"What a Cook Should Know"

Mindy Segal's rules to live by, which hang on the wall in her Chicago kitchen, Hot Chocolate.

December 18, 2013 ● 1 min read

1. The secret to success on a busy day is to organize the night before. Be proactive. Set up for the person who works your station on your day off.

2. Think outside the box. Take your blinders off.

3. Know the leaders in your field.

4. Product identification.

5. Taste everything.

6. Know and understand the importance of salt, seasoning properly, and the necessity of balance and how acid plays an important role in cooking.

7. Repetition breeds consistency.

8. Use all five of your senses.

9. Every cook should really know the station next to him/her.

10. Have you checked out the pastry station?

11. A cook should strive to be a chef.

12. Can you pair a wine, beer, or cocktail with any of the dishes on your station?

13. Know how to sharpen a knife properly.

14. Know what the proper use for each knife is.

15. At least own the Food Lover's Companion book.

16. Work as a team. Over communicate!

17. Realize good food is the sum of many small things done correctly.

18. The fastest way to hurry up is to slow down.

19. You’re only as good as those you surround yourself with.

20. Be a diner and put yourself in their shoes first.

21. ‘No’ is not a word in a cooks vocabulary.

22. Give back.

23. Butcher/be able to butcher.

24. Know the four seasons and what is available during each season.

25. A bad attitude gets you nowhere really fast.

26. It is easier to be nice and helpful than it is to be mean. Check your problems at the door.

27. If you're on time, you are late.

28. When asked a question by your superior and your response is “not my job” or “that is not my jurisdiction” you should rethink your career.

29. If you are in this profession to be famous, take the real estate exam.