How Do I Find My Flow In The Kitchen?
Updated: Mar 8
I’ve just returned from a weekend in Nashville where I had the incredible opportunity to cook in a lovely professional kitchen in which I was welcomed with open arms by the chefs, cooks, dishwashers and all of the staff. It was a treat to experience an effective kitchen that was simultaneously both a well-oiled machine and a peaceful, space of hospitality — a rare and precious combo.
There is a “flow state” that occurs in a professional kitchen as a chef. It’s similar to anyone in their craft. If you’ve found that “flow” in your own profession, you know exactly what I’m talking about. After cooking in so many home kitchens over the past two years, it was rejuvenating to jump back into that commercial “flow” state ... which got me thinking, how do I share that flow-state with you? With other home cooks? How can you make cooking in your kitchen a smoother and more effective process?
As a personal chef with commercial experience, here are a few of my non-negotiable elements to a well-designed kitchen.
1) Place your trashcan(s) wisely
You should have a trash can near you at all times. If I’m in a kitchen that is not designed with a bin next to the sink and/or stove, I either place my cutting board right next to the trash bin or I take the bin out and carry it with me to wherever I’m working within the kitchen. Again, so much time is lost between the back and forth of pacing in the kitchen.
2) Think about the architectural blueprint of your kitchen
If you’re buying a new home or if you ever have the opportunity to design your own kitchen, the smaller the better. Yes. You read that right!! It’s a new trend to be obsessed with huge kitchens. Don’t get me wrong, it’s beyond fabulous to have space to host and party, but trust me, you don’t need as large of a kitchen as you might be tempted to want. Otherwise you will be pacing between stations and cabinets and pantries for the majority of your time in the kitchen. I’ve had many clients with beautifully expansive kitchens, but my favorite of all time are the modest sized kitchens designed so that you can access the stove, sink and trash all within one or two strides of each other.
3) Get rid of any and all unnecessary and silly gadgets
We’re unarguably in an age of capitalism pushing the motto “more is more”. But if Marie Kondo hasn’t proved it yet, let me regurgitate less is better! So many home cabinets I open are filled to the brim with extra tools, bowls, platters, and gadgets. This overflow slows down your cooking process so that every time you need something from a drawer or cabinet, you’re having to remove other items or be extra careful as to not knock over the excess kitchenware to reach the one you want. A lot of people complain about how they don’t like cooking, but like any other problem in life you should ask yourself if you don’t like the act of cooking? Or is it the steps getting in your way from cooking smoothly and efficiently that you don’t like?
This is applicable for most of life, but seek to eliminate as many in-between steps and unnecessary processes that may be hindering your process of creating smoother and simpler habits in the kitchen.
So do yourself a favor and get rid of whatever you have not used in the past year. Granted, you may have a random fondue pot that you’re holding onto for the occasional evening. If you insist, I’ll permit you to keep it! But all those silly gadgets that you bought off of Instagram, for the sake of your own sanity, let’s get rid of that thing that just sits in your drawer without ever seeing the day of light.
4) Find your joy
Sounds cheesy, but yes, find your joy. Trust me, I get why some of you all don’t like cooking, or purely don’t even have the capacity. If you feel obliged to cook it’s easy to no longer enjoy it. The same goes if you’re stuck making the same dishes over and over or if you are experiencing pure burnout from always being the one putting dinner on the table. This goes for me too. Almost every other month, “I think what am I doing? Do I really have to make another frittata? Is this salad even yummy?”.
In order to avoid these lulls in creativity, I’ve learned to treat baking as my culinary passion. To remain excited about what I do and to feed my artistic soul, I allow (and sometimes force) myself to bake something fun every week. So wherever you are in your culinary journey, I encourage you to omit the hurdles in your way from finding joy in and around the kitchen. If it means you have to bake more, bake. If it means you need to buy pre-minced veggies and garlic so that your’e not spending so much time preparing your mise-en-place, buy them. If it means your kids need to clean the dishes so that you don’t have to, make them clean. Or if means hiring a private chef every now and then, hire them! You won’t regret it.
Now let's get cooking.
I hope you found this brief article helpful. Please comment below or reach out with any questions you might have of your own at email@example.com!
xoxo & bon appétit