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Dish of the Day: OCD in the Kitchen

Dan Doherty

OCD 300x225 Dish of the Day: OCD in the KitchenAnyone that has worked with me or has known me for a while will know I have pretty bad OCD. Or pretty good, depending on which way you look at it. I say that because, whilst it’s frustrating to hope that 40-odd chefs will follow your lead and hate round containers that don’t tessellate and only use cling film in a way that leaves a smooth crease-free finish, it can make you incredibly organised.

Allow me to elaborate. I like things to be done a certain way; in fact, I like everything to be done a certain way. Even if the people responsible for certain things are seasoned pros who do a fantastic job, I will still go behind them, maybe not immediately, but at some point, to make sure that, for example, the files on the kitchen laptop are all straight, aligned, first word in capital, second not. I can’t seriously expect them to adapt to my obsessive-compulsive ways, but I can waste my time by ‘correcting’ them.

By being this obsessive compulsive, I can come across as being incredibly disciplined, which isn’t a bad thing, let’s be honest, but it’s purely down to the fear of things not being done ‘my way’ or by something being out of place, that makes we waste my time by checking things seven times; not believing even myself.

Add to the mix, that we have a rather big brigade, one kitchen on the 40th floor and one underground, 40-odd chefs and 10 kitchen porters, there is sometimes an overwhelming feeling of losing control, as you simply cannot ‘OCD’ things up as one normally would.

I’ve had to learn to let go. And letting go for the reasons I’ve just mentioned, feels strange. Of course, some people have issues when business grow – say, allowing themselves to hand  over the running of it to  managers. But with me it is a case of hoping George on larder has all his squeezy bottles aligned by size, and then colour of content. It’s all a bit much.

When conducting interviews, I’m constantly looking for signs of OCD, as, whilst incredibly annoying, I think it’s a good trait to have. OCD can drive you to distraction, but at least I know a) I won’t be alone, and b) they’ll get it when I have a meltdown about the rota being wonky on the notice board.

I’ve a feeling people who have the same OCD issues will be reading this thinking ‘change job, it’s all too much’ whilst those that don’t are wondering why I’m wasting a blog post on this. You have no idea…

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  • KayTee

    People with OCD can be really useful —

    you want a table set properly?

    keep things where they can be found?

    I once saw someone with OCD set up a table for a self-service breakfast.
    Once he’d finished I told him it how well he’d done and how his OCD came in handy – others listening were horrified that I’d even mentioned his OCD to him, when I pointed out that he’d even made sure that all the knives had the blades pointing the same way he grinned and said ‘At last, someone notices’.

    The table lay out was not only looking good but very efficient.


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