One of the standard working practices in the food industry is the policy of “Clean as you go”.


It is an approach to cleaning where an individual takes opportunities to clean throughout his shift such as downtimes or in between cooking steps. Dishes and utensils are washed shortly after using; counters and surfaces are cleaned as the chef transitions into another cooking phase; the food scraps and trash are discarded as needed instead of leaving them to pile up. 

A cluttered working surface is a no-no in a Chef’s world. Chefs are trained to clean and tidy up their workspaces after each step of the preparation for the following reasons:


1. Food safety 


In this age of Covid-19, people pay more attention to food safety. Currently, there is no evidence that people can get the COVID-19 virus by eating or handling food. But, what’s proven are the incidence of food-borne illness resulting from poor food handling. 

A cluttered and dirty working area in the kitchen is a possible breeding ground for germs. It is critical that when introducing a new component of a dish, there is a quick, almost instinctive action of tidying up to avoid food contamination. The goal is to reduce the chances that food contamination happens from dirty hands, dirty tools, dirty surfaces and raw ingredients.

Food contamination during food preparation is controllable when clean/quality ingredients, tools and surfaces are used along the way. 

And we are talking beyond clutter. Since germs are invisible to the eye, the sanitising and cleaning process must be done appropriately. From the cloth used for wiping down to the type of cleaning agent used. They play a role in the critical sequence of food safety. 

When clean as you go is done throughout the work shift, the risk of food contamination is decreased. 


2. Efficient food preparation 


Efficiency helps for more accurate food preparation and faster dish turnover.

Kitchens can be intensely fast-paced and because there is a rush from one dish to another, kitchen surfaces can get messy fast. Messy and cluttered work areas can lead to confusion slowing down production or, worse, can lead to mistakes. Some mistakes are allowable, but what if it involves critical food preferences such as when avoiding food allergies? That is a potentially dangerous mistake that can affect the whole business. 

The key to sanity is to clean as you go. 

This leads to more space in the work table. If you can see the ingredients in front of you, there are fewer chances of food preparation mistakes. There is also less chance of accidents and mishaps with tools. Tasks, such as cutting or plating, are more neatly done. Most people feel more focused when their workspace is tidy. Which, in the end, helps in an efficient work process. 


RELATED READ: How To Maximise Productivity in Your Restaurant Kitchens or Food Events


3. Reduced overwhelm during cleanup


There are kitchen team members such as kitchen stewards who can perform simple food prep and clean up. That doesn’t mean that it is okay to leave the cleanup for later or for someone to handle it. Not many people thrive in attacking a massive pile of cleanup, in whatever situation there is.


Here are the four tasks of Clean As You Go


  1. Clear off the ingredients and materials on the table. Return ingredients in the fridge if applicable and put tools back in place. Clear the table of debris and peels.
  2. Clean the table with a wet cloth and water.
  3. Spray sanitising solution evenly across the surface. There are typically different sanitisers for various tasks, but a multi-purpose cleaner/sanitiser works well. And then comes the critical part – Leave the sanitiser on the surface for contact time, typically around 3-5 mins. You can refer to the sanitiser label for specific instruction. This step is the key to ensuring that the majority, if not all, of the germs on the surfaces, are killed or removed. 
  4. Rinse with a wet cloth to remove the excess chemical. Now the work area is ready for the next task. 


A clean as you go policy leads to a consistent attitude to cleaning. It acts like a minute but integral aspect of good time management. No time is wasted because one makes time. In this case, finding an opportunity to clean up becomes a part of the food preparation process. 


In Summary:

Clean as you go is a discipline of tidying up an area before beginning another task to ensure a clean and clutter-free area. 

If you are looking for a chef to hire in Perth or WA area, Anytime Chefs has a pool of professional chefs who, beyond their solid culinary skills, firmly uphold food hygiene and food safety measures, thereby lessening your stress in this department. 

Give us a call. 


That’s it for this week.
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