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Kitchen Tips: Clean As You Go

Clean As You Go

Alright – so this post comes off as a no-brainer, right? C’mon Jason, why would you have to tell me about this?

A cluttered mess!

A cluttered mess! Clutter creates chaos…


The truth is that even in a professional kitchen, cooks (and chefs) struggle with this concept. It goes something like this:

“OMG! I’m in the juice! What did he say?”

Running back and forth between the cooler and the fryer, I push aside the sauce-stained bowls to get at the calamari. The expediter is shouting out orders, and the din of the crowd is like an angry hornet buzzing in the background that you can’t wave off with your floury-knob-encrusted fingers. Accented by the THUMP THUMP THUMP of the DJ’s music, and the conversation the pantry cooks are having beside you – it’s hard to remember what’s on order right now, and what the hell is that guy picking up?

TWO chicken fingers? Shoot! I only heard ONE! Crap!

Pushing aside the utensils, and cursing as the seasoning salt shaker falls into the insert with the blue cheese dip AGAIN, I grab the requisite 5 chicken tenders and call out, “3 minutes!” just as I trip over that fry box I left beside the fryer.

You wouldn’t believe how many times I have to remind someone to clean as you go.


That’s better. Now we can be organized!


Now, here is the difference:

Fry box folded, and put away. I grab the clean fry bowl, season the fries. I place the seasoned salt shaker in it’s resting place. I have 2 chicken fingers, a buffalo, 3 pounds of wings, 2 poutines, and a whack of fries. I’m working on everything. Oh, the Expediter just called a calamari. No problem.

I turn to my fridge and scoop out my calamari into a clean bowl, then turn to the flouring station. I effortlessly bread them, sift them, and fry for a minute, wiping up the dusting of flour from the edge of the station.

Oh, two more pounds of wings? No problem…

It’s all part of your Mise en Place – how you get organized. If you are working in a cluttered environment – a professional kitchen, or your home, you tend to be frazzled. Everything in it’s place, and clean as you go.

Trust me, you will thank me.

Your Turn

Have you worked in a kitchen mess? Tell me your worst in the comments!



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