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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

10 Restaurant Kitchen Hacks That Rock: The Breakfast Shift

If you work in the kitchen in any restaurant, you know just how stressful it can get back there, especially during peak hours. Chopping, slicing, dicing, grilling, baking, sautéing, and prepping are just some of the battles you’re facing in the back of the house. Cooking isn’t for the faint of heart; it’s a fast-paced world in the kitchen where sweltering heat and collective raised voices are commonplace. With all this hustle and bustle, you sometimes wonder, Wouldn’t it be great if I could get this done faster, or this accomplished easier?

Well, you’re in luck. Thanks to many who work in this industry, these questions have been posed before, and blessed kitchen hacks have emerged as the answers. Here is a list of the best kitchen hacks you can apply during the breakfast shift to make your life, and your colleagues lives, easier. You may have heard of some, but many will come as a beautiful surprise that you’ll no doubt want to apply.

Don’t Let Fruit Slow Down Your Morning Shift

You won’t see a breakfast menu that doesn’t contain some form of fruit, from smoothies to a fresh fruit plate, to those pesky orange garnishes. Fruit makes up a good portion of a breakfast menu, and unfortunately they are some of the most time consuming kitchen prep projects. In order to cut down the time it takes to prep and serve up your fruit dishes and drinks, use these simple hacks.

  • Speed up the ripening process. Unripe fruit is simply not good, but sometimes purchasing it is your only option. As a fix, drop your unripe fruit in a brown paper bag and fold down the top. The ethylene gas that naturally emits from fruit will do the rest of the work to ripen your fruit fast! (Note: This only works with avocados, bananas, kiwi, mango, and pears.)
  • Peel your citrus with ease. Typically you can get the rind right off that pesky orange, but other times it’s a duel between you and the citrus in question. Simply roll the citrus fruit around on a hard surface for half a minute to soften the skin, and then peel it like a champ.
  • Get more juice from your fruit. Similarly to peeling, when juicing a fruit sometimes it’s easy, and you get some great squeezes, and other times it’s like trying to get juice from a raisin – virtually impossible. The hack here is the same as trying to remove the peel; roll it around on a hard surface for one minute, and, like magic, you’ll get all the juice you need. Use a pair of tongs to eliminate the strain on your hand as an added perk!
  • De-pitting small fruit with ease. Talk about a time consuming task! But, this nifty trick can make it a whole lot easier. Place fruits like grapes and cherries on top of an empty coke bottle, and poke a straw through the center – bye-bye, pesky seeds and pits.
  • De-pitting large fruit. Though these pits are larger to handle, they can still be a hard task to manage. Simply cut around peaches, nectarines, and plums length-wise, grip both halves and twist, then use a butter knife to remove the pit cleanly.

The Nuts and Bolts of Breakfast: Bacon, Eggs, and Pancakes

Bacon, eggs, savory scrambles, and pancakes are the starting lineup for a breakfast menu. Since they are the backbone of the breakfast menu, they’re sometimes prepared in excess during a morning shift. An overemphasis on quantity rather than quality may mean these staples fall short when they hit the plate. To avoid this problem, use these creative and easy kitchen hacks to make quality food quickly and easily.

  • Eliminate the bacon clump. There are few things more annoying in the morning kitchen than when bacon pieces stick together after opening the package. Pieces are ripping apart and clumping together, and you have one big headache on your hands. To avoid this, roll the package lengthwise, then secure it with a rubber band and store overnight in your commercial refrigerator. In the morning they’ll easily come apart.
  • Lose the fryer when cooking bacon. Set the oven at 400 to 420 degrees Fahrenheit, place pieces on a wire rack on a baking sheet, and get crispy, crumbly bacon every time. With this technique you can cook a lot of bacon at once, and won’t lose out on quality.
  • Always serve fresh eggs. It can be hard to determine the freshness of your eggs in a commercial kitchen with deliveries coming in constantly. Avoid sending out bad eggs by filling a pot with cold water and placing the eggs inside. If they float to the top, toss them out; if they’re still sitting nicely on the bottom, they’re good to go!
  • Win at the shell game. Eliminate the chances of your guests eating a piece of egg shell by getting your fingers wet before going in to remove the broken shell from the pan or bowl. The shell pieces will gravitate to your wet fingers!
  • Get creative with your batter. You may need to prepare a lot of pancake batter before a breakfast shift due to its popularity, and that’s where your commercial mixer can streamline the task. But, along with quality, show your customers some personality. That’s where this hack comes in. Put your pancake batter into icing dispensers and use specialty cookie cutters to give your pancakes shape. Place the cookie cutters on the griddle and fill them with batter. Serve up seasonal and specialty cakes your customers will love.

These 10 kitchen hacks for the breakfast shift are sure to make your life easier. There is a hack for almost any time-consuming or difficult task you can think of, from softening cold butter in a hurry without a microwave to making a quick and delicious hollandaise sauce in under a minute. Whether you are prepping, cooking, or cleaning in the kitchen, if you come across a task that has you wishing for a hack, chances are it’s already out there!
What are some of your favorite commercial kitchen hacks when you’re working the breakfast shift?

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