This phase of the setup has two parts:

1. Prepare ingredients.

Mix fillings, prepare spreads, slice sandwich meats and cheeses, separate lettuce leaves, slice tomatoes, prepare garnishes, and so on. In other words, have everything ready ahead of time, so nothing is left to do but assemble the ingredients.

2. Arrange or store ingredients for maximum efficiency.

To reduce your movements to a minimum, the ideal setup has everything you need within easy reach of both hands. Depending on the kitchen layout, this may not be possible, especially if the sandwich menu is large. But try to get as close to it as possible.

Arrange ingredients so you can use both hands. For example, while the left hand reaches for the bread, the right hand reaches for the butter spreader.Then, while the right hand puts the spreader back, the left reaches for the sliced ham. The right hand, on its way back from the butter, picks up a slice of cheese and so on. On a busy sandwich station, every second counts.

Two other considerations are important while we're talking about ingredients:

1. Sanitation.

Because cold sandwiches are subjected to a lot of handling and are not cooked, it is especially important that ingredients be properly refrigerated and protected at all times. A refrigerated table—sort of a cold version of a steam table—is usually used. Refrigerated drawers or under-the-counter reach-ins are used for less frequently needed items.

Wash hands carefully and thoroughly before beginning work. In addition, be aware of local sanitation requirements. In some places, laws require that workers wear gloves when handling ready-to-eat foods (see p. 26).

2. Portion control.

Sliced items are portioned by the count and by weight. If portioning is by the count,you must take care, during pre-prep,to slice to the proper thickness. If done by weight, each portion can be placed on squares of waxed paper and stacked in a container.

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