Confessions of a Culinary Student: Efficiency in the Kitchen

Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Rick Martinez, Culinary New Business Intern
School: French Culinary Institute, 2011

Confession: Working the line in a kitchen requires a physical dexterity and speed that I neither understood nor possessed when I started. After about 6 months of getting yelled at by my chef, I finally got it. I learned what it means to be efficient in thought and efficient in action by budgeting my day to the minute, knowing times to the second for every action. I always planned 5 actions/steps/tasks ahead, organized my station to minimize movement (thus speeding up prep and plating times) and timed myself daily to see how I had improved over the day before, aiming to shave 60 seconds off of every day so that I would gain an extra 5 minutes of prep time by the end of the week.

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