River Kitchen Geometry
There is a constant debate among guides about how to set tables up in the kitchen. On the average commercial rafting trip, there are three tables. A table for preparing and serving the food, a table for the stove, and a dish table.
On some beaches, there is an option to attach the dish drying hammock to the table and then the tree, perfect for keeping the flow of the dish washing. A lot of times, it has to go underneath the dish table, great for strengthening rafters backs, but a little less sanitary. This decision of where to put the dish hammock is one consideration to help you decide what shape to set the tables up in.
Other questions to ask yourself when trying to decide the shape are:
- How can the space available for a kitchen be used to the maximum efficiency?
- Where can we have the best views?
- Do I want to be an audience or have an audience?
After much thought and consideration, here are some of my favorite options.
This is a go to shape for less thinking.
- Advantages: the chefs do not have to walk as far to get to the other tables, can work on the outside of the tables to ignore the rest of the group
- Disadvantages: only one way in and out, might feel a little claustrophobic
The Power L
Most guides will tell you this is their favorite.
- Advantages: dish hammock placement, guides can place the long end of the L towards the guests and show off their top chef cooking skills, space for dance parties while cooking, trash island in the middle</li<
- Disadvantages: most guides will tell you there are none
An unconventional but viable option.
- Advantages: chefs have the ability to work on the outside of the tables and heckle the chefs on the inside, fits in small kitchen spaces
- Disadvantages: the person working at the middle table may feel stuck, can be awkward to serve from
Great for COVID-19.
- Advantages: the person at the island table can easily practice social distancing, great for hilly kitchens
- Disadvantages: requires more walking to and from the island table
The Domino Effect
When you want to make a “chef competition show” style kitchen.
- Advantages: chefs can turn their backs on eachother and hide their cooking secrets, can use the full space of all the tables since they are not touching
- Disadvantages: requires lots of walking between all the tables, need a large space to set up this kitchen
The Long Line
Perfect for those long, skinny, beaches.
- Advantages: chefs can all be looking at the river while they cook, chefs can put on a show for the chair circle
- Disadvantages: the space must be long enough for a line of tables, chefs may feel stuck on one side
Ultimately, the choice is yours, but do not make the wrong one or you might not be allowed back in the kitchen...