Besser's Basics: Pantry Organization


Having a clean, organized pantry is an absolute must when you are a chef. If you can’t see all of the paints in the paintbox, then you can’t make the most vibrant and creative painting you know you’re capable of. Same goes for cooking.

In NYC, space is limited, and it can be infuriating. What I would do for a gorgeous walk-in pantry where I could really see everything in my pantry and add even more items to my pantry. Alas, I have to make due with what I’ve got— which is a small cabinet.

The first thing I did in my pantry organization journey was measure my pantry cabinet. Then I thought about biggest frustration with my pantry, it’s that it is very deep so things can get lost in the back. How to solve this problem? Answer: rolling racks.

So I went on Amazon and I ordered these rolling racks. When they arrived, I worked with my amazing intern Sage to empty everything out of my pantry, wipe down the shelves, adjust the shelving height, and install the racks.

At first, I thought I’d be able to use both tiers of the racks but then I quickly realized that the height of my pantry, even if I adjusted the shelving, wouldn’t allow me to reap the benefits of both tiers, so I sacrificed one.

The next thing I did was I thought about the items that I use the most and how I could most easily access them.

Top Shelf: Place to store my equipment

Middle Shelf:

  • Oils (olive, coconut, walnut, peanut, avocado, canola)

  • Vinegars (red wine, aged balsamic, champagne, white wine, apple cider, yuzu, sherry)

  • Pastes (tomato paste, anchovy paste, red thai curry)

  • Sauces (hot sauce, raos)

  • Syrups (pomegranate, date, honey, maple, corn)

  • Cooking Wines (sherry, white, red, etc.)

  • Condiments (unopened ketchup, mayo, etc.)

  • Maldon Salt

  • Collagen Powder

  • Stocks (unopened chicken, beef, vegetable)

Bottom Shelf:

  • Grains

  • Legumes

  • Starches

  • Flours

  • Sugars

  • Nuts and Seeds

  • Dried Foods (Dried chilis, mushrooms, fruit)

Watch the full video on how I chose to organize my pantry here.

Hopefully this post inspires you to take control of the space you have and make the most of it. xx, Elena

If you want to purchase any of the equipment you see, you can find all the products on my products I love page.