If you’re cooking, and that means professionally or even casually as an amateur, you want to control your environment as much as possible. Chaos in the kitchen leads to bad timing and poorly cooked dinners, so as the person in charge, you have to give yourself the best chance of creating the best meal under the current circumstances.
So, if you have any opportunity at all to, make sure you handle your cooking environment by taking care of things like air conditioning, proper ventilation, preparation surfaces, making sure all of your tools are at the ready, and ensuring that there aren’t too many cooks in the kitchen. With those things in proper order, your meal quality will then depend on your recipes and your skills, rather than your cooking environment.
Cooking involves heat. And too much heat, makes you miserable. So especially if you’re in a warm climate already, make sure that your house, and thereby your kitchen, has a good air conditioning system in place. Untold billions of meals have been ruined because overheated cooks have suffered in their kitchens, simply because the A/C wasn’t working properly. Don’t let this happen to you!
If you’re using a stove, make sure you have proper ventilation. Your two major types of vent systems are going to be ones where the hot and greasy air get sucked up and out of the building completely, or just sucked up through a filter and recycled back into your main kitchen. Either way works with the right vent system, but in both cases, you need high enough powered fans and filters that are either new or cleaned regularly.
Separate Preparation Surfaces
A good chunk of controlling your environment is going to be controlling your preparation surfaces, and that means absolutely keeping meat and veggie prep separate. You should not be using the same cutting boards for different categories of food. This can lead to contamination that in some cases can make you truly sick. Ahead of time, make sure your cutting boards are prepared accordingly.
Tools At the Ready
And in addition to your food prep surfaces, you should make sure you have all of your tools ready ahead of time as well. This means knives, plates, bowls, and any appliances you may need. If you want to keep your environment controlled, you have to have everything you possibly need set before you need it, and not run around looking for it as you’re cooking.
Too Many Cooks In the Kitchen
And finally, for the sake of control, make sure you avoid the ‘too many cooks in the kitchen’ syndrome. If you’re cooking, you’re in charge. You don’t need people helping you, unless you specifically are asking for their help. Kick everyone out of the kitchen if you have to, but maintain your personal food chain of command for best results.