Starting Work in a Professional Kitchen
Your first day in a new job can be very scary, and professional kitchens have their own individual culture and methods. To make a good first impression and to make it last, just follow these top tips.
Do Your Research
Before starting work in a new kitchen, research the establishment on the internet. You will usually be able to find examples of the menu and be able to look up anything unfamiliar. Read the “About” page to understand more about the ethos of the restaurant and Google the Chef to find out more about their reputation. You could use expert recruitment agencies in Belfast or other areas like http://www.lynnrecruitment.co.uk/home.asp?pid=203 to find out more about the job.
There can be a lot of stress in a professional kitchen and it can be difficult not to react to this, but just remember that stress breeds stress. Try not to act as though you are nervous because that the chef and other members of staff will pick up on your fear and it will make them nervous too. Focus on projecting a calm, confident air and just get on with the task in hand.
Running around like a headless chicken does not help to get the work done, and can cause problems for everyone in the kitchen. Cutting out all unnecessary movements by breaking the task down into individual steps will save both time and stress. Make sure you have everything you need ready at hand before commencing your prep.
If you are not sure what you are supposed to be doing, ask for clarification. If you just carry on and prepare the food wrongly it can cause major problems, so always check. Always admit your level of experience and knowledge – if you pretend you know more than you do you can end up making costly mistakes.
There can be a lot going on in a professional kitchen and it can be hectic and crowded. Make sure people know where you are all the time by calling out. For example, if you walk behind someone, call “behind you” and warn people if you are carrying hot dishes or sharp implements. Make sure your catering supplies such as knives are in good condition. Safety in the kitchen is very important and according to the Health and Safety Executive accidents that involve knives are common in the catering industry so never carry a knife whilst carrying something else and never in your pocket.
Follow the Rules
Follow all the food safety rules with regard to hygiene and hand washing to prevent the spread of infections. The Food Standards Agency states that any symptoms of diarrhea and/or vomiting should be reported to management immediately. Keep your work area clean and uncluttered and maintain a high level of personal hygiene.
If you come across any problems such as fridges or freezers not maintaining their correct temperature or any other equipment failing to operate correctly, do not leave it to someone else to report. These things can sometimes have food safety implications, and, if necessary, replacement items of catering equipment can be obtained very promptly from suppliers.
Working in a professional kitchen can be tiring and stressful but there are rewards as well, making this a fantastic career for you.