February 10, 2016
Time management is all about thinking things out and planning ahead.

Time management is all about thinking things out and planning ahead.

Whether a seasoned vet or fresh out of culinary academy, controlling kitchen chaos is key to team success. To further streamline your efforts, here are five handy tips to keep in mind:

“To save time, you may be able to combine some kitchen tasks.”

1. Combine tasks
All chefs approach their work differently. Some like to have enough time to painstakingly craft each dish, while others are more comfortable handling a number of tasks simultaneously. According to the Grill A Chef blog, that latter strategy should be considered when it makes the most sense. For instance, if you’re trying to saute vegetables and brown some rice, you might be able prepare your broccoli or asparagus as the rice starts cooking. This approach may not always be possible, but it’s important to plan how you’ll integrate tasks together. And all that added time can leave you with more room for focusing on other tasks or dishes.

2. Leave yourself reminders
No matter where you may stand in the kitchen hierarchy, you’ll no doubt have quite the workload in front of you. As such, it’s easy to lose track of important dates or pieces of information, and that’s why The Hospitality Business suggested that all chefs should use reminders to keep everything in line. Simple notes around your home and kitchen space can be invaluable, but these are often lost in the shuffle. That’s why it might be worth it to explore digital options, like downloading a calendar app on your smartphone or using a system like Google Calendars. No matter what you use, keep your notes short and sweet, emphasizing just the most vital information.

3. Sweat the small stuff
In his personal blog, celebrity chef Sanjeev Kapoor noted that people should factor in distractions whenever they’re planning meals at home. Personal calls and screaming kids can add precious minutes to preparing almost any meal. And even though you won’t have to contend with angry children, professional chefs should do the same. The work of other chefs, non-cooking responsibilities and even interactions with customers can interfere with your progress in the kitchen. Planning for these eventualities will not only help you cook more efficiently but give you a better idea as to what other tasks occupy your daily schedule.

4. Find your own secret
In bolstering productivity and making greater use of time, no two people are the same. Speaking with Inc. magazine, a number of chefs shared their go-to secrets for being more productive. For one chef, that meant continually developing a mastery of cooking basics, to the point that some tasks almost became automatic in nature. For another culinary guru, relying on staff for certain tasks meant more time for other, higher level job functions. Some of these secrets may work for you, while others may actually hinder your efforts. It’s important to think about who you are as a chef, what works best for you personally and how you can save the most time with the least stress possible.

“You should be dedicated to time management in your personal life.”

5. Make time management a priority
Marcus Samuelson is known for writing a series of cookbooks and running several restaurants in New York, Sweden and Chicago. In his personal blog, Samuelson noted that while improving productivity is important in the kitchen, he also made time management a priority in his personal life. For Samuelson, better managing his efforts in, say, his travel schedule or hanging out with his family lets him hone the skills necessary to do so while in the kitchen. It’s also a way, as the chef pointed out, to encourage other people, be it friends, family or coworkers, to be more cognizant of time, which can improve their abilities to manage themselves.