Dear Jewels:  I’ve lost my cooking mojo.  Have ever lost your groove by moving into a new home?  I hate my new kitchen.  It’s a sliver of the size of my old kitchen, it has ugly tile, a crappy stove/oven, non-existant counter space, a side by side fridge that fits nothing and I swear, even the cupboards open in the wrong direction. It’s also an open floor plan, which I know is “popular” but it interferes with my ability to turn the music up and rock out while I cook. Am I being a baby? Will I eventually get used to it? SOS!!!  – Cramped and Confined

Rocking out dinner in a cramped kitchen

Rocking out dinner in a cramped kitchen

Dear Cramped and Confined: As a personal chef, I’m faced with different kitchens all the time. Some have been larger than my whole house, but there was one kitchen that I swear it was just a built-in-closet – barely room for one person to stand, let alone prepare multiple meals. During the initial consultation, I told the client I would need to spread out, so I used the dining room table for my prep space, the coffee table for cooling, and just got into my groove cooking in the small kitchen. We made it work.

protect furniture for cooling station

protect furniture before setting up prep and cooling stations outside the kitchen

Note: Be sure to cover furniture surfaces with a protective covering, and use trivets or hot pads under hot surfaces to avoid damage.

You’ll find your groove again once you throw yourself into it, and there’s no law saying you have to do all five meals in one go – try cooking more often and doing 2-3 meals at once, or double the servings and repeat those meals in heavier rotation, storing the extra servings in the freezer.

Mise en place: everything in it's place (before you start)

Mise en place: everything in it’s place (before you start cooking)

Note: when cooking in a kitchen that small – mise en place is twice as important, so get everything prepped and ready to cook in advance.

As for fridge space, I thought I was being punked when I first laid eyes on the fridge in my first London flat! It was one of those 2.4 cubic fridges Americans reserve for poolside bar, bedroom, or office! I learned to consolidate as much as possible and pack the fridge as thoughtfully as I would my suitcase. It’s amazing what you can fit in when you try.

Think about packing wisely

Think about packing (your fridge.freezer) wisely to maximize space

Note: Invest in nesting containers – they are integral to preserving the integrity of your PCA meals, and will help you save space in the fridge/freezer too.

I’m one of those that believes a car can’t operate without music blaring, so I understand your wanting to rock out while you cook – it just seems to fuel the whole process more efficiently.

Kitchen rhythm: get your groove on

Kitchen rhythm: get your groove on

Get the mP3 and headphones out, girl! You can rock out without disturbing anyone else in the vicinity (although you probably will give them a good giggle).

Watch the video for more about what you can expect from your Personal Chef Approach membership, so you eat healthy, wealthy, and wise!

This post was first published on Feb. 17, 2015

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