The Chef's Motto: Be Prepared (AND Stylish!)

A questioner from the audience at a recent Toronto event with chef/author Gabrielle Hamilton bemoaned the stress she felt when preparing dinner for guests to the extent that she just couldn't enjoy herself. Her question was "how do you overcome that stress?". The answer from Hamilton was "If you're not enjoying it, why are you doing it at all? Order a pizza!". And that seemed about right. For the most part, people who thoroughly enjoy cooking for company don't get stressed and one of the reasons they don't get stressed is that they are organized - in mind and in practice. Being organized frees up energy for more important things like engaging with your guests. It also helps you get out the door faster after breakfast in the morning, for that matter.

First step in an organized approach to cooking is mis-en-place. Get your ingredients out, measured and ready at hand. For that purpose, we just love these new "Just a Pinch" bowl sets from NowDesigns (the ones front and centre in the photo). They're cute, colourful and easy to clean. Roasted cumin in one bowl, chopped shallots in another, chiffonade basil in a third.... you get the idea.

Second step is to have great tools at hand. Now, for many great pro tools you'll want to visit our neighbours at The Cookery just a few doors north on Roncy but for something that's totally delightful and functional, check out our new casserole dishes from ModGlass. Remember those casserole dishes you grew up with and lost track of and wish you'd bought back at that cute little antique shop outside of the city? These will be those dishes for your kids! They are microwave and oven safe to 400F, freezer safe and dishwasher safe. Plus they look great as serving or picnic dishes to boot!

You'll find these items and more in our window as of today and on the main table just inside the door.

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