Finding Your Motivation
Your motivation to cook better comes from within. You’re not doing it to meet other people’s expectations or because you have to. You’re doing it because you’re ready to grab the bull by the horns – or in this case, to grab the knife and pan by the handles. There’s a couple of things you need to ask yourself when you step into your kitchen:
- Are you channelling your strengths as a learner and performer?
- Or, are you focusing on your weaknesses, opting for the “quick and easy”?
My motivation came when I left home and moved into my first apartment. I couldn’t wait to have a kitchen all to myself—Italian moms don’t like sharing theirs. As a drama student, I immersed myself in my newfound character: the cook. I researched cuisines that I didn’t get at home and sought out ingredients I wasn’t too familiar with – give me ginger, cilantro, lemongrass, cumin, star anise, soy sauce…anything but tomatoes! And to this day, I think of the kitchen as a stage, tools and ingredients as props, a dish as a script, and cooking as a performance. The essence of the Northwest Method is to help you discover your authentic kitchen identity. Your instinct to learn kitchen skills is real and powerful. It’s up to you to focus on whatever in life you’re good at and then channel that mindset when you step into the kitchen. It’s a more valuable practice than you think. So, we’ve set up Day 1 of the Kitchen Confidence Crash Course as a reflective exercise. Something to help you understand your relationship with your kitchen better, and to identify your strengths and gaps. We’d like for you to take a few minutes and answer yes or no to the following statements:
- I love my knife, it’s always sharp, and it’s out on a magnet or butcher block—NOT in a drawer.
- I love my pots and pans and know which ones to use to get the best results.
- I trust my cooking instincts and flavouring decisions.
- I’m persistent and don’t throw in the towel after an initial failure.
- My cutting board is gorgeous, made out of wood, bigger than 12” x 16”, and out on the counter at all times.
- I know exactly where my peeler and other key tools are.
- I know where the paprika is, and more importantly, I know how long it’s been there.
- I’m ready to take a serious leap towards better cooking.
You may not be able to answer yes to all these things yet. But wouldn’t it be exciting if you could? In the following days, we’ll give you a couple of serious wins. We’ll help you experience one of those aha! moments that changes everything. And we’ll introduce you further to The Northwest Method, something we’ve been working on for almost two decades. But let’s stop there for now. In the next lesson, my colleague Jonathan will show you his home kitchen and will give you some tips on how to set up yours so it feels like a place you actually want to learn in. Talk soon.
Co-Founder and Co-Curator, Northwest Culinary Academy of Vancouver and The Northwest Method
P.S. Fundamentals 101 is available now. If you want to get in on the ground floor and change the way you perform in the kitchen, please consider joining us.