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Any good chef will tell you that prep work and cleanliness are two of the most important components of making a successful meal. I have one of those things down pat.
Despite the fact that I’m obsessive about how food looks once it is prepared, I’m a pretty messy cook. I hate cleaning, doing dishes, wiping down counters, yet when I cook I manage to use every single pot and pan at my disposal, as well as smear every surface in olive oil, honey, garlic, and whatever else I happen to be using at every given moment.
However, I also get a sick pleasure out of mincing my shallots in perfect symmetry, slicing cucumbers into beautiful, consistent wedges, and serving the precisely sized dollop of sauce necessary on each plate.
These two traits seem somewhat irreconcilable. And yet, they exist, simultaneously, within me. They inform my every move in the kitchen: a constant battle between anal retentiveness and reckless abandon.
Perhaps my unorthodox methods wouldn’t fly in a professional kitchen. However, in the comfort of my own home, they work out just fine. Especially when I have guests who offer to clean up after dinner.