How to Say “Yes, Chef” During Your Next Creative Project
Smoke billows from the frying pan. A burning stench permeates our apartment. The smoke detector incessantly bleats from around the corner.
Am I guest-starring on an episode of Worst Cooks in America?
Nope! It’s just another weekday evening as I attempt to cook dinner.
More often than not, most attempts at cooking devolve into some version of the above thanks to one simple truth:
I’m inpatient as hell.
Instead of prepping the ingredients beforehand and organizing them into tiny, matching bowls, I tend to go with, “Fuck it!” and dive right in.
Some people have an innate ability to make this approach work in the kitchen. As you can now guess, I am not one of them.
As a young adult (I use that term very loosely) who freelanced right out of college, I used to take the same approach with both my client work and personal projects.
More often than not, I would immediately jump right into the “anything is possible” phase without giving anything else a second thought, shunning things like guidelines, constraints, or you know, an overall strategy.
It took far longer into my career than I care to admit to finally create some amount of structure and process around organizing the chaos that inevitably comes with the beginning of a new project.
It wasn’t until I saw the recent smash hit The Bear that I learned about a cooking term called “mise en place,” a fancy French phrase meaning “putting in place” or “gather.”
These three words are the very reason why I don’t particularly enjoy cooking unless it’s with one of those meal prep plans that send you everything ready to go.
I may not apply this idea of “mise en place” in the kitchen, but over the years, I’ve learned to slow the hell down and use it with my work, both for clients and on my own.
Now, whenever I sit down to start a new project, my first step is to gather a few things. Here’s a breakdown of the initial “ingredients” I gather to make any project run smoother: