Behind the scene: The perfect restaurant kitchen by Siena

Organization, training and hygiene are key to the smooth running of a professional kitchen. The quality of the food prepared and the speed of service depend to a large extent on the layout of the kitchen, the quality of training and the attention paid to hygiene. Whether the kitchen is large or small, if it is well designed, well equipped and clean, the staff will be able to work in optimum conditions and the customer will be even more satisfied with a clean, fast and impeccable service.

Chealeak and Giuseppe at the salad station in Siena’s Kitchen

Restaurant kitchens are made up of different work areas, each dedicated to a specific task. There is no magic formula for organising a professional kitchen, but all chefs agree that the most important thing is to ‘zone’ the work area. The kitchen at the Siena (Thalias Hospitality Group) is an example of organisation and rigorous attention to hygiene.  

The importance of the workplace 

As Giuseppe Napoletano, master chef at Siena, explains, there are standards for dividing a professional kitchen into sections, which can vary according to the type of cuisine offered by the restaurant. A restaurant that specialises in grills, for example, will have a very different kitchen layout to one that serves seafood. So when he arrived to ‘design’ the kitchen at Siena, the Italian chef set about maximising the space.  

“It’s not a very big kitchen and we offer a wide variety of Italian dishes, so I had to adapt to make it as flexible as possible and ensure that things run smoothly. I attach a lot of importance to this aspect because it dictates our day-to-day operations,” he says, adding: 

“We have preparation, cooking, serving, cleaning and tidying areas. And each area has its own importance, so it’s important that the waiters and waitresses can do their job properly without disturbing the chefs.” 

The chef then goes on to describe the various meat and vegetable preparation stations, proudly showing off the modern heat lamps he has installed and the line of perfectly aligned cooking appliances for pasta, meat and other dishes. Giuseppe then shows how the salad preparation station works. This may seem like a minor detail, given the simplicity of the dishes involved, but Giuseppe says it’s essential because it’s here that the commis chefs learn to work methodically and in strict compliance with hygiene standards. 

Training 

“We’ve assigned our latest recruit, Chealeak, to prepare the vegetables for the salads, so she’s learning how to select them, peel them, wash them carefully, drain them and then place them in the trays provided for preparing the salads. It’s a simple job, but it has to be done with great care,” explains the chef. 

Getting the salad station ready in Siena kitchen

If Chealak performs to his satisfaction, she will be able to learn other, more demanding tasks such as cooking, preparing recipes or garnishes. This is the aspect of training that Giuseppe insists on: “Quality training is essential. Everyone has to learn all the facets of the trade before they can claim

the title of cook or chef. I’ve taught a lot in restaurants, hotels and schools over the last 40 years, and I can guarantee that good training, both in theory and practical experience, is essential to running a successful restaurant. It’s also a prerequisite for those who want to continue in the field to be able to develop themselves. For example, we had to train some of our staff to make pizzas in record time, but it worked and today we can offer excellent Italian-style pizzas”. 

 

20 days of training to be able to prepare some of the best pizzas in town

In addition, according to the chef, each of the different tasks requires well-trained staff who are able to use all the specific equipment, from the draining and cleaning areas to the fryers, cooking appliances and robots of all kinds. 

Hygiene 

Training goes hand in hand with compliance with hygiene standards, and the Siena chef is adamant on this point. “Before touching the food, you have to know the rules of HACCP, the food safety management system, which aims to identify health hazards and define strategies to prevent or eliminate them. As far as my staff are concerned, the first thing they do before entering the kitchen is to wash and disinfect their hands. A simple but essential step”.  

One secret among others, a perfectly clean kitchen for a perfect service

Then, even if the whole kitchen looks clean, we disinfect it once a week according to European washing and disinfection standards,” he explains, adding: “When it comes to hygiene, even the details are important. In our kitchen, for example, recipes are not written on the walls because they attract bacteria; they are carefully stored in a separate filing cabinet”. 

Finally, and not without a touch of pride, the Siena chef points out that the hygiene officers who come to inspect the kitchen are regularly surprised by the impeccable cleanliness of the workspace and wonder “if this isn’t more of an exhibition than a working kitchen”. 

More tips and advice behind the scene to come in Thalias Newsletter.

You want to try one one the best table in town, please visit Siena Restaurant 

 

 

 

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