Wednesday, March 12, 2008


This is where it all happens. This is the kitchen at Eaton Hall. Since arriving here a few weeks ago, I have been cleaning and reorganizing the kitchen to suit my own personal requirements as a chef. I have been cooking all this time as well, but getting the kitchen organized has been high on my priority list because I always perform better in a highly organized and clean environment.

This kitchen is set up for banquet service in its configuration. That is, it is not set up for a la carte service as you would find in a restaurant kitchen. The main difference between the two is how the line is set up. The line in a restaurant kitchen has cooking equipment along the back wall and is complimented with steam tables, heat lamps, plate storage, cold tables and an automated ordering system running parallel to it to form a very efficient and busy alley way for the chef and cooks to bang out the plates as orders come in from customers in the dining room. A catering kitchen has no need for that parallel component. The food is prepared, cooked and finished en mass and is put out all at once. The kitchen set up must enable that style of service.

You will see in the photos that the hot line is well set up. The equipment includes a convection oven, a deep fat fryer, a flat top griddle/oven, a six-burner range/oven, a broiler and a steam cabinet. The kitchen has plenty of counter and table surface for prepping and laying out plates for the plating and picking up of banquets. The kitchen also has a walk in cooler, walk in freezer, reach in coolers, under counter cooler, steam table and a table top mixer.
When many banquet facilities prepare food is is partially cooked and then finished for pick up and service to the guests later. This is because a lot of food must go out of the kitchen "shot gun" style and this must be executed very quickly to prevent wait time for the guests. I am a restaurant chef and am accustomed to cooking food and putting it out to order. There is a huge difference between the two.

At Eaton Hall I hope to fuse the two styles of service together to put out high numbers of plates quickly while having just cooked quality. It makes for a hellish few minutes for the kitchen, but in the end, the customers will be very happy.

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