[Sca-cooks] Kitchen tips

Jennifer Carlson talana1 at hotmail.com
Wed Aug 20 12:36:15 PDT 2008

Check the ovens!  There's no fear like arriving on site and finding out two-thirds of your ovens aren't working.

Do not trust the kitchen to be clean when you arrive.  Wash the pots and pans yourself before starting.  Likewise, clean the prep areas and utensils and sweep and mop.  Perhaps the last person in the kitchen before you was scrupulous - perhaps they weren't.

Have a contingency plan/recipe.  I once unwrapped the 150 lbs of lamb roasts I had ordered from the butcher, to find I had 100 lbs of roast and 50 lbs of ground.  I sacrificed a couple of loaves of bread and raided the herb supply and made meatballs.  They turned out to be more popular than the roast.

Set a time in the afternoon to have a 15-20 minute break.  My feast partner called it the "scream therapy session."  We'd go outside, let her have a smoke, and blow off steam for a few minutes, then the serving steward would join us and we'd go over the game plan and work in any changes.

Remember to eat and stay hydrated.  Better yet, designate a cook's nanny.  I have diabetes and sometimes forget about the passage of time until the shakes hit, and then I'm useless for the twenty minutes it takes for a glucose tablet to do its work.  I've had many a non-diabetic friend in the kitchen who has done the same thing and suddenly feels sick, or wiped, or really cranky.

Feed your workers.  I generally do a stew-and-bread-with-a-dessert lunch for the kitchen crew.  It makes it easier to make sure everyone does eat.


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