I LOVE to set up kitchens! In fact, when I had my personal Chef company, I offered that as a service, (most people wanted me to cook instead though!) It’s tricky to be able to help your particular situation since everyone’s kitchen is so different, but here are some basic tips that can help you!
To be clear, this is not about kitchen organization. Although that is important too. This is focused on how you set up your kitchen for efficiency and better workflow.
First, you need to start with less. Here are the basics I recommend.
Even if you keep a Kosher kitchen, it doesn’t automatically mean that you need double of everything. Think about how you actually cook. Be intentional.
Zones simply make sense because you are keeping like items together in one section. Depending on your kitchen layout you may have different zones or some may be combined:
The most important ones for efficiency and to focus on no matter how big or small your kitchen is:
Prep Zone – keep the counter space open and free for all food prep. Your knives, cutting boards, peelers, bowls, should be nearby. If your spices and pantry are not nearby, it’s even more important to practice mise en place.
Cook Zone – The drawers closest to the range should hold the cooking utensils and the cabinets below, the pots and pans.
Plating Zone – Plates and bowls above and near your range as well as. Ideally this area is also near the sink and/or dishwasher so you can put them away easily.
The less movement and less steps you need to take in order to make these happen will be an efficient workflow.
Think of your dominant hand. If you’re right handed, ideally you would prep on the left of your stove so you can attend to things cooking on the right – however, some kitchen layouts don’t allow this. No matter what, try to work in a logical flow. Pretend you are on a production line. What comes first? What happens next? In order…down the line.
Keep things you use the most closeby; down lower where you can reach. Utilize those awkward shaped cabinets for seasonal items or things you don’t use that often. Appliances may go here or maybe baking stuff if that’s not something you do regularly.
Spices shouldn’t go by the heat as they will spoil faster. Except salt. Keep that out and nearby in a salt cellar.
Keep countertops as clear as possible – it will help with prep and clean up.
Utilize lid organizers and lazy susans for things like oil and vinegars.
After you finish one task, wipe down your cutting board and “reset” always go back to the starting point. It will help clear you area and your mind.