Let’s talk about cleanliness for a minute. As a person with a very strong preference towards efficiency and organization, the saying cleanliness is next to godliness feels so right to me. And while I’m fairly sure the origins of that phrase have to do with purity of body and soul, let’s just pretend for a second that we’re all talking about kitchens instead.
I’ve worked in a lot of different kitchens. Small kitchens, big kitchens, professional kitchens, personal kitchens, clean kitchens, and several really, really dirty kitchens. And the thing that I learned from all of those experiences is that in the world of cooking, cleanliness is an amazing predictor of quality food and quality service.
Nearly every fine dining establishment I’ve visited has floors that are so clean you could eat off them. From the main dining area to the service stations to the kitchen, everything is clean and organized, and service tends to be exceptionally efficient and accurate. Servers move gracefully, food is perfectly plated, and the kitchen operates like a symphony plays: independent instruments playing together to make beautiful music.
When I was in culinary school, one of the principle tenets I learned was that efficiency and organization are part of cleanliness, and the cleaner, more organized, and more efficient you operate, the better the chef you’ll be. Not only do I want to be an exceptional chef; I want to be an exceptional chef who leaves your home happier and cleaner than I found it.
My clients are inviting me into their home to design and create a great experience—and there is something incredible intimate and personal in that experience. I want them to feel comfortable having me there, and when I leave, I want them to walk into a spotless kitchen. In fact, the goal is to end my services with virtually no trace of the kitchen ever being used (by anyone!). My clients pay me to be there, in their home, using their kitchens, and I value that more than most clients know. When they close down their home at the end of an event, I want them to have a lasting impression of cleanliness.
Side Note: I’m not just talking about spraying surfaces and hanging towels back up. We clean, and we take it seriously. In fact, the cleanliness is so important to me that I’ve had clients who have called me back specifically because they feel like they get a two-for-one deal: a private chef and a cleaning crew all at once!
But cleanliness doesn’t come simply from my perfectionist tendencies towards cleaning counters and dishes and cookware. Part of cleanliness is running a kitchen that is organized: ingredients are easy to reach, prepped, and measured. Spices are within an arm’s reach. Serving plates are planned and ready. Every tool is out or in a place that’s easy to access. The other part of cleanliness is about being efficient, and there’s nothing more efficient than having a plan—and having a team who knows the plan.
If it’s just me in the kitchen, I can whirl around all I want. But when Julie, my wife, is with me, or we have other people in the cooking area, it’s critical that we’re all on the same page. An evening can be easily ruined by running into a drawer that’s left open, sending food flying. It can also be dangerous—there are hot oils to spill, dishwasher doors to trip over, dishes to break…not to mention the fact that knives are typically all over the place.
So cleanliness is a critical part of the entire experience with The At Home Chef. We are going to make an amazing display of food, but we’re also going to be clean, efficient, and organized while we do it. Your kitchen will look better than you ever thought possible. Which means that after a good meal, great wine, and The At Home Chef Experience, all that’s left for you to do is sit back, pamper yourself, and enjoy life.