavourings as well as garnishes