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How to Arrange Herbs and Spices in a Commercial Kitchen

When cooking in a commercial kitchen, every second counts.

Being able to find spices at a moment’s notice is essential in a fast-paced environment.

One day, after my shift, I carefully arranged all herbs and spices in alphabetical order. Then I put my salt and pepper containers to the right of everything and all my smaller (domestic sized bottles and other odd flavorings) to the left – and found this to be an excellent solution – until kitchen staff moved it all around. I fixed it up, but then the same thing repeated.

When I asked them why they changed it up, they said there was no time when rushing around a kitchen, trying to get everything done on time, to stop and put the spices back in the correct place.

Of course! It was so obvious; the team can’t think of order during the busy day, it is just not practical. To solve this, we now have another space for my staff to throw herbs and spices when they are in a hurry, and at the end of the shift, someone puts everything back into alphabetical order.

This solution has both saved me time and headaches with finding the right spices – but most importantly, the organization isn’t getting in the way of moving quickly.

For anyone interested in having a bit more detail, I’ll “file” the spices according to the most important word, for instance, “smoked paprika” is placed next to “paprika” (with the ”p’s and not the “s”s) and “ground rosemary” goes with rosemary.

Yes, it is nerdy, but it makes me happy to be able to find my herbs and spices when on the run, in the kitchen, and this small act of organization speeds up cooking in the kitchen. – when the heat is on every second counts.

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