At the busiest and most profitable time of the year, ensure all your hard work and organisation is rewarded with healthy figures and smiling guests as we share some space saving, money crunching tips to help ease the tension.
KitchenA great kitchen layout help chefs perform at their best. The most important factors in kitchen design are labour efficiency, safety and functionality. Of the three most common layout styles: 1) island, 2) zone, and 3) assembly line, an island style layout is arguably the most open, flexible and user-friendly with the most essential cooking equipment located in the centre. For example, Debra Ponzek, owner of ‘Aux Delicés’ in Connecticut, has built upon this ergonomic design principle by including a sink on her central island, so that she can turn from the stove to the sink in a single step. With similar tools and equipment placed together in this way both time and effort are saved, whilst the middle island section also provides excellent storage which is quick and easy to access for chefs.
Its well worth cleaning and testing your equipment to discover any issues ahead of time, as your oven is likely to be in high demand. Your fridge will also be pushed to the maximum this season so taking a little time to clear out and make space will increase your capacity and give you peace of mind when preparing for the bulk of incoming supplies.
Having the best tools for the job will naturally improve speed and efficiency. There’s never a better example of this than investing in a new knife set, and for your existing knives a sharpening steel or electric sharpener can restore its performance in minutes, helping to maintain your kitchen like a well-oiled machine.
MenuFor expensive seasonal ingredients such as venison and clams, vacuum packing is an original and practical way to cut costs. This method retains the clams’ juices and full flavour of the venison but easily triples the shelf life of other foods like cheese, fish, bacon and nuts. You can therefore order exotic produce in advance to avoid inflated prices later. You’ll also save time with food prepared beforehand and no ‘freezer burn’ or contamination issues to worry about.
Themed canapés instantly set the mood and are still solid ice-breakers. Including a little taste of old world continents is a great way to create a buzz with guests sampling and talking about your food from all corners of the globe. Present canapés on sturdy and stylish natural slate for maximum effect.
Traditional favourites like pate, terrine parfait and prawn cocktail are all great starters and, prepped in advance, save precious time on the night. A smoked salmon salad looks fresh and vibrant on the plate, keeps ingredients to a minimum, and fires up the taste buds just enough before busier flavours arrive.
TableSmall lights and warm colours are a great way to relax diners. You can compliment a Christmas table setting perfectly with a simple effects like a red embossed table cover.
Many of the things we love about Christmas were born in the Victorian era, including the Turkey, Christmas tree and mulled wine. Victorian-inspired Christmas settings are immensely popular and this look can be achieved for little cost with elegant ring menu card holders, rustic brown rattan baskets or silver plated candelabras for a table setting bursting with vintage character.
It certainly pays to invest early in seasonal supplies like themed napkins, tablecloths and biscuit cutters before they’re all snapped up. Rechargeable tea lights are also a smart investment with no fire risk, waxy mess or damaged linens to ruin the feast. You could also include a pine framed chalkboard for handwritten food and wine menus, adding an affordable, personal touch to the table.
Finally, enjoy the success of your upcoming event, and don’t forget to browse our Christmas Shop for more ideas and essential last-minute festive items.
By Jeff Gibson