On Cooking

This Foodie Friday, I’d like to take a moment to express my appreciation for what goes on in my kitchen.  I know for many of you, time spent there is a painful, sometimes bloody, reminder that cooking is a chore.  I don’t see it that way, and as I’m thinking about it I’m realizing that there is some business thinking that goes along with my point of view.

I love cooking.  It’s therapeutic in many ways to me.  Even though one rule in my kitchen is that an appropriate form of music is playing (as loudly as I can get away with) as I cook, it’s actually quiet.  Appropriate music, by the way, is something that corresponds to the food being cooked: zydeco when I’m cooking Cajun, country when we’re making barbecue, and the Big Night soundtrack when an Italian meal is in the offing.  Try it – your food will be better!

Back to the quiet.  Most of us have a hundred thoughts rattling around.  It’s the collateral damage of our multitasking world.  When I’m cooking, I have one focus at a time – doing my mise en place or the smells as a dish is cooking.  How often have you taken the time out of your busy business day – even 30 seconds – to do something similar?

I appreciate the physical act of cooking, just as I appreciate that I’m constantly learning, finding better ways to do things, and getting better.  I don’t like making mistakes, but I do learn from them and rarely make the same one a second time. Those are the business points too.  My cooking is improving because of experience, not because I took a few years to go to culinary school.  I have friends who did, and they’ll tell you that the reality of the restaurant kitchen is nothing like the CIA.  It’s the same with every young person, fresh out of business school.  Doing beats almost everything.

I read someplace that kitchens are where we create community, and food is all about community.  I like to think of business that way too – a community of my team, the other teams that make up our enterprise, and the customers, partners, and suppliers that make up the community as a whole.  What are your thoughts?

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Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

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