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Chef's What Does It Mean To You To Work in a clean kitchen

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 

Hello Everyone,


I am looking into some research on two specific areas and would love the communities feedback. The more detailed the better 


1) What does it mean as a chef to cook in a pristine working environment. Imagine you just got an entire new line of equipment. Day after day that new line equipment looked and performed just as well as the first day it was installed? What does this feel like as a Chef?



2) What would it mean if you could be provided with an immaculately cleaned kitchen and didn't have to rely on your closing team to perform these duties. They would be out of the kitchen earlier, home to there families earlier, and they would gain more rest to be back to produce better results the next night of service.


Would you be excited about this kind of option in your restaurant?

post #2 of 13

no i think the process of cleaning the environment you work in as a Chef gives you the respect needed for the Equipment.   i have seen this in a large scale kitchen where a Crew came in and cleaned everything after we were done.  too many Cooks left the place looking like sht.  "come on man wipe that up before you leave".  " why the cleaning Crew will be here  in half a hour."  i am not a lazy Person and as the kitchen Chef i still clean and do the dishes,  but after working a season there  i got a bit lazy and it was a shock to move onto my next Job where all this was done by the Cooks.  also i went back to this place 2 years later and the kitchen looked destroyed.  not from the lack of cleaning,  the place was clean but the Equipment was abused. 

post #3 of 13

One of the most important observations I've made about life in general is this:


Whatever that is free, undervalued/underpriced, or available in unlimited quantities, will be abused and treated with contempt.


If cooks don't clean the equipment, if Chef's don't ensure that equipment is operating properly, it will get abused.  Deepfry raw fish?  Why not? I'm not straining the oil.... |That kind of mentality.....


To illustrate this example, look at rental dishwashers.  They get beaten up worse then a rented mule, and what's even worse than that, is that the Chef can't/won't train any staff how to operate the d/washer; incapable of removing a baby clam from a spray arm, incapable of training staff to remove grease and food before putting into the racks, and the rental company goes hog-wild selling them more soap, training time, and extras then can be imagined. 

...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #4 of 13

From my perspective, having a cleaning crew would be like a dream.


I have a full understanding of what the above chefs mentioned, that there will be no respect for the equipment not maintained by the cooks themselves, but, BUT...


In my kitchen open, prep, cook, clean through the day (equipment, prep surfaces, floors, dishes), and close. Closing is a thorough cleaning of everything, of course.  Having someone come in to do ANY cleaning would be greatly appreciated.


Not all cooks are built with a great work ethic, so, yes, some of your more lowdown cooks could develop a greater disregard for that which they dislike already.


Perhaps using a cleaning service could be used as an incentive? Get better closings, maybe?

post #5 of 13
We have a cleaning crew at my place, they do all of the heavy appliances, floors and hoods and it's AWESOME!!!! We still scrub the lowboys and under the heat lamps, drop fryers and clean the walkin and are lucky if we're out by midnight so not cleaning those appliances is the best help ever. I'm not sure if I use any less finesse with the equipment because of this. I still clean my stoves during service and I'd like to think I'm just as good but who's to say.
post #6 of 13

At my old restaurant the dish washers would do the majority of the cleaning, we were only responsible for cleaning out stainless surfaces.  It definitely becomes easy to get lazy.


At the new place we clean all the equipment on our line.  It`s not so bad, especially if you keep it clean throughout the night.  I make the morning/lunch crew do a proper clean now before dinner service starts, so we usually can wrap things up pretty fast.

post #7 of 13

nah, chefs clean our own section, surfaces etc and porters do the floors an @#%&

post #8 of 13

Everyone needs to learn how to clean


Agree with above said - as soon as this is not expected anymore and not a duty that has to be performed people tend to get lazy, careless and this will translate to other areas of their work.


One of the fundamentals of being a great Chef is, that you know how to clean a kitchen. One of my early mentors used to drill that into us - but he had a good point.

Only if you have done the work yourself do you appreciate it...

post #9 of 13

Cleanliness is not next to godliness. Cleanliness means a happy Chef..... you do not want an unhappy Chef. (me)


Do not just clean your station.... scrub your station. Clean and dry it when you come in and clean and dry it when your shift is done. No one gets to leave their mess for someone else to clean up after them.


If you use it.... clean it. Do not clean it to your standards..... clean it to mine or i will ask you to clean it again. I do not consider a quick swipe with a towel clean.


As staff is hired how well they clean is also part of the audition...and they are told this up front.

post #10 of 13

Why we are on the subject of cleaning I just want to ask the head chefs on here if they clean their own section down at the end of the shift? I have seen some head chefs make the commis(line cook in America) do it.  Seems a bit unprofessional to me.

post #11 of 13

I clean my section down at the end of the night. When I was up and coming I worked with lots of chefs who just walked off at the end of the night. I knew that they had come into work many hours before I showed up for shift and that they still had orders and paperwork to do before their night was over; but part of me still said "damn not again". So I determined that I would never do that once I became chef and I have kept my promise to myself. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
post #12 of 13
Awesome cheflayne, kudos to you sir! I still have not worked with a chef who fully wipes down his/hers section. that being said most are professional to the degree that as we clean as we go, there never really becomes a big mess to clean up. It's usually just a cutting board and some mis en place to put away.
post #13 of 13

Hello every one,


In my chefs life, a clean kitchen is the utmost important factor running a kitchen. No matter if it is at work or at home. Every job I had as a chef in Switzerland and here in Australia, the chefs clean the kitchen. That includes, all equipment, benches, and all other working areas, the fridges, the dry store area and sometimes even cleaning the floors. You don't want a customer of yours ending up with food poisoning. Working in commercial kitchens, were foods of all sorts are cooked and prepared, a strict regime of food health and safety play a big role. We need to use specified cleaning products and sanitizers to keep the kitchen clean and free of bacteria like salmonella. 


Chopping boards are one of the more dangerous equipment when it comes to cross contamination. We have color coded chopping boards for different foods. For example: Green is for vegetables and fruits, blue for fish and seafood, red for meats like lamb, beef, pork etc., yellow for poultry, brown for bread and bakery. After each use the chopping boards need to cleaned and sanitized.

Here in Australia, a Head Chef and Sous Chef and Chef de Parties need to go to a full day course with certificate finish for food and safety. Without that certificate you are most likely not going to be employed or given the responsibility to run a kitchen.


Keeping your kitchen clean must be your number one priority! After each Service, a full clean down and sweeping the floors, change rubbish bins is a must. After your preparation jobs are done, clean your benches, chopping boards, your knifes and equipment used. 

Also a important factor of the kitchen cleanliness is your personal hygiene, like clean chefs uniform, clean apron before every shift. Hands washed and sanitized, clean fingernails, no jewelry like rings and  if you have long hair, wear a hairnet. 


Lets not forget your fridges, freezer and dry goods areas. Walk in fridges should be fully cleaned out at least once a week. That includes, shelving, walls and floors. While you doing the clean up of the fridges, check all produce for dates, spoilage, have all containers covered with a lid or cling wrap and check the temperatures once or twice a day. A good way to do your temperature check is to put a small container of water in your fridge with a probe thermometer. This temperature reading will give you the core temperature of your produce. 


In your dry store, all cans delivered in cardboard boxes should be unpacked and rotated, earlier expiring use by dates in the front and the later dates in the back. This gives you control of your dry goods. The same applies to your rice, flour and other dry goods like nuts and seasoning.


Your freezer should be at least minus 18 degrees Celsius, again keep a watchful eye on the dates of your frozen products. Make sure all your frozen products are well packed to prevent freezer burn. Your freezer needs to be also very clean including sweeping the floors. In our low season or every 4 to 6 months, when we have not much in the freezer, we fully defrost the freezer and give the walls and floors a proper clean over. All your frozen products, keep them in your fridge. The whole process should not take more than 1 hour to do. You don't want your frozen goods to defrost and then back in the freezer. Once the goods are defrosted, they have to be used within a day or two.


I hope my section here will give some of you the idea about working in a clean kitchen.


Good luck and many enjoyable moments preparing your dishes. Been a Chef you need passion. Without passion you may as well try your luck somewhere else. 

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