Kitchen Rules for Life 1/2

Kitchen life, as crazy as it is, is full of unwritten rules such as don’t use someone else’s knife without a permission. However, there are some kitchen rules that can be applied in our everyday life, even though you have nothing to do with the work in the kitchen.  

Be prepared.

Not only in the kitchen, but in life, those who build up the skills for success, who are not afraid of trying something new, run through the potential scenarios and prepare for them, are the ones who tend to succeed. 

If you have time to lean, you have time to clean.

In the kitchen, there is always something to clean and even though the line cook finished the whole preparation for the service and thinks that now is the time to relax a little, well….  wrong…. In the kitchen you don’t usually stop until you finish your shift. And if the chef sees you leaning around, then you are in for a good round of cleaning. In everyday life, it is perfectly fine to have some time for relaxation, but don’t waste too much time on it, there are always things to do.

Everything should be in its place. 

In the kitchen, if something is missing and you spend 3 minutes to look for it, well those are the 3 minutes that you do not have. It means you will have to work even faster and harder to catch up with the prep. Life just gets so much easier when you know where to look for something, if it is always in the same place. 

Clean as you go.

It is hard to clean the kitchen only if the cooks do not clean as they go. The mess just piles up and sometimes even a shovel can’t help you out. Clean as you go, and you won’t have to spend much time on cleaning at all. 

Do not rearrange another person’s furniture.

One of the most important things in the kitchen is to respect the setup and mise en place. Everything on the cook’s station is in that place for a reason. We set up our stations the exact same way every time we work. It is impaired in our memory and it helps us to move faster, to deliver the best quality food and the fastest service. Any disturbance and allocation in the station setup will result in chaos and unnecessary stress. Cooks do not appreciate when chefs come in ‘to help’ and move their setup around. This organizational respect applies to any professional environment. 

Help other and other will help you.

There is a saying ‘teamwork makes it dream work’ for a reason. In the kitchen, work load is not distributed evenly among all the staff members. Hot section might get hit with 20 orders while cold section only has 3. It is very important to help others if they get slammed. Help is always remembered in the kitchen and it always comes back when you need it. Teamwork makes it dream work, as they say. But if you are disrespectful and ignorant, well… be prepared to get the same in return. 

Don’t run out of mise en place.

In the kitchen, running out of your prep is the kiss of death. Everything only goes downhill from there. Rule for life – if you prepare for something, do it properly and think ahead.

Your nose does not lie.

If something smells off, it probably is. If the fish smells fishy, it is not fresh. If something smells rotten, it cannot be brought back to life. Do not underestimate what your nose is telling you and never put someone else’s health at risk to save a buck.

Sharp knife is safe knife.

A sharp knife will cut through almost everything without an effort, whereas a dull knife will require more pressure, it may slip and most likely aim for your fingers. Lesson for life – respect your tools. 

Water and oil do not mix.

Add some water to a hot oil and it will splash in every direction. This is one of the causes for the main kitchen injuries- burns. Also, most of the liquids won’t stay together with oil without some emulsifying agent. Some things just do not mix and that is for everything in life. 

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