Top 15 Ways to Cook Well in a Small Kitchen

in Press Releases

ROCKLAND, Maine—When you prepare gourmet meals for 30 people three times a day, a well-organized kitchen is vital. But what if that kitchen is tiny and has only about three feet of counter space? That’s what Annie Mahle, chef and owner/operator of the Schooner J. & E. Riggin works with all summer long.

 “I can stand in one place and touch the sink, the countertop and the stove without moving an inch,” Mahle says of the floating bed-and-breakfast’s galley.

 Cooking on board has resulted in a sure-fire approach to organization and space-saving tips that she has perfected over 25 years, says Mahle, who trained at the Culinary Institute of America and is the author of two cookbooks, Sugar & Salt: A Year at Home and at Sea and At Home, At Sea.

“I am not by nature a terribly organized person, but part of cooking well requires that you be organized, think ahead, have all your ingredients on hand and prepared before you start cooking. This takes a level of stress away and also insures more consistent success,” she says. “Don’t let space be the reason you forgo making fantastic, healthy food for yourself.”

Here Mahle’s Top 15 Small-Space Cooking Tips, relevant for any small kitchen on land or at sea.

  1. Organization is the key to small space cooking.
  2. Read recipes ahead of time. 
  3. Prep all ingredients ahead of time.
  4. Place a cutting board on top of the sink to create more counter space.
  5. Use the sink or corners of the sink (if it’s stainless) to place hot pots temporarily.
  6. Stack same-sized bowls of prepared ingredients that are waiting to be used. 
  7. Stack roasting pans that are cooling or waiting to go into the oven.
  8. Use table space as extra counter space.
  9. Clear the counter of all equipment you are not using.
  10. Clean as you go.
  11. Reuse the same bowl rather than two or three consecutively.
  12. If you have a split sink, use one side to wash and the other side to dry.
  13. Challenge yourself to use fewer dishes per recipe.
  14. Finish one thing before beginning another.
  15. Take advantage of when the oven is already on and bake or roast more than one thing at a time.

The J. & E. Riggin was named one of the Top Ten Places to have Dinner With a View in Maine by Yankee Magazine. Mahle’s recipes have been featured on the Today Show and highlighted by dozens of national media outlets including the Food Network and Traditional Home Magazine. In the off-season she writes a food column for the Portland Press Herald, titled The Maine Ingredient, and she also writes a recipe and lifestyle blog at

Mahle’s latest cookbook, Sugar & Salt: A Year at Home and at Sea, a collection of recipes, along with crafts, thoughts and stories from her hilarious, sometimes frenetic life aboard her schooner off the coast of Maine, is available in local Maine shops and directly online at For more information on the J. & E. Riggin and the cruises offered please visit


Photo Credit–Elizabeth Poisson


Media Contact:

Angie Helton, Northeast Media Associates




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