In my last article, we focused on a crucial but less thought of area in your kitchen, the Prep Zone.
With that part of your assembly line in check, you would have felt a sense of fluidity when cooking.
Things are moving along fast.
Everything you need is within line of sight and reach.
With the Prep Zone saving you time (and your sanity); today, we’ll step into the “belly of the beast” – the Cooking Zone.
Where is it located?
The Cooking Zone centres around, you guessed it, the area where you cook your food. Ideally, this would be next to your prep zone, enabling you to move your ingredients with ease.
Primary equipment and utensils
The most important appliances in your cooking zone are:
- Oven/grill and/or microwave
- Collection of smaller appliances such as slow cooker, rice cooker, kettle and Thermomix (a personal favourite, don’t judge me!)
Once you have demarcated your Cooking Zone around these appliances, identify the accessories and utensils that you would need. For me, they are:
- Utensils I only use when stirring (spoons), flipping (spatulas), grasping (tongs), and thermometers
- Pots and frying pans
- Oven cookware
- Oven mitts
With your essential cookware identified, it’s time for one of my favourite tasks – organising (woohooo!)
Getting organised in the Cooking Zone – what goes where
Use the cupboards and drawers closest to your cooking appliances, always.
Those of you who are renovating your home, or building a new kitchen, I recommend that you opt for drawers over cupboards.
- Use the top drawer(s) for cooking utensils and spices
If you are renting, where you have to work with what you’ve got, or if your kitchen is small, store your utensils in a nice jar on your benchtop or a magnetic strip close to the cooktop. Be mindful of clutter – if you’re not careful you’ll end up with all sorts of utensils – for example too many spoons – resulting in wasted time and frustration fishing for what you need.
- Heavy cookware
Store your cookware in the drawer below the cooking utensil drawer or in a cupboard as close to the cooking zone as possible so that you don’t have to carry heavy pots too far.
Cast iron pots tend to be quite heavy. Store them in a way that you don’t have to bend too much to get them (watch your back!). In addition, ensure the shelf is reinforced so it can withstand the weight.
- Small appliances
The small appliances also go in a cupboard as near as possible to your cooktop. Place the most frequently used ones in the front.
For heavier appliances such as the Thermomix, leave it on the benchtop. Ensure that you have the power points to help you with your workflow and efficiency.
Oven mitts can be hung on a 3M removable hook (for renters) or any other fastener of your choice, near the oven.
Place the trivet on the benchtop where you most often set down your hot baking dishes or trays.
Now, how easy was that? A wee bit of planning and you’ll have a Cooking Zone that’ll be the epitome of efficiency.
Simply remember to:
- Have your Prep Zone right next to the Cooking Zone.
- Store everything you use as close to the cooktop as possible.
- Arrange based on frequency of use.
- Be within proximity to the Cleaning Zone so that you can transfer pots and pans to the sink with ease and without spills.
I’d love to know how the above ideas help you in redesigning your kitchen. As always, drop me a line on Facebook or Instagram with any questions and I’ll be happy to help you out.