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Your Kitchen as a Business

Boost Your Confidence and Your Health

We are in a period of food and health fascination or, arguably, obsession. There is a tremendous amount of insecurity, fear, self-doubt and guilt among us. Since health and food often fall in the realm of women, it is largely women who are living with these emotions of guilt, fear and stress. These feelings contribute to further pain and illness.

When you are confident, you make decisions that are consistent with your beliefs and priorities. When there are exceptions or extenuating circumstances, choices are made with certainty and calm, not guilt or worry. To boost confidence, and lower the stress in the kitchen and around food, you don’t need to buy anything; you need to take charge of your kitchen like you manage your business. As a business owner, you are in charge of the direction of the company and you make decisions based on your corporate values. When you are in charge of your kitchen, you are directly impacting your health, finances and wellbeing. As in business, your influence is greater the more people you serve.

To run a business, you need a vision, a definition of success, and a plan to get there. Without a vision, you don’t know why you are in business. Without knowing how you define success, you won’t know how to achieve it. And without a business plan…well, we’ve all heard the saying about failing to plan is planning to fail. So, how do these basic business concepts transpose to the kitchen, and what changes can you make today to run your kitchen like a successful business?

What is a kitchen vision? Consider what is important to you when you eat, whether alone or with others. Think of emotions associated with planning meals, purchasing and preparing food. Think of the emotions you have when you are eating and cleaning up. Is it more important for you to sit at a nice table setting or to have a quality smoothie to go? The emotions you have will identify your values and will create your kitchen vision. We all have to eat, but we don’t all want to eat in the same way. Find your kitchen vision.

Defining kitchen success is about the energy you want to invest in the kitchen, meals and food tasks, as this energy relates to other priorities in your life. It does not mean that less time equals less quality, though. Quality is always paramount but must be assessed in conjunction with the emotions, values, time and realities of your situation. Your situation might include medical and dietary elements, an active sporting life, community involvement or a strong commitment to a particular food-based lifestyle. Those priorities might require more resources of time and money. Success is figuring out how to have quality food and quality emotions at your meal times, without stress. A strong, multi-faceted kitchen plan will bring that success.

Creating a kitchen plan requires integrating the vision and definition of success to establish roles, routines and schedules. This plan must also keep personalities and education in mind. Different people have different skills and styles and may operate differently with food and meal preparation. It is important to acknowledge and respect those differences. Planning incorporates these “human resource” issues as well. The high level plan identifies how to include every member of the family into the food work, whether shopping, cooking or setting the table. Also, at the higher level, the decisions about how everything gets done, keeping in mind commutes and extra-curricular activities. The detailed planning might take the form of a grocery list template, or a menu planning tool, to take the mystery out of the daily question, “What’s for dinner?”

The saying “You are what you eat” is true and I would add that “how you eat” matters, too. If you are the manager of your kitchen and bring meals about with a positive attitude, that will be understood intuitively by those around you. The food will be enjoyed more wholly. Relationships around the table are better when meals are served with calm. Mental and emotional health of everyone improves with the quality of the food and the quality of the social and emotional exchanges. The power that comes from the kitchen is far-reaching.

Whatever your priorities, they are best supported by having the food you eat be a source of energy, not a source of stress. Do more of what you love and manage your kitchen like a business.

I’d love to hear about your own kitchen vision and how you define success. Send me an email with “kitchen vision” in the subject line.

With a Masters in Public Health and a passion for international markets and food preparation skills from different cultures, Anne Bergman calls herself “The Kitchen Director”. Using her breadth of experience she helps people take a leading role in managing their kitchens. Contact Anne through thekitchendirector.ca.