Cook for a large family

3
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Joined Jun 6, 2020
I have 10 children going on 11 and as the family has grown I have accumulated a large number of pots and pans but can never find or don’t have the one I need for some application. I have to plan for at least two meals a day... 20 plates alone! We have traffic flow problems in the kitchen because things pile up and we get behind on dishes. We have limited space so storage is also a huge issue. Most of the pots and pans and storage are old and worn and need to be replaced. Can someone recommend what you would stock a small commercial kitchen with- how many and what size skillets, pots, Cambros, knives, and utensils? I think I need to throw everything out and start over with a plan. Can someone help? Thanks!
 
1,086
645
Joined Mar 1, 2017
If you know what the individual pots and pans are used for and you know what meals you prepare, figuring our what pans your need and don't need should be the easy part.

As for stocking a small commercial kitchen, much of the appliances that we would choose as professionals would not be feasible in a residential kitchen for a variety of reasons. The difference in output between a commercial stove and a residential stove alone is night and day. Commercial appliances typically have a larger draw on electricity that residential models and therefore, a commercial kitchen will typically be set up for commercial power, which is much higher than residential.

But, to answer your question, I would focus on dry and cold storage space, including freezers. I would have a deep fryer, a good gas stove with a minimum of 6 burners. A double well, stainless steel sink and and a high capacity dishwasher. I would have a designated space for prep, typically a steel table with assorted cutting boards for veg and proteins. Everything would be arranged for efficiency and ease of access when it comes to cleaning......in other words, tables on wheels so they can be moved to clean under them, high clearance under the stove and a no slip tile floor that can be mopped, complete with a drain.

But, I have no idea how much space you have available and what your budget is.

If you don't mind me saying so, you have a small army at your disposal. Some of them have to be old enough so they can wash some dishes and help with meal prep, no?

Good luck. :)
 
3
1
Joined Jun 6, 2020
Thanks for the reply!
I’m not so concerned about appliances as I am about the prep stuff- dishes, mixing bowls, bain Marie’s, ladles, knives, saucepan sizes, pot sizes and skillets.
the problem I have is space. I cannot have help in the kitchen because the layout of the room is all wrong and fixing that is half the problem- I have 10 square feet of floor space that have to be shared by the person using the oven or stove, the fridge, the sink, and the food prep surface- only one person can operate at a time there, and the army of help I have usually can only be there at meal times- between nap schedules and school events, it makes it painfully evident that we have two problems- space and layout, and clutter. I’m starting with the clutter since I cannot afford to fix the space and layout Issues... so my thought is to build a list of what I need for these other items, get rid of the extra stuff, and replace it with the right stuff. I can do this small expenses at a time and save the extra cash to fix the space and layout problem. Thanks for getting back to me on this!
 

phatch

Moderator
Staff member
9,076
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Joined Mar 29, 2002
What does your family like to eat? That will inform equipment focus IMHO.
 
3
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Joined Jun 6, 2020
First thing that comes to mind: Frozen pizza- we need 4 when we make pizza but can only currently do 2 at a time in our oven, due to the size of our sheet pans.
more sheet pan dishes: chicken nuggets and fries
We also make enchiladas, Mac and cheese, chili, spaghetti, casseroles, stews, hamburgers, roasts,
Steak, mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, eggs, pancakes. Our stovetop/ oven works... 1/5 burners and the oven. It is hard to find because we can’t get nat gas so we have to run propane, but I’m not sure about requirements of a commercial stovetop and oven- would I need a range hood with heavy specs for something like that?
 
1,086
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Joined Mar 1, 2017
I'm not really seeing how an upgrade in utensils will help unless and until you fix the problem with space. I suppose you could upgrade your existing appliances but, the shortage of space will limit any benefits you would other get from such upgrades.

As for a commercial range, aside from their cost, you would definitely want to have a hood system. But, that's not the problem. The problem with commercial ranges is the heat they produce, which is considerably higher than a residential stove of similar size. That's not a great thing in a space that small, not to mention commercial ranges tend to be larger than residential stoves. You can get them in smaller sizes but, custom spec = custom prices.

Depending on where you live, have you considered the plausibility of having a couple of propane grills outside with burner attachments to help spread the load of cooking? I make pizzas all the time on my grill with a pizza stone. I've used my grills to cook during power outages to boil water for pasta, potatoes, veggies, stews etc. The trade off is the frequent refill of propane tanks.

Is remodeling the kitchen an option?
 
706
258
Joined May 25, 2015
As for a commercial range, aside from their cost, you would definitely want to have a hood system. But, that's not the problem. The problem with commercial ranges is the heat they produce, which is considerably higher than a residential stove of similar size. That's not a great thing in a space that small, not to mention commercial ranges tend to be larger than residential stoves. You can get them in smaller sizes but, custom spec = custom prices.
I assume that you live in a residential house. A commercial range for you would be out of the question. Not only would you have to rebuild your kitchen to meet fire resistant standards, you would need a commercial hood system with fire suppression and make-up air. You can't just drop a commercial range into the space you have. On top of that, your insurance company will have something to say about it and likely drop you.

Ever think of making a deal with a food truck to come by a couple of times a day? :rolleyes:
 
595
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Joined Sep 17, 2018
Maybe you should try changing some of your menu instead. Some of the items like casseroles are very easy to make in a large batch and can feed a lot but doing things like burgers, steaks and pizzas with your limitations may not be the best choices for the amount of people you have to feed.
 
417
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Joined Feb 18, 2007
All good suggestions above;

I'd suggest a stockpot with a pasta insert so you can boil enough pasta at one time to make mac-n-cheese, spaghetti, ziti etc and then just lift the insert so you don't have to drag the pot over to the sink to drain. Make sure you have the height for a large stockpot between your range top and anything above it (microwave).

If your budget can accommodate it, you might want to look into a Breville Smart Oven Air, or the Cuisinart version - large enough to roast a chicken or turkey in it, as well as double as an air fryer (you can get multiple baskets so you can do three trays at a time).

An Instant Pot can be helpful to make rice, stews, yogurt, pulled chicken or pork, and you're not using a burner on the range making it. You can buy multiple inserts and covers for the inserts (to make food storage easier).

It's going to cut down on your counter space; and what we did was to buy rolling Metro carts and that's where the Smart Oven and the IP are so we can roll them in/out as needed.
 

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