Restaurant Secrets - Pre-Cooking - as part of the food and kitchen series by GeoBeats.
In restaurants, business is so hectic because we have a lot of people coming in every night and so much work to do, and oftentimes not even enough people to do all the work. So one of the ways that we are efficient in a restaurant is understanding what our menus are and pre-prepping everything so that when service comes, we have the things that could have been cooked beforehand already ready to go. We can pre-steam vegetables for a few days ahead of time so that we can take care of that one aspect of a dish at once.
Let us say for example we had a chicken dish with steamed broccoli and mashed potatoes. It would be a lot of work to make all that at once when a diner ordered it, so what we will do is we will steam the broccoli, probably that morning. We will refrigerate it, keep it in one of our boxes near our cooking station, and when the order comes up, all we have got to do is throw our chicken on the grill, reheat our mashed potatoes and reheat our broccoli in a pan with a little bit of lemon juice and salt, and bam, you have a dish that would have taken forty five minutes to cook, probably ready in about the time the chicken takes, about fifteen minutes. You would do the same thing at home and stretch those ideas out over a few days so that your cooking process is a lot shorter, quicker and easier.
Besides vegetables, you can also prepare sauces ahead of time. I am sure you have a great recipe for a marinara or a pesto. These things can be made in bulk and even sometimes frozen. A marinara sauce freezes very well. Same thing goes for pesto. Same thing can go for most sauces that you would want to make. Also, other things that are good to prep ahead of time would be certain things like roasts. If you wanted to make a prime rib roast or you even wanted to make Filet Mignon, you can cook it all at once, refrigerate it, and then eat it the next day. Meat gets better the day after you have cooked it, so do not worry about it going bad. It is actually going to taste even better if you have done that. Same thing goes for stews. If you make a stew one day, you can freeze some of it and eat it a week later, even eat it a month later. All you have to do is heat up some rice or some pasta and you have got full meal.