Dry towel / wet towel
Dry towel is for handling hot pots and pans and wet towel in a sanitizing solution is for cleaning. Use the right tool for everything and don’t mix them up!
Sneakers are not kitchen shoes
Sneakers might be very comfortable to wear, but it will not protect your feet from sharp objects, heat and long hours of standing. Kitchen shoes won’t let you slip. If the knife falls on your foot, it will make sure that you still have all of your toes attached to the foot. They are designed for long hours of standing to reduce the stress on your feet. It is usually well ventilated, so you won’t accidently kill your co-workers when you take of your shoes in the changing room. Minimize the risk when possible.
Make sure the pan is hot
If there is a way to success, follow the steps and don’t take the shortcuts, which will lead to unacceptable results. Hot pan, when cooking, result in beautiful caramelization of the meat, the fish doesn’t stick to the pan and your food gets a beautiful color and flavor. Some things can’t be rushed and takes patience.
Adjust the seasoning and taste everything
When I started working in the kitchen, I was very scared to over-season the food, so in most cases I under-seasoned it. One of the chefs I worked with said to me, go with what you feel + one additional pinch of salt. After that day, he never said that my food was under or over-seasoned. He also taught me to taste everything: raw, cooked, seasoned and unseasoned, to understand how the flavors work. Don’t be scared to try something new and remember that even small changes make a lot of difference.
If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?
Unless you do it right, don’t do it at all. I have seen a number of attempts of cutting corners in the kitchen and none of them end up well. Customer complaints, chef’s anger explosion and unnecessary stress. Every minute in the kitchen matters, so make sure not to waste your time on do-overs. Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all.
Listen more, talk less
I have seen hundreds of different people in the kitchen. Some like to talk a lot, mostly of how good they are and that they know everything, but their performance shows otherwise and some only say ‘yes, chef’ and collect all the information they can around them. The cooks with ‘listen more and talk less’ mentality tend to be a lot better. After all, it is hard to hear something over your own voice.
On time is 15 minutes early
In the kitchen world you have to think and do almost everything ahead. If you have everything done 15 minutes early (not talking about cooking all your meats ahead) you are on the road to success. Less stress and more confidence come with this 15 minutes rule. I apply it to almost everything in life.
Attention: planning ahead may cause less problems, better results and great working atmosphere.
Doctors say, we are not drinking enough water on the daily basis. Working in the kitchen, where temperatures get really high, it is critical to keep that water going into your body. Line cooks (especially those working on the grill section) would agree that the best way to hydrate yourself is water. So would everybody else I guess…
Lift with your knees, not your back
Be smart and always lift with your knees, not your back. It doesn’t matter if you work in the kitchen and have to stand for around 14 hours a day, or if you are a housewife cleaning around or doing some gardening. Protect your back and you will be thankful when you’re old.
All the greatest minds in the world would agree that the most important thing in order to succeed is focus. Do not get distracted.