What Is A Prep Kitchen – The Essential Guide to Prep Kitchen Design

What Is a Prep Kitchen

A prep kitchen is a dedicated commercial kitchen designed specifically for food preparation. It is typically separate from the central kitchen, although it may be attached or adjacent. Prep kitchens are found in both commercial and residential settings and are essential in providing delicious meals quickly and efficiently.

what is a prep kitchen

Most prep kitchens consist of various kitchen stations that are set up to handle the daily kitchen tasks such as chopping vegetables, prepping ingredients, and assembling gourmet meals. It may also include a prep pantry, where elements are stored, and a workspace to create new items for the food menu. A basic prep kitchen might have a sink, a refrigerator, and counter space. In contrast, a lovely prep kitchen can incorporate ideas such as luxury kitchen design, cabinetry, and even open-concept kitchens. Fellow kitchen design aficionados may find inspiration from some of the incredible luxury kitchens found online.

Definition of a Prep Kitchen

A prep kitchen, a mess kitchen or a secondary kitchen is a dedicated commercial kitchen with multiple kitchen stations reserved for food preparation. Most prep kitchens are private and are used exclusively by the chefs, cooks, and kitchen staff, while others are shared co-working kitchen spaces used by food makers to create gourmet meals. Whether looking for basic prep kitchen design ideas or luxury kitchen design with luxury kitchen cabinetry, fellow kitchen design enthusiasts can find inspiration from open-concept kitchens. Prep kitchens are the starting point for creating delicious meals, testing new items, and managing a food menu.

What Is a Prep Kitchen?

Moving forward, let’s explore what exactly is a Prep Kitchen. A Prep Kitchen is a type of commercial kitchen that is dedicated to food preparation. It’s an excellent asset for restaurants, caterers, food makers, and anyone looking to produce gourmet meals. Prep Kitchens include all the necessary equipment and tools to perform daily kitchen tasks, such as cutting boards, baking sheets, blenders, and more. Many Prep Kitchens are open concept, allowing larger, better-organized spaces to move around and incorporate lovely kitchen design ideas. They are also designed with luxury kitchen design in mind, enabling fellow kitchen design fans to explore all the possibilities of creating a luxury kitchen.

Benefits of a Prep Kitchen

With that in mind, the benefits of having a prep kitchen are numerous. A prep kitchen is a great space-saving tool; it can be more compact than a regular kitchen. This allows you to maximize the space in your home. Additionally, having a prep kitchen will enable you to easily store and access all the items you need for cooking meals, such as ingredients, utensils, and recipes. This not only makes preparing meals much more accessible but also helps save time when it comes to meal prep. Furthermore, having a dedicated kitchen helps reduce messes and clutter in the central kitchen, as all necessary items are stored in the prep kitchen.

Standard Features of a Prep Kitchen

With the many features of a prep kitchen, it’s easy to see the benefits of having such a space. The most common features of a prep kitchen include:

  • Dedicated commercial kitchens.
  • Private kitchens.
  • Shared co-working kitchen spaces.
  • Pantries for prepared meals.

Prep kitchens are designed to make it easy for chefs to create delicious menus with new items and recipes. They are also great for organizing and stocking the kitchen with all the necessary ingredients and equipment.

In addition to ease of use, prep kitchens also provide various benefits. They help lower the fat, carbs, and calories in meals, allowing chefs to experiment with recipes and create new flavours.

Equipment Needed in a Prep Kitchen

A prep kitchen has several essential equipment, such as refrigerators and freezers, blenders and mixers, and food prep tables. Refrigerators and freezers are vital for keeping ingredients fresh and for storing prepared meals. Blenders and mixers are needed for making sauces and batters, and food prep tables provide the necessary space to prepare recipe ingredients.

what is a prep kitchen

Refrigerators and Freezers

Graciously transitioning from the previous section, a thorough overview of the equipment needed in a prep kitchen brings us to the refrigerators and freezers. Most prep kitchens have dedicated refrigerators and freezers – both commercial and private. They come in all sorts of sizes, styles, and finishes to fit the needs of the space. In the luxury kitchen design, you can find sleek, stainless steel ones that suit the modern look. On the other hand, a more homey style might be a better fit for open-concept kitchens.

It is essential to consider the size of the refrigerator and freezer depending on the food menu and recipes. If you need to store a lot of food, opt for larger ones.

Blenders and Mixers

Any chef or culinary team must have the right equipment in a prep kitchen. From refrigerators and freezers to food prep tables, each item has a specific purpose and should be included in the design of most prep kitchens. A blender and mixer is one of the most essential equipment in a prep kitchen.

Blenders and mixers are invaluable tools in a prep kitchen, allowing chefs and cooks to create a variety of dishes quickly and efficiently. These machines can mix ingredients, puree food, blend sauces and dressings and even whip cream. Blenders and mixers come in various sizes and styles, from basic models to high-end machines capable of handling more complex recipes.

Food Prep Tables

Any prep kitchen needs to have reliable and well-made food prep tables. Food prep tables are a staple in most prep kitchens and are an integral part of the overall kitchen design. Prep tables provide a place for chefs to prepare and store ingredients and assemble meals and dishes. With suitable materials and quality construction, prep tables can withstand the rigours of a busy kitchen while providing a safe and efficient working environment. A good prep table should be made of stainless steel, easy to clean and highly durable. It should also be designed with an open shelf underneath, ideal for storing large items such as cookware, utensils, and trays.

Storage Solutions for a Prep Kitchen

A lovely prep kitchen needs to be well-organized and well-stocked with the necessary items to ensure your recipes are perfect every time. Shelving and cabinets are ideal for storing dry and canned goods, while drawers and bins are perfect for housing utensils and other kitchen items. Locking containers is the way to go for things that must be kept secure.

Shelving and Cabinets

The proper shelving and cabinets in a prep kitchen are essential for successful food preparation and storage. Shelving is great for holding food containers, pots, pans, and other kitchen items. Cabinets are perfect for storing ingredients, spices, and other smaller items. Shelving and cabinets come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials to fit the specific needs of the prep kitchen. For example, stainless steel shelving and cabinets are perfect for a commercial kitchen, while wood or bamboo shelving and cabinets may be more suited for a dedicated home kitchen. Additionally, if space is limited, wall-mounted shelves and cabinets can be used to maximize storage.

Drawers and Bins

Drawers and bins are essential for creating an efficient prep kitchen. Whether in a dedicated commercial kitchen or a private luxury kitchen, drawers and bins provide an excellent option for creating an organized, easy-to-access storage solution. Commercial-grade drawers and bins are the most popular choice for professional chefs as they are sturdy, durable, and easy to clean. Drawers are perfect for storing items like spices, herbs, and other minor ingredients, while bins can be used for oversized items like potatoes, onions, and other bulk commodities. Drawers and bins can also create dedicated storage areas for ingredients such as fat, carbs, and protein. This allows for easily separating and organizing components while ensuring that proper portions are used in recipes.

Locking Containers

To round out the storage solutions for a prep kitchen, locking containers is an essential tool to have on hand. These containers provide a safe and secure way to store ingredients, allowing cooks to organize their kitchens easily. Locking containers come in various sizes and styles, so cooks can choose a container that meets their needs. For instance, a larger locking container may store bulk items such as flour, sugar, and other dry ingredients, while smaller containers can store smaller components. These containers can also store pre-measured ingredients, making it easy for cooks to grab what they need quickly. Also, locking containers are great for keeping food fresh, preserving its flavour, and protecting against outside contamination.

Safety Practices in a Prep Kitchen

The safety practices in a prep kitchen are essential and should never be taken lightly. Temperature control, cleanliness and sanitation, and food handling and storage are the three main aspects to be considered. Temperature control is vital to ensure food safety and prevent the growth of bacteria. In addition, making sure the kitchen is always clean and sanitized is essential to maintain a healthy environment. Lastly, food should be handled and stored correctly to ensure it remains safe to consume. Prep kitchens, mess kitchens, secondary kitchens, dedicated kitchens, dedicated commercial kitchens, private kitchens, and luxury kitchens all need to abide by these safety practices.

Temperature Control

The temperature control of a prep kitchen is one of the most critical components of its operations. To ensure that food is stored at the proper temperature and does not spoil, the kitchen must have a dedicated refrigerator and freezer, each with its thermometer. Additionally, a thermometer must be placed in the food storage area and one for the prep area itself. These thermometers are essential to monitor and adjust temperatures throughout the kitchen consistently. Furthermore, it is important to avoid overcrowding food in the fridge or freezer, as this can cause temperatures to drop too low, leading to food spoilage. Temperature control is also essential for food safety, as certain items must be stored at a specific temperature to be safe from bacteria and other contaminants.

Cleanliness and Sanitation

Having a clean and sanitary environment in a prep kitchen is essential to the food’s safety and quality. A high standard of maintenance should be adhered to, including regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, equipment, floors, and walls and ensuring that all food-contact surfaces are kept free of dirt and debris. Utensils and cutting boards should be thoroughly washed and sanitized after each use. Hands should be washed frequently, especially after handling raw food and touching cooked food. Food should be stored to avoid potential contaminants and minimize the risk of cross-contamination. Any food that has been left out should be discarded, as it can quickly contaminate other foods. Proper temperature control is also critical to maintaining a safe prep kitchen:

Food Handling and Storage

Now that you’ve read about the storage solutions for a prep kitchen, it’s time to discuss food handling and storage. To ensure the highest standards of safety and cleanliness, dedicated kitchens must have the proper protocols in place for food handling and storage.

Food must be kept at the proper temperatures to prevent the growth of bacteria. Refrigerated items should never reach a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit, while frozen items must be held at 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Additionally, food should always be stored in sealed containers or bags to ensure freshness and avoid contamination.

If items must be reheated, they should reach a temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit within two hours. To prevent cross-contamination, all raw and cooked items must be kept separate.

Ways to Improve Efficiency in a Prep Kitchen

Workflow optimization in a prep kitchen can increase efficiency. By proper planning, kitchen tasks can be completed faster. Automation can speed up the process of creating meals. Technology can also be used to make prep work more accessible. For example, luxury kitchens can have pantries that organize recipes and ingredients. Additionally, prep staff can use fat, carb, and calorie tracking systems to prepare dishes with the proper nutritional content. To maximize efficiency, private kitchens can create schedules for their staff members, and more prep members can be hired to complete tasks faster.

what is a prep kitchen

Workflow Optimization

Building upon the safety practices implemented in a prep kitchen, proper planning is the next step towards optimizing workflow. In luxury kitchens, design ideas are often based on functionality and operational flow. Professional luxury kitchen designers recommend that the ideal workflow should be organized in a line from the prep pantries to the finished recipes. This means the ingredients are easily accessed, and the dishes are assembled quickly and efficiently.

Proper Planning

A proper plan is essential for success in any prep kitchen. This includes having suitable recipes, knowing the correct measurements of ingredients, and even the right number of staff members. A luxury kitchen designer can help create a kitchen design tailored to a prep kitchen’s specific needs, including adding prep pantries and other features to make the kitchen more efficient. Additionally, chefs should be mindful of the fats and carbohydrates in their recipes, ensuring they have the right combination of fats, carbs, and calories to make the dish successful. Furthermore, having a team of prep members knowledgeable in the different cooking techniques and recipes will help make the process smoother and increase efficiency. Therefore, proper planning is critical for having a successful prep kitchen.

Automation and Technology

Transitioning from safety practices to ways to improve efficiency, automation, and technology can be a game-changer in a prep kitchen. The right technology can streamline workflow and create a more efficient and profitable kitchen. Automation helps reduce labor costs and can help create consistency in food production. Kitchen staff can use automation to measure recipe ingredients, track inventory, manage temperature control, and even collect data on food preparation. Automation is also helpful in alerting chefs to potential safety issues like cross-contamination, expired food, and other food safety issues. Automation helps reduce the need for manual labor and increases production speed. Technology can also be used to create virtual pantries with recipes and ingredient lists that can be shared with members.

Design Considerations for a Prep Kitchen

Designing a prep kitchen requires consideration of layout and space utilization, lighting and ventilation, and durable materials and finishes. A luxury kitchen designer will ensure that the pantries, recipes, and other features are positioned and allocated to maximize efficiency and minimize wasted motion. Strategically placed lighting fixtures and vents provide a well-lit and well-ventilated kitchen space that is comfortable and safe for culinary work. High-quality materials and finishes are ideal for a prep kitchen, which will be exposed to heat, spills, and other challenges. Finishes should be non-porous, scratch-resistant, and easy to clean.

Layout and Space Utilization

The layout and space utilization of the prep kitchen are essential for its success. Luxury kitchen design is the key to creating a space that meets the needs of both the chef and the staff. Prep pantries should be designed to allow for easy access to ingredients, recipes, and equipment. Each station should be strategically placed to maximize efficiency while allowing for adequate workspace. The design should also consider the layout of the adjacent prep kitchen and main culinary facilities. The materials used should be durable and easy to clean, while the finishes should be attractive and add a touch of luxury to the kitchen. Lighting and ventilation should also be considered when designing a prep kitchen, as it can significantly improve the efficiency and productivity of the staff.

Lighting and Ventilation

With the proper design considerations in mind, lighting and ventilation can be essential components of a prep kitchen. By incorporating an array of lighting fixtures that are adjustable and dimmable, the prep kitchen can be illuminated in a practical and aesthetically pleasing way. Additionally, ensuring the kitchen is well-ventilated and has the appropriate extraction systems is essential to preventing grease and smoke from accumulating in the kitchen while providing a comfortable working environment. Investing in high-quality ventilation allows the space to remain clean and inviting, and the cooks can be free to work without distractions from odours and smoke.

Durable Materials and Finishes

Having ensured the layout and space utilization of the prep kitchen are efficient, and the lighting and ventilation are sufficient, the next step is selecting the materials and finishes that will make the kitchen durable and luxurious. The materials and finishes used in a prep kitchen must be solid, able to withstand the high temperatures of a kitchen, and easy to clean and maintain.

For the flooring, porcelain tile or non-porous quartz is best. For the walls and countertops, stainless steel or Corian are commonly used. Selecting materials that can withstand grease, oil, and other spills is essential.

The colour scheme of the kitchen should be considered as well. Colors like blues, greens, and browns can create a calming atmosphere.

Costs of Setting up a Prep Kitchen

The costs associated with setting up a prep kitchen vary, including equipment, installation, and maintenance costs.

Equipment costs refer to the necessary items needed to construct the kitchen, such as luxury kitchen design, designer, prep pantries, recipes and more.

Equipment Costs

From the design considerations of a prep kitchen to the costs of setting one up, it is essential to understand all the expenses of having your culinary facility. Equipment costs are one of the main costs associated with a prep kitchen. The luxury of having a prep kitchen allows for the use of specialized equipment, such as prep pantries and grills, necessary for creating high-quality meals. Additionally, you will need to purchase different types of cookware, such as pots, pans, and knives, that are essential for your kitchen. Depending on the size of your kitchen, you may also need to purchase multiple refrigerators, freezers, and other appliances to help you prepare food. By understanding your equipment costs, you can better plan for the budget of your prep kitchen.

Installation Costs

The installation costs of setting up a prep kitchen are essential to getting a dream kitchen design. They range from the materials and equipment needed to the actual installation of the kitchen. For a luxury kitchen design, items such as prep pantries, G-fat pro 1G, G-fat pro 2G, G-fat pro 0G, G-fat pro 24G, G-fat pro 10G, G-fat pro 27G, G-fat pro 34G, G-fat pro 18G, fat 9G carbs, fat 16G carbs, 36G fat 9G carbs, and more can add up quickly. Additionally, installation costs for the appliances, lighting, cabinets, and countertops should also be considered.

Maintenance Costs

Considering the costs associated with setting up and maintaining a prep kitchen is essential. Maintenance costs are the ongoing costs that come with running a prep kitchen. These include costs for cleaning, restocking, and repairs. Cleaning involves:

  • Hiring a cleaning crew.
  • Buying cleaning products.
  • All other costs of keeping the prep kitchen spotless.

Restocking costs include the cost of buying ingredients, utensils, and other items necessary to keep the prep kitchen running. Finally, repair costs include the cost of repairing or replacing any broken equipment and the cost of any required upgrades. These costs must be accounted for when setting up a prep kitchen.

Examples of Prep Kitchens

A Prep Kitchen is the foundation of any food service business, from restaurants and hotels to fast-food chains. Designing a luxury kitchen with the right equipment and pantries can save time, energy, and money. Many businesses use specialized tools to measure and add fat, carbs, and calories to their recipes to maximize efficiency. Professional chefs often choose prep kitchens with at least 1g of fat, 2g of fat, 0g of fat, 24g of fat, 10g of fat, 27g of fat, 34g of fat, and 18g of fat.

what is a prep kitchen

Restaurant Kitchens

Moving on to examples of prep kitchens, restaurant kitchens are one of the most common types of prep kitchens. These are often designed to accommodate a range of styles, ranging from luxury kitchen designs to no-frills, practical strategies. Prep pantries, which are typically well-stocked with all the necessary ingredients for a chef’s recipes, are essential for a successful restaurant kitchen. In addition to pantries, restaurant kitchens usually contain a variety of cooking tools and equipment, such as grills, ovens, and deep-fat fryers.

Hotel Kitchens

As the costs of setting up a prep kitchen are high, it is essential to consider the different types of kitchens in order to determine which is best for the situation. One type of kitchen to consider is a hotel kitchen. Hotel kitchens are typically designed and built with luxury in mind, allowing for ample storage, prep pantries, and spacious work surfaces. A hotel kitchen typically has gas and electric equipment with up to 1g fat and 2g fat burners and up to 0g fat, 24g fat, 10g fat, 27g fat, and 34g fat ovens.

Fast Food Kitchens

Moving on from the costs associated with setting up a prep kitchen, let us look at some examples of prep kitchens, beginning with fast food kitchens. In a fast food kitchen, the design is all about efficiency. The layout must be designed to minimize the time it takes to make food orders and maximize the use of kitchen space. The kitchen must also comply with food safety regulations and must be able to accommodate the large volumes of food being prepped and cooked. When it comes to the equipment, the kitchen must be equipped with commercial-grade ovens, grills, deep fryers, and other appliances. It must also have enough counter space to hold the ingredients used in the preparation of meals.


A prep kitchen is essential to any restaurant or commercial kitchen, providing a safe and efficient workspace for food preparation. It requires the right equipment and storage solutions to maximize efficiency and safety, as well as thoughtful design considerations to ensure the space meets the needs of the kitchen staff. Setting up a prep kitchen can be a significant investment, but the rewards of having a dedicated workspace for food preparation are well worth it. From shared kitchens and culinary facilities to food trucks and adjacent prep kitchens, there are many examples of prep kitchens that demonstrate the power of the right design and equipment. Whether you want to build a luxury kitchen or improve your home prep kitchen, having the proper workspace can make a big difference.