For most, the kitchen is a comforting place. A place for great meals, late-night snacks, and family memories. But, for me it’s a space of constant anxiety. I am sure that my lack of food knowledge coupled with a few close calls of burning down the apartment also has a part to play in my fear.
When APEX’s Push Yourself blog challenge was introduced, stepping into the kitchen and putting my terror aside was the first thing that came to mind. My personal “dare” for this month will be to plan, prepare, and — believe it or not — cook at least three meals each week.
Though I may be a novice in the kitchen, there are some fundamental business skills I can pull for this challenge.
Like any effective campaign, the root of successful cooking comes from strategic planning. The food preparation process is the most critical part of the culinary experience. You have to make sure you:
- Have the adequate ingredient amounts
- Are aware of all cooking terminology
- Know where all things are located in the kitchen
- Have researched the flavour combinations
- And, have your emergency contact numbers close at hand (that great Chinese food restaurant down the street)
Organization and time management
Have you ever watched Top Chef? Those folks not only are juggling numerous tasks, but are on a timeline. Not all ingredients cook at the same rate, so it’s critical to multitask while cooking to ensure that all food is ready at the same time…and at the same temperature.
Willingness to try new things
One skill that really lends itself to the kitchen – as well as most things in life – is to try new things. Having both a positive and open mind when it comes to new recipes or thinking outside the box is always the key to innovation, like those strange food combos that we love so much (peanut butter and bacon).
Setting realistic goals
I can’t expect to be Gordon Ramsay after one week. Cooking is an art form, not something that will develop instantly. That is why it is important to set realistic goals for myself so that I don’t get discouraged. It’s best to be aware of your capabilities and understand that learning anything new takes time. You’re running a marathon, not a sprint.
With these skills in mind, I successfully pulled off my first gourmet dish: sausage penne with a creamy tomato vodka sauce!
One meal down, many more to go! What dish do you think I should prepare next?
Cole Douglas is our awesome new intern. Follow him on Twitter.
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