Kitchen Organizing Tips with Cassie Corbett for World Kitchen

It seems that whenever I begin a kitchen remodeling project, the first requirement from my client is, “MORE STORAGE.”  I’m sure some of you can relate.  But more often than not, I find that it isnt a lack of storage that’s the culprit as much as it is a lack of organization.  Now, with a few kitchen remodels underway, I thought a post on proper kitchen organization would be perfect.

Cassie Corbett loves to experiment in her kitchen and dreams of one day being the star of her own cooking show. When she’s not busy concocting cocktails or putting out the occasional kitchen fire, she writes for World Kitchen, who supplies a wide range of kitchen cookware.

Keeping it Organized: The Concept of Mise en Place

Is your kitchen a scrambled mess?  When you have company over are you frantically trying to find your salt and pepper?  Does cooking a meal take twice as long as it should because you are constantly reaching into the pantry for one more ingredient?  Maybe you’ve thought that your kitchen could use a little help in the organizational department, if this is the case then heed a little advice from professional chefs and introduce the concept of mise en place to your kitchen.

Mise en place (say it like ‘meez enn plahz’) literally translated from the French means “everything in place.”  The principal behind the concept is that before you begin cooking a meal that you are fully prepared with all of your ingredients and tools that you will need ready to be used.  Culinary students all over the world learn this technique early on in their training and learn that it applies to more than just cooking.

An organized kitchen is easier to keep clean and a clean kitchen is one that doesn’t make you sick when you cook your own food.  If you are a bit of a clutterbug when it comes to organization take the time to consider your kitchen and if it could be organized more efficiently.

kitchen-recreated-for-julie-and-julia

Was there ever a kitchen that reflected the art of Mise en Place better than Julia Childs’?

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Keep it together

Are there plates, glasses, or other pieces of cookware that you use every day?  Any items that you find yourself using very frequently should be placed together and in easy reach.  If your daily ritual consists of you coming home from work, grabbing a plate, a glass, and grilling a sandwich on one of those classy indoor electric grilling machines, then all of those items should be easily accessible.

Similar items and accessories should be stored together.  Plates with plates, glasses with glasses, food storage items like plastic bags, plastic wrap, or aluminum foil should also be similarly grouped.  Keep your pots and pans and other tools you use during cook near your cooking area.  Seconds matter when you’re desperately in need of a lid to keep a pot from boiling over.

Be mindful of how you store things.  Point and sharp ends should always be facing down with handles sticking out of any container.  Be careful how you store knives as well.  If you are storing them in a drawer then spend some money on a compartmentalized organizer.  Imagine a scenario where someone is over at your house looking for a utensil in a drawer and ends up slicing themselves on a serrated knife that was buried under other utensils.  Be smart and safe in how you organize your tools.

Martha Stewart's built in cappuccino beverage bar

Like things together, coffee cups near the espresso machine. Now, if only we could all be Martha.

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Out with the old

Have you ever heard of the concept of “first in first out”?  This is how restaurants organize their food, so that food is used efficiently and nothing ends up secretly expiring hidden in the back of a shelf.  When you come home with leftover Mongolian noodles are you stuffing them in the back of your fridge?  When was the last time you saw the back of your fridge?

A refrigerator is a prime environment for bacterial growth.  When one thing goes bad in a fridge it can hasten the spoiling rate of everything else in there.  Keep your older foods near the front of the fridge and your newer ones in the back and either eat your leftovers or throw them out, ideally before they start paying rent.

Take on your pantry in a similar attack plan.  Is there a bag of pasta noodles sitting under another bag of potato chips that have been there since the time when gas was less than fifty dollars a gallon?  If so, it might be time for it to go.  Toss out anything too old to be used and prominently display anything that you need to get to using.  Do you have a jar of spaghetti sauce a few days from its expiration date?  Maybe tonight would be a good spaghetti night?

Sub Zero Pro 48 Refrigerator with Glass Window

Love the look of a glass door fridge.

 

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Accessorize

There are some very cool organization accessories that can also add to the décor of your kitchen.  An over the door storage rack for your pantry door gives you extra space and can easily store quick snack items for people to grab.  Likewise, baskets can also help you keep similar items grouped together and make an easy grab and go option for some.

Accessorize down under with some under cabinet ideas.  Under lighting is becoming quite a popular trend and makes cooking on counters quite attractive.  Along these lines there are under cabinet racks designed to hold cookbooks, perfect for the chef who gets a bit messy during their prep.  You can also introduce vertical storage for pots and pans, taking freeing up cabinet space and making use of the empty spaces on walls.

click to view full size

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In Place

Remember, the basic idea behind a concept of mise en place is that everything is where it belongs.  Keep what you need handy and store similar items together.  You’ll have a neat little kitchen that will be as inviting as it is attractive.

 

Thanks for all the tips Cassie!  You can find more Cassie via her twitter @CassieCorbett1

-CP

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We Love: Klismos

Recently, I’ve been dying over the T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings Klismos chair (I’ve gotta have it).  But with a whopping price tag in the tens of thousands, it’s just slightly out of my price range.  Here’s hoping for an ill informed ebay seller

Originally designed by the Greeks, the klismos chair is characterized by it’s curvilinear lines, splayed saber legs and narrow concave backrest (oh my History of Interiors professor would be so proud).  This classic design has stood the test of time and easily pairs with both traditional and contemporary interiors alike. It’s said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery, lets hope so.

Slide1 {1. Pearson Company | 2. Bernhardt | 3. 1stdibs.com | 4. Lamberty Bespoke | 5. Arteriors Home | 6. Holly Hunt}

-CP

 

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NEW YORK! NEW YORK!

With summer in full swing and kids out of school, it’s that time of year to pack up and get away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  Working for myself affords me the pleasure to avoid my once dreadful morning commute.  But even I have noticed, on the rare occasions I’m on 495 before 9am, that the traffic has lightened up a bit.  People are off to fabulous destinations for weeks or even months at a time.  Unfortunately, working for myself does NOT afford me the pleasure of vacationing for months at a time…I think that’s the equivalent of letting myself go (“CP, your services are no longer needed here at CPI, thank you”).  I’ll get there one day.  In the interim, however, I did managed to escape my busy schedule for a brief leisurely weekend.

A fabulous getaway…check, escaping the hustle and bustle…um…not so much.  My short overnight trip to NYC was prompted by the wedding of a good college friend.  Little did I know that it was going to be an action packed 72 hrs, full of celebrity sightings, good food and great design.

The wedding was a blast! Quintessential, NYC rooftop wedding with one of my best friends.  One of those friends that you only see every so often, but when you get together it’s like no time has passed.  And when she sees you at her reception, she totally ditches friends, family and newly married man to run and hug you and make a big scene so you feel loved (see below).

LoveYou know, the type of friend that insisted you take dance classes with her back in 2006, so OF COURSE at her wedding you’re going to be the first couple on the dance floor.
First Dance
If the pictures are somehow not doing it justice, I had a blast.  To passers-by it might have been my wedding; we were living it up.  Oh, and to top it all off, my first celebrity sighting was at her wedding…it was really more like a celebrity hang-out (if i do say so myself).  Sighting seems to imply that I didnt totally stalk talk to Mr. Ed Weeks all evening.  I may have lost my audience here, but Ed Weeks plays Dr. Reed on The Mindy Project.  All in all, I’d say it was a hit!
TWIST AND SHOUT
The next day was equally as eventful.  Breakfast in bed was provided by the hotel; it was part of the weekend deal I got on jetsetter.com.  What an awesome way to start your day.  Then it was off to do some quick shopping.  A request had been made to stop in at Uniqlo.  I’d like to also mention that there was a request to stop in at Louis Vuitton.  Somehow, that didnt make it into the goings on of the day.  Afterward, I had a near death experience typical, lightning fast, taxi ride up to *in my best Oprah voice* THE KIPS BAY DECORATOR SHOWHOUSE!  Yes, everyone, I made it to interior design mecha. I’d love to say it was everything I had ever hoped and dreamed, but as it is with showhouses, there are always just a few rooms that overshadow the rest.  For me, the highlights were: lacquered walls (done right), horn hardware, textured wallcoverings, rooftop bathtubs and a queen-size daybed.

Loved this room with the violet lacquered ceiling by Eve Robinson Associates

Loved this room with the violet lacquered ceiling by Eve Robinson Associates

And I thought an outdoor shower was all the rage!  This outdoor oasis by West Chin Architect really made a statement

And I thought an outdoor shower was all the rage! This outdoor oasis by West Chin Architect really made a statement.

Leather walls and a queen-sized daybed made this the perfect getaway by Garcia Maldonado

Leather walls and a queen-sized daybed made this the perfect getaway by Garcia Maldonado

A New York trip wouldnt be complete without a tasty bite from Katz’s Deli.  And it was on the way from the showhouse to the deli that my second celebrity sighting happened.  This was a real “sighting” as I was a good stone’s throw from Andrew Garfield the entire time.  You heard me right, Andrew Garfield as in the filming of the new Spider Man movie.  For a little ol’ country boy from south of the Mason Dixon Line, this was a lot to take in.  It’s not everyday that you’re on the set of a movie.  There were overturned taxis, blown-up police cruisers and guns firing from every angle.  It was wild!  I couldnt have planned a better 72hr jaunt to NYC if I had tried.

2013-05-26 13.43.32

Crashed Cars

Oh, and I saw this celeb...on dishes?  I dont know if I could get down with the King of Pop on my fine china

Oh, and I saw this celeb…on dishes? I dont know if I could get down with the King of Pop on my fine china

 Now enough about me, what are you up to for the summer?  I want to hear about crazy celebrity sightings, day trips to new and exciting locals and good food.

-CP

 

 

 

 

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