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The kitchen stewarding department has a very important role to perform in the hotel and catering industry. It is primarily responsible for maintaining cleanliness and hygienic conditions in the kitchen. They provide all the important backup services of the food and beverage department by maintaining and cleaning all the utensils and equipment used, ensuring
proper garbage disposal.

Duties and Responsibilities of the Kitchen Stewarding Staff

Executive kitchen steward is responsible for the supervision of all silver, dish, and glass washing and the maintenance of high standards of kitchen cleanliness. They report directly to the executive chef. They must be familiar with all kitchens and service equipment, their usage, maintenance and storage, and government laws enforced by the health and sanitation

Assistant managers assist the executive kitchen steward and supervise the utility personnel in the absence of the chief steward. He/she is a working supervisor and normally collects the carts, room service trays, and cafeteria dishes. He/she scraps and stacks dishes and racks up glasses. They also make the coffee, fill up ice trucks, rack ice, and mop up spilled fluids. They distribute clean silverware in their proper storage area.

Dishwashers are responsible for cleaning and feeding the stacked dishes into the dish washing machine, to pull out the washed and dried dishes from the machine and stack them into carts, and to run the glasses and silver utensils through the glass machine.

Pot men clean all pots used by kitchen. During slack periods, they empty the kitchen garbage.

Ware men clear, polish, and burnish all silver flatware and hollow ware. During slack periods they clear all copperware.

Scullery men are responsible for the wash up of metal kitchen vessels and implements. The kitchen scullery is known as plonge, and the scullery man as the plongeur.

Night duty stewards: The peak workload occurs at different sections at different times during the work shift; therefore, the related stewards in each section pitch in and help each other under the directions of the supervisor on duty.

Benefits of Kitchen Stewarding

The management of any catering operations cannot be complete without the function of cleaning, rearranging the utensils for next operations, and proper inventory of the stock. Earlier all these activities were either performed by the food production staff or by food and beverage service staff. In the wake of increasing pressure on maintaining quality of food or quality of service, and low prestige associated with dish washing as a task, there was demand for setting up a new department for all cleaning task, inventory control of all equipment, garbage disposal, etc.

The kitchen stewarding department thus came into in existence. Its inception has helped the hotel and catering industry the following ways:

Meeting the requirements of the food and beverage department

The kitchen stewarding play a vital role in maintaining the highest levels of hygiene and sanitation standards, which spells success for the hotel and catering property.

Conserving input material and energy or cost reduction

The installation of large efficient cleaning equipment operated by technically skilled people of the department contributes in great measure to saving cost inputs maintenance of equipment as also the presentation of items.

Enhancing image and market share of the hotel property and competitive advantage 

The presence of a dedicated skilled staff for maintaining the best standards of cleanliness and hygiene contribute towards enhancing the brand image of a property, and also provides a competitive edge to it.

Checklist of Key Heavy Duty Equipment

Keeping the equipment spick and span and clean not only contributes towards cleanliness and hygiene, which in turn contributes to ensuring the making of good and healthy food. Maintenance of equipment results in its efficient working as also lower consumption of energy. But all this heavy physical activity is largely mechanized and done with the help of huge
machines, and a range of chemical agents and cleansers

Common Cleansing Products (Agents) Used in the Hotel Industry


1. Automatic dish washing machine
2. Ice cube machine
3. Glass cleaning machine
4. High pressure spray cleaner
5. Floor scrubbing machine
6. Mobile Bain Marie
7. Auto lift
8. Racks
9. Loaders (all sizes)
10. Warming cabinet
11. Three sinks dish washing
12. Silver polishing machine
13. Dish landing table
14. Garbage container

Coordination with Kitchen and Other Departments/Sections

Coordination is of great importance not only between the various service staff members but also between them and the kitchen staff. It requires proper layout of the kitchen that would facilitate systematic and easy pickup of food by the waiter/waitress. Pickup areas should be clearly defined; and entrance and exits should be laid out to establish a standard format for traffic flow. In many hotels, a buffer zone is provided between the service and preparation staff by having a side man, mostly the chef, who remits all orders to the cooks.

Layout of stewarding department

Here is a sample of a daily sanitation schedule for the kitchen area

After Each Use and at the End of the Day
The things and areas in the kitchen that need to be washed, rinsed, and sanitized after each use include:
1. Preparation areas.
2. Tilt skillet.
3. Rotisserie skewers and the tines. These also need to be degreased at the end of the day.
4. Slicers and stand.
5. Three-compartment sinks.

After Every Four Hours there are also some areas in the kitchen as well as kitchen items that need to be washed, rinsed, and sanitized. These are as follows:
a. Counters, especially the prep area counters. They should also be washed, rinsed, and sanitized in between products.
b. In-use utensils. Like the counters, they should also be washed, rinsed, and sanitized in between products.
c. Scales. They should also be washed, rinsed, and sanitized between each use.
d. Hand sink handles.
e. Ice carriers.
f. In-use wiping cloths. Be sure to place them in their appropriate linen bag before they are sent to the laundered.
g. Knife holders.

Some areas and kitchen equipments that need to be washed and wiped clean all throughout the shift and as needed include:
1. Front doors.
2. Pizza oven.
3. Floors.

Before and After Each Shift

Each stewarding department shift should make it a point that all these areas are taken care of before and after each shift:
a. Bathroom mirrors should be spotlessly clean.
b. Bathroom should be restocked with hand soap as well as paper towels.
c. Hand sink areas should be washed, rinsed, and sanitized.

At the End of the Day

Before closing the restaurant, here are the areas in the kitchen and kitchen items that the stewarding department needs to address:
1. Bathroom equipments and surfaces, including the bathroom floor and tiles as well as bathroom mirrors.
2. Condiment containers need to be washed, rinsed, and sanitized.
3. Cooling racks.
4. Dish racks.
5. Drain covers.
6. Freezers.
7. Ice-cream dipper well.
8. Mixer base and exterior.
9. Pizza oven.
10. Pizza oven tiles.
11. Product storage containers and bins.
12. Rotisserie, its holding drawers, and its exteriors.
13. Walk-in freezers and chillers.
14. Dry storage areas.
15. Mops and brushes. These should be washed, rinsed, sanitized, and hung upside down so as to allow the excess liquid to drip down and for the mops and brushes to dry.
16. Exterior premises of the restaurant

Garbage disposal - Among the many duties of the stewarding department is the proper disposal of garbage and other waste materials. This is very important because one of the responsibilities of the kitchen steward department is to maintain the cleanliness of the restaurant kitchen in order to safeguard the health of its diners. A dirty kitchen can ruin the reputation
of a restaurant, however good its name may be.

Proper Location of the Garbage Area

The garbage area should be situated far from where the food and ingredients are kept. In fact, it should never be situated near the vicinity of the food production area where food is usually prepared. It should also be kept well away from the cooking area so as to avoid contaminating the food with anything harmful to the body.

Common Guidelines in Proper Garbage Disposal

Each restaurant has its own guideline for proper garbage disposal that its Stewarding Department uses. However, here are some of the most common ones that restaurants and their kitchens should follow. Garbage bins should be placed in all parts of the kitchen, except those mentioned above, and these garbage bins should be lined with plastic liners. The stewarding department has to clear the garbage bins at least four times a day so as to avoid piling up of garbage, and the garbage and
waste materials should be transferred to its appropriate garbage trolleys. Of course, the plastic liners should always be changed each time the garbage bin is cleared. When it comes to proper garbage disposal, you should always make it a point that you are wearing disposable gloves so as to protect your bare hands from coming into contact with the garbage. You should also make sure that the opening of the garbage bin plastic liner is tied shut. After disposing of the garbage bags properly, it is recommended that you thoroughly wash and sanitize your hands before moving on to the next task. This is very important especially if you are going to be working near the food preparation area or working with food products it.

Dry Versus Wet Garbage

Before anything else though, the kitchen stewards assigned to garbage disposal should know the difference between dry and wet garbage. In a nutshell, dry garbage materials are those items that can be recycled. They are inorganic materials such as plastic, papers, cardboard boxes, etc. When it comes to dry garbage materials, the kitchen stewards should also know how to properly segregate the items. Plastic items should have one container, and so do cardboard boxes, glasses, papers, etc. On the other hand, wet garbage materials are the organic items that can be decomposed and used for fertilizer.

It is very important that the restaurant has appropriate guidelines when it comes to garbage disposal. Not only will these guidelines prevent the contamination of food with harmful substances, but this will also protect the diners as well as the staff from these harmful substances. Remember, dirty kitchen increases the risk of food poisoning, so preventing this is one of the biggest and most important duties of the stewarding department.

The kitchen stewarding is basically divided into two areas:

a) Wash up area -

It is an important service area and should be ideally situated so that the brigade can work speedily and efficiently while passing from the food service area to the kitchen. The waiter should stack the trays of dirties correctly at the side board with all the same sized plates together and all the tableware stacked on one of the plates with the blades of the knives running under the arch of the forks. All glassware should be stacked on separate trays and taken to a separate wash up area. Wash up section should be the first place when the waiter enters the back area. Hygiene is of utmost importance at the wash up area, as all sorts of germs can originate from here and can contaminate the food. This section is normally in the charge of the stewarding supervisor who may in turn have number of wash up boys as per need.

Dishwashing Methods:

There are two main methods used for dishwashing for foodservice operations-

1. Manual (tank) method - The dirty crockery is placed in a tank of hot water containing a soap detergent solution. After washing, these are placed in wire racks and dipped into a second sterilizing tank containing clean hot water at a temperature of approximately 75˚C (179˚F). The racks are left for two minutes and then lifted out and the crockery left to drain. If sterilized in water at this temperature the crockery will dry by itself without the use of drying up cloths. This is more hygienic. After drying the crockery is stacked into piles of the correct size and placed on shelves until required for further use. 

2. Dishwashing machine - Most commercial and welfare catering sectors use washing machines to wash service equipment. Washing machines of different efficiencies, sizes, and cost are available, allowing operators to select according to their need and budget. These machines save labour and time and ensure sterilized service equipment

The three main types of machines are:

1. Spray type: Dishes are neatly stacked in racks which slide into the machines where they are sprayed with hot water and detergents (48°C-60°C) from above and below. The rack then moves to the sterilization section where the dishes are subjected to a hot water shower (of 82°C). Dishes sterilized at this temperature dry quickly when passed out into the air.

2. Brush type: Dishes are scrubbed in hot detergent water (48°C-60°C) with revolving brushes. Then they are rinsed and sterilized in another section of the machine.

3. Agitator water machines: In this method, baskets of dishes are immersed in deep tanks and cleaned by mechanical agitation in hot detergent water (48°C-60°C). The baskets are given a final hot water rinse for sanitization (82°C).

These machines are usually operated by two people, one to sort soiled items and feed the machine and the other to collect the clean ware. It is important to follow the instructions of the manufacturer with regard to use and maintenance of the washing machine. Great care should be taken while washing glassware. There is a wide range of glass washing machines
available used in larger establishments. Debris should be removed from the crockery before it is placed into the wire racks. The racks are then passed through the machine, the crockery being washed, rinsed and sterilized. Having passed through the machine the crockery is left to drain for two or three minutes and is then stacked and placed on shelves until required for further use.

b) Silver room/ plate room -

In larger establishments the silver room or the plate room, as it is sometimes known, is a separate service area controlled by the kitchen stewarding supervisor. They take care of all the silverwares and the china wares stored in the silver room and are also responsible for silver polishing. The silver room should hold the complete stock of silverware required by the
different department to meet the day to day requirements along with a surplus stock in case of emergency. While stacking, large silver ware, like salver, flat platter etc. should be stored on shelves. When stacking heavier items should go on the shelves lower down and smaller and lighter items on the shelves higher up to prevent accidents. Flatware and cutlery should be kept in drawers lined with baize cloth to prevent them from moving about in the drawer and getting scratched or marked.

The burnishing machine - It consists of a revolving drum half filled with small ball bearings. It may be divided into compartments to hold silver articles of particular kinds. The silver to be cleaned is placed inside the drum, which is then half filled with water and a certain amount of special detergent and closed tightly. The machine is switched on and slowly rotated for about 10 minutes. As the drum revolves, the mixture of water and detergent acts as a lubricant between the silver and ball bearings and gently removes any tarnish on the silver without leaving any scratches. The silver should be thoroughly rinsed and dried manually after removing from the drum. The drum is lined with rubber to avoid any damage to the silver during the cleaning process. This method is not suitable for cleaning forks and knives as the prongs of forks are not cleaned properly and continuous use may damage the cutting edge of knives.

The polivit method - The polivit plate, which is made of aluminium, is placed in a container together with washing soda. The silver to be cleaned is placed in such a way that at least one piece of silver is in contact with the polivit. Piping hot water is poured to cover the silver. Chemical action of soda and aluminium removes the tarnish. After a few minutes, the article is thoroughly rinsed in boiling water and wiped dry with a clean cloth. This method is suitable for large pieces of silver such as salvers, trays, entree dishes, jugs, etc.

The plate powder – Tins method is ideal for articles that cannot be cleaned by the above method; typical items cleaned by this method are cruets, toast rack, parts of trolley, etc. The articles to clean must be free from grease. Plate powder, which is pink in colour, is mixed with spirit and sobbed over die surface of article to remove tarnish. If spirit is not available, water may be used, once the paste has dried, it is rubbed with a clean piece of cloth. A small brush may be used remove the paste that may have lodged into the engravings. It is then rinsed well in hot water and dried with clean cloth. This method demands more time and labour. Readily available metal may be used to clean articles in the same way.

Silver dip - The silver to be cleaned is kept in a wire basket and immersed in the silver dip, which is a pink-coloured liquid. It is left in the solution for a very short period, removed, rinsed in warm water, and wiped dry with clean cloth. This method is quick but may damage the silver due to chemical reaction between silver and solution.

Quick dip method - This method is quick and simple to follow. Hot water, crushed aluminium foil, lemon juice, and salt are placed in a container and stirred. The tarnished silver is dipped in this solution for about 2-3 minutes. The chemical reaction removes the tarnish. Silver is removed, rinsed in hot water, and wiped dry. Stainless steel is cleaned with a detergent product specially meant for it and treated with de-liming agent once a week to prevent build up of haze and
film on the surface. It is a solution of low foam acid detergent designed to remove lime scale, iron stains, and other tough deposits of hard water. The plate room is controlled by the head plate room man who is assisted by skilled and semi-skilled staff.


Storeroom, cellar, and kitchen stewarding department are very essential to a catering organization and there is a vital link between receiving, storing, and issuing of stocks. More often than not these activities are found neglected. If properly and professionally managed, these departments can go a long way in helping a facility build its name while contributing towards cost reduction in more ways than one. The staff responsible for functioning of a store must be qualified and have excellent knowledge about food and beverage commodities and he/she should be carefully selected and trained for the job. Physical facilities must be such that they contribute to efficiency and ensure efficacy in the performance of these functions. The functions of a storeroom and cellar are not only to store food or beverage items but also to control the department in coordination with the kitchen stewarding department. Various types of food commodities and beverages require special handling to maintain quality. Good storeroom practices and procedures help in generating revenue.

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