When I talk to people about what I do they are often amazed at how much food my team and I are able to calmly and efficiently prepare and serve to each wedding, week after week, year after year. Unfortunately many of you are daunted by entertaining at home, or even stepping outside your comfort zone of regular dinner options.
That’s why I want to share a few tips from my experience in commercial kitchens catering to functions big and small, that you can use to make you a more confident and calm cook in your home.
1 – For the Love of Food
First I want you to think about why you’re cooking. I’ve made cooking and functions my life because I love every aspect of it, from creating menus, choosing ingredients and presenting beautiful dishes, to sharing these special experience with my clients, and presenting a meal which reflects their tastes. Remember to put the love and care you have for the family or friends you’re cooking for in the front of your mind when you’re preparing your dishes and it will be reflected in the end result.
2 – Stay Calm
I know how hard it is to stay calm when things seem out of control, I also know how little it helps to have someone tell you to stay calm, but I’m going to tell you anyway because being calm is an important part of enjoying time in your kitchen. Just remember that you’re cooking for loved ones and they’re still going to love you if your dish doesn’t look exactly like the picture in the cookbook, or you had to substitute an ingredient because you couldn’t find the one called for in the recipe.
3 – Clean Your Work Space
One of the biggest differences you will notice between a commercial kitchen and yours at home is the amount of clear space. As soon as a dish, a bowl, a chopping board or a knife isn’t being used anymore it’s cleared away, washed and back in its rightful place ready for when it’s needed again. Following this routine in your kitchen will help you stay organised because you’ll have everything you needs and are using at arm’s length, and no obstacles to negotiate in your cooking and prep.
4 – Timing and Planning
It is also invaluable to me to have all of my tasks timed and scheduled when I’m catering to a function big or small. You can do this at home too by creating a running sheet including prep and cooking time for each dish you’re serving, and schedule those times to when your guests are arriving and when you want to serve. I’m never without a pen and paper, especially in the kitchen because it is such a busy place, but if I write down everything that needs to be done or things that occur to me in the process, I don’t ever risk forgetting them in the rush.
Food has a wonderful ability to bring people together, and all of our life’s major events focus on a meal, a favourite dish or sitting around the table with loved ones, and using my tips you can make your kitchen a calm and happy place to be too.
Until next time.