Respect thy Restaurant Chef

...especially if you are a creature of habit. As in you always order the same thing whenever you go to a specific restaurant. There is a reason you always order the same thing, and one reason is whoever is cooking YOUR dish for you is doing it right, or rather, doing it right consistently.

I am a creature of habit when it comes to specific restaurants. Hey, I know what I like. I also can be a creature of habit in my own kitchen because, once again, I KNOW WHAT I LIKE. A few weeks back while thinking about what I wanted to eat I started to think of a simple pasta dish I used to get at California Pizza Kitchen that included spaghetti, sun dried tomatoes, broccoli rabe, and a parmesan-garlic-cream sauce, and I always asked to add chicken. I decided to re-create it for my lunch.

While shopping, I realized that I was purchasing enough of each ingredient to make the dish about three times, and, living on my own, I am always trying to stretch my food budget. So I started to think like a restaurant chef and challenged myself to re-create the same dish exactly the same each day - same amounts, same ingredients, same cooking method, same pans.

It is not the easiest thing to do; and when you think of the cooks in the restaurant's kitchen they have more than putting one single dish together for you. The only difference is that they usually have everything for each dish prepped out way ahead of time to cook each dish to order. They are also are working on a few items from each ticket at a time. It's not rocket science, however it is a challenge. Especially timing it perfectly.

I prepped all of my food - mincing my garlic, blanching my broccoli, boiling my pasta, searing my chicken, deglazing the pan and making my garlic cream sauce, timing it to a "t" so that as the pasta was ready 12 minutes later I was done with my sauce, folding in my broccoli, chicken, and sun dried tomatoes and then adding my just-drained pasta to plate into a bowl. There is a bit of a whimsical dance that you do when timing a dish perfectly, and I was able to do it the same way, three times in a row.

I decided to take a pic each day to show the consistency of my dish. I have also included a few of my prep.

Folding in the ingredients to the sauce

Folding in the pasta

Meal One

Meal Three

I was definitely satisfied by simple perfection. If you think about all of the restaurant cooks and chefs (especially places like California Pizza Kitchen, where they are based on prefecting repetition from location to location, customer to customer) and the work that goes into the simplest to most extravagant dishes, staying consistent is a key ingredient for their success. And, most importantly, your satisfied craving for your favorite dish.


  1. I never knew you had a blog and am loving reading it! The cake photos are amazing. I just had to comment on this one though because I have my favorites at certain restaurants too and the reason I love them is because they ALWAYS taste exactly the same. I used to dream about the Enchiladas de Mariscos from Javier's when I lived in the midwest, and still love them today. But, I totally noticed when they changed it slightly and added onion to the garnish a couple of years ago! In my opinion, its totally unnecessary and I always take it off. I like it the old way. Thought you'd appreciate that. :) I am enjoying living vicariously through you and your cooking and baking adventures! Love, Megs

  2. Love you Megs! We need to get together soon. I am so glad you are enjoying reading this. It is fun to do!