We’ve seen how messy things can get when you don’t respect the kitchen. We’ve seen how accidents can happen when you aren’t paying attention. These things can and will happen, but a seasoned chef will know just how to avoid some common missteps and mistakes on the job. A newbie, however, will need all the help they can get – which is why we’ve compiled a list of tips to surviving your first job in the kitchen.
Be aware of your environment – kitchens can be loud, hectic and dangerous. Always know who and what is around you – and let others know when you’re near them. Learn to use these terms, if you want to keep your job (and your health), and look like you know what you’re doing:
- Corner – coming around the corner
- Behind you – walking behind someone
- Sharp – walking with a sharp knife
- Hot – walking with a hot pot
Keep a clean work space – Keep your station neat, clean and organized. That not only includes keeping all food and tools in their proper places, but keeping your chef coat or apron stain free, as well. For tips on how to keep your coat as clean as possible, read our blog, Keeping Your Chef Coat Clean During the Holidays.
Move efficiently – Don’t just run around the kitchen aimlessly. Know what you need, where to find it, and minimize the amount of time you spend moving around the kitchen. This is not only for your safety, but for the safety of everyone else in that kitchen. Be considerate to those around you and don’t crowd their work space by being in an area you don’t need to be in.
Don’t act like a know-it-all – Stop trying to impress everyone and do what you are told. You are new to this, and your head chef knows that. Don’t pretend to know everything just to show off. If anything, he or she will be happier to see you learning and producing consistently well-prepared dishes than to see you try something you saw on TV once and fail miserably. Always under promise and over deliver. Listen to your head chef and do as he or she says.
Last but not least, Stay Calm! – A professional kitchen is a high-pressure environment. If you are nervous or unsure, you will make everyone around you nervous as well. You can freak out on the inside, but outside you need to be calm, cool and collected. Focus on the task in front of you. Take it one step at a time, and get it right the first time. Don’t start yelling at everyone, unless you’re the head chef – unless you want a one way ticket out of his kitchen.
Can you think of any other tips for new kitchen staff? Post it below!