For many of us, cooking is less relaxing than it should be, we rush the process and often find ourselves dreading meal preparation. But, Jarrad Grigg from MenuZen has tips to remedy the chaos when it comes to cooking.
You don’t have to be a professional chef to know how stressful cooking can be. For many of us, it can be pretty overwhelming to follow complicated recipes or to measure everything out precisely, creating a whole lot of anxiety.
Kitchens get messy fast too, and this can increase anxiety. When you have a crowded kitchen, with lots of clutter, noise, and are rushing to get dinner ready, everything is chaos.
With it being Mental Health Awareness week, we’ve asked hospitality expert Jarrad Grigg from MenuZen.com to share some industry secrets on how professional chefs stay calm in the kitchen.
Having A Calmer Kitchen
Having a calm kitchen is not just about the feng shui of the room, but how you approach cooking. Jarrad Grigg has great tips on how you can approach cooking with a calmer mind, and use aesthetics to generate a more relaxing environment in the kitchen.
“You can use all of these tips at home, and you’ll feel stress-free in no time!” says Jarrad. “Remember though that when it comes to cooking, you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to be perfect every time. Keep practicing and soon you’ll see why many people love to cook!”
Top Tips for a Stress-Free Kitchen
- Designate a Happy Zone: Your kitchen should be your happy place. Decorate it in a way that makes you feel happy and calm. Use scents like lavender or vanilla, which are known to soothe the nerves.
- Culinary Mindfulness: Practice mindfulness by focusing on the task at hand and being in the moment. Whether you’re chopping vegetables or stirring a pot, concentrate on the colors, textures, sounds, and aromas. This can help you stay focused and less anxious about the final result.
- Embrace the Mistakes: Understand that not every dish will be perfect, and that’s okay. The beauty of cooking is in the learning process. Don’t let the fear of failure deter you from experimenting and improving.
- Organize Before You Start: Take a few minutes to read through the recipe, gather your ingredients, and prep as much as you can ahead of time. This technique, called mise en place, will make the cooking process much smoother.
- Playlist Power: Listening to your favorite calming music while cooking can help reduce stress. Music has a profound effect on our mood, and having background tunes can make your kitchen experience more enjoyable.
- Slow Cook, Low Stress: Try recipes that require slower cooking techniques, like braising or slow-roasting. These methods often have less intensive prep work and provide time for you to relax or do other things while your meal cooks.
- Kitchen Gadgets are Your Allies: Invest in some useful kitchen gadgets. Tools like food processors, mandolins, or slow cookers can simplify tasks and make cooking less daunting.
- Get Inspired: Watch calming cooking shows or read cookbooks from chefs you admire. Not only will you learn new techniques, but you’ll also begin to see cooking as an enjoyable, creative process.
- Cook for the Love of it: Remind yourself that cooking is an act of love and creativity, not just a chore. Making a meal, even a simple one, can be a deeply rewarding experience.
What To Take Away From Jarrad’s Tips!
When we approach cooking in a rush, and dinnertime becomes a chore, Jarrad reminds us that inspiration and reigniting your love for cooking are key to making it more enjoyable. Use gadgets, and allow yourself time to enjoy slower cooking while you get chores done.
Practicing mindfulness, and allowing your kitchen to be your meditation space is also key, just as much as being able to embrace any culinary mistakes you make.
Remember, the goal is not to become a Michelin-star chef overnight. It’s about finding peace and enjoyment in the process of creating a meal. The more you cook, the more comfortable you’ll become, and the less stress you’ll feel.
Allow the meal preparation and cooking to become a relaxing peaceful time for you. The more relaxed you are, the more delicious the food will taste! Happy cooking.