When I left the corporate world, I retired to raise my children and pursue my beloved hobby of Show Jumping. A bad accident ended that chapter and I was left with the question of would what would I do with my time? Having grown up in the restaurant business coupled with the luxury of eating my way around the globe for 20 years, I decided to attend Culinary School. When I finished I was lucky enough to have a friend Susan Casey, the founder of the Purple Onion Saluda, who put me to work. Not only was her menu amazing but it was a great way for me to hone my skills. However, the amount of business generated in that little kitchen was overwhelming and often times I felt like I was drowning. I realized that using my business skills was the only way to survive! Fast forward to the present and the number one tip I can give you for creating the perfect kitchen at home is“Treat Your Kitchen Like a Business.”

I hope these tips inspire, excite and, most importantly, save you money.

  1. Create a weekly menu. That menu is your road map for saving money, so choose a day where you can have a little quiet time and have some fun with it! Meatless Monday’s, Taco Tuesday or Thursday’s, Pizza Friday’s, Italian Sunday, whatever you like. It’s a good way to stay organized and if you have kids you are creating future memories.
  2. From that menu develop your shopping list. Challenge yourself each and every week to use whatever is left from the previous week in the fridge while reducing your freezer and pantry inventory. Simply adding any protein or not to what you already own will save you money! I cannot tell you how much food I see in people’s fridge and freezers that eventually goes to waste from sitting there month after month. The average American throws away $2800 of unused groceries a year. Imagine what you could do with even half that amount and how much better you will feel not wasting food!
  3. Be sure to list your items in the order of the store or stores you frequent, try and stay on the outer aisles, Produce, Meat and Dairy. This will help you stay on track while avoiding processed foods and impulse items!
  4. When you return home from shopping, use this motto “Need it 3 times chop it once”.  Process all your fresh produce and set yourself up for success. If all your fruits and vegetables are prepped and stored at the beginning of the week, you simply pull them out and create a salad or add them to your main course. No mid-week prepping. *Chefs Tip: I keep diced celery, garlic, onions and carrots on hand at all times. By having these items you can just add a box of stock, beans, canned tomatoes and some spices, or whatever you like, and you now have an Instant Pot Dinner.
  5. Overwhelmed or just to busy let me help! Either with kitchen organization, check out this link https://www.chefpatricia.com/fall-2019-kitchen-staples/ or pick a day where I can come in and work with you to create a week’s worth of meals.