1. Certain cooked meats have to "rest" before being carved so they retain their juices and complete the cooking process away from the heat. Many projects--writing among them--need time to cool before they're sent out into the world,
2. Mise en place saves steps and eliminates a lot of cursing. Pro cooks and smart amateurs gather all the ingredients they'll use before they start to prepare a dish. Wouldn't we all cut our frustration levels if we made sure we had what we needed before we started something? Don't you hate running to the supermarket/office-supply store/hardware store in the middle of a task. (Remind me to make sure I've got a spare ink cartridge.)
3. A good chef's knife eliminates the need for lots of fancy gadgets. When my garlic press fell apart, I learned to smash a peeled clove with the side of the knife. With a decent knife, I'm a human mini-chopper—and don't have to take apart a device to clean it. The life lesson? Instead of pining for the latest software and a lightning fast laptop, let's remember that basic tools, brainpower, and effort are all we need.
4. Successful and confident chefs are less likely to sabotage their competitors. So it is in the workplace. The colleague who claims credit for your ideas, damns you with faint praise, and is quick to throw you under the bus is your inferior, not your equal.
5. The best chefs take risks. They innovate instead of always relying on tried-and-true recipes and techniques. That lesson is tailor-made for writers, teachers, carpenters, and others.
6. No matter how skilled the chef, eventually, s&!+ will hit the kitchen fan. The oven will conk out, fish will spoil ahead of schedule, and someone won't watch the grill. The best chefs (writers, teachers, carpenters, and others) adapt and keep going.
Have you learned any lessons from reality TV?