Preparing just the right amount of ingredients for each day is key to a smooth service.
How do club chefs ensure that every item on the menu can be prepared quickly and precisely without keeping members waiting? The successful flow in a kitchen has a lot to do with the daily prep list. A prep list specifies how much of each food item should be prepared at a station before the start of service. With the proper amount ready to go beforehand, members receive fresh meals without delay.
Adjusting the Prep List
Typically, the prep list changes day by day—and even meal by meal—depending on the expected volume of guests, menu specials, and the trending dish at that time. For example, if a menu item has been selling particularly well, a chef will increase the number of those items on the prep list so that the kitchen is prepared for the influx of orders.
The same goes for the opposite effect—less-popular menu items lead to an adjustment in the prep list to avoid prepping items too soon or wasting food.
The Prep List Layout
The prep list itself is typically displayed as an excel spreadsheet designating the date and name of the station. The first column will include the name and category of the item such as a chopped vegetable or prepared item like hash browns or onion rings.
The following columns will typically indicate the amount of par—the number the chef should prepare for that day. Two or three par numbers—indicating a slow, steady, or busy day—specify how these numbers change depending on the type of service.
A prep list at a club or resort restaurant is ideal for ensuring brisk service and fresh meals. If the items are prepared days in advance, the food may be prepared early, but not taste as fresh. The prep list keeps the kitchen on track without sacrificing a high quality of food on the plate.