who cleans up in your kitchen?

Joined Mar 10, 2004
Im curious about how clean up duties are handled in other kitchens. I will describe mine first. The chef will put away sauces and such, and leaves the scrubbing for the line cooks. 3 line cooks put away everything and scrub all surfaces. 2 dishwashers clean all the pans, inserts, etc (except my knives!) and clean the floor. Im on the line and sometimes i help the dishwashers get out at a reasonable time once my station is clean. I always held respect for the ones who helped me when i was in the dishpit, and want to do the same for others. how does it break down in your kitchen?
Joined Jan 5, 2001
Great topic! I've always had a lot of compassion for the people who spend their working hours in grime. Restaurant dirt is something else... Not to mention the "accidents" these guys have to clean up in the washrooms.

There's only 2 cooks in the kitchen where I work, and we both do lunch and dinner shifts. There are however 2 cleaning shifts. We wrap and put aways our goods, clean inside our fridges, clean out the walk-ins. The dishwashers scrub down at the end of our shift and do all the mopping. It's only fair given their shorter hours. I admit I feel a bit pampered; I'm used to having to scrub down after service. The only other place where this was done for me was when I was working in a hotel. There were so many dishwashers, they didn't know what to do with themselves!
Joined Jun 11, 2004
We too are a smaller venue--at the most a shift will have a chef or line cook with one helper, and one dishwasher. We usually are responsable for our own areas, with the dishwasher getting the 'bathroom mishaps' and any spills on the line while we're busy serving. There is a special cleaning crew that comes in after closing for the 'deep cleaning', and as Chef, I often go in several hours before opening to do the major prep (soups/sauces/etc)--then, being alone will do clean up before the others arrive. Its a tough job, but that's why I wear the big floppy hat! :chef:
Joined Jul 30, 2004
Our situation really doesn't count as it's just my husband and I....but our kitchen is kind of unique in that it's 47 feet long and only 13 1/2 foot wide.
There are work counters, refrigerators, freezers and sinks down each wall the long ways...and down the center of the room....work stations and sinks. This makes two looooong aisles. One for him. One for me. The grill and fryer are on his side with the fridges etc. he needs....the bakery area, salad prep, etc. on my side with fridges etc. The dish area at one end of the room and storage at the other.
Our health law like yours I'm sure, is no carpeting in the kitchen...BUT....it allows mats. Our whole kitchen is matted except under the work counters....so no floors to scrub....we just vacuum and wipe up under the counters!
The mats are like carpeting....but if one does get ruined, it can be replaced easily. We've only had to replace 2 in the four years we've been here.
My husband is also the "dishwasher"...and I'm the one who puts everything away and wipes down...etc. You'd think dishes for the evening run would take the longest....but since we have a menu and a buffet....there's lots to cool down and put away....and our system times out about the same for each of us every night!
Joined Sep 21, 2001
At our place the dishwashers just have to do the dishes and are responsible for making sure that their sinks and dish areas are wiped down and clean. The cooks are responsible for putting away food and wiping their areas down. Since we don't have a fryer or a charbroiler our kitchen doesn't get too trashed. The closing floor person has to reset the dining rooms and wipe down their counters. Then we have a professional janitorial service come in every night and do the rest. Not only does it look much better than having the cooks, dishers and waitstaff doing it, but it works out in terms of morale. The last thing you want to do at the end of a shift is to be detail-oriented for sweeping and mopping. I mean, how does it feel when you have put out hundreds of beautiful covers and everything is perfect and everyone is happy and all, only to be criticised for a lousy job on the floors or bathrooms BECAUSE YOU ARE JUST TOO TIRED FROM BEING SO BUSY SELLING AND MAKING FOOD!
And it works out costing about the same.

The Circus.
And on that note, let me tell you about our janitorial crew. We have a contract with a local vocational rehabilitation agency that provides us with the janitors. They work under what is know as an "enclave"- meaning that you get a whole bunch of them and their trainers. The workers are varying degrees of developmentally disabled- so they have them doing all sorts of jobs depending on their disability. So on any given night there may be anywhere from four to twelve people doing the janitoring and deep cleaning. Sometimes I'll go down to the kitchen and see half a dozen people crammed into the kitchen torn apart with the fridges moved out to clean behind them and stuff stacked up to clean shelves...But it looks good the next day....
Joined Aug 18, 2004
We use a team approach to cleaning. Wait staff clean and reset and restock the front. The dish crew and cooks clean the kitchen and when the front is finished they come in and help. I, the chef, put away my foods, clean my personal equipment and brick my grill. I then do order forms for the night/week and supervise anything else that needs doing. Everyone walks out the door at the same time and head for wherever the "Safety and Organization Meeting" is going to be at that night. With a 5 person team and everyone "working for honor" (no bosses) it is a great time for all of us. My favorite is to pack up a "Midnight Pickinic" and we all go moonlight swimming in the river.
Joined Aug 19, 2004
in the our kitcken the cooks put away all food clean grills and fryers. the disher puts everything away. we have a crew of two that comes in and wipes everything down mops and cleans everything else. the mice take care of the rest (lol).
Joined Aug 11, 2000
me....pretty much always. I had 8 chefs on the market today for Heirloom Tomato Fest....one of them will not be asked back, he was a slob and had the gall to wipe his knife on the tablecloth. The rest were great, they were not used to prepping on a tablecloth covered table but they didn't destroy them.

Large off site catering, usually rentals are involved...there is a dish station set-up and someone to check in and man the station during the event.
I usually end up cleaning my equipment or having the dishman's at the prep kitchen run it through the machine, if it's something that can go through the machine.
Joined Aug 21, 2004
Since I have worked in small to large kitchens I'll do my best. Line Cooks clean the reach-ins, grills, broilers, cutting boards, plate shelfs and all the stainless-steel respective to their individual stations. Prep-Cooks will clean their immediate stations and all walk-ins, freezers, and dry storage. Dishwashers will clean the majority of the kitchen, sweeping, mopping, and trash cans. Line Cooks or Dishwashers switch-off on matts. Chef notices what needs attention, what was missed, and allways works on stream-lining all aspects of sanitation duties.
Joined Nov 17, 2002
I often times find myself in the dishtank...is kinda my scapegoat, especially if I am working out frustration...

I have a Columbian that works for me and he is really funny. Our operation uses a good amount of temporary help, especially in the dish tank and he loves it when I come down and hang out for a couple hours...I told him once that I didn't get to be a good chef by being a shi**y dishwasher and now he always says to me when he sees me coming..."I know why you good chef..." LOL

Just Cheffy's two cents...
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