Top Chef Meals: Coping With Kitchen Burnout
woman in kitchen

Coping With Kitchen Burnout

After a year plus of indulging in pandemic cooking, a lot of people are starting to experience kitchen burnout. Are you one of them?

THE STORY: Many people have been spending more time in the kitchen during the pandemic due to eating in being safer than eating out. But after more than a year of coming up with and creating home-cooked meals, a lot of people are experiencing kitchen burnout. What is kitchen burnout?

The World Health Organization describes burnout as a result of chronic stress. Symptoms include feeling exhausted, feelings of negativity about the thing causing burnout, and doing less well at this particular thing. Usually, you’ll hear the word “burnout” being associated with work or school, but kitchen burnout is a very real thing.

So what can you do to recover from burnout?

BURNOUT RECOVERY TIPS: Fortunately, you can overcome burnout and get back to cooking with newfound excitement. Here’s how.

Clean up the kitchen. Believe it or not, when things are messy and cluttered, they can cause stress. Just think how much better you feel after you tackle the dishes that have been lingering! If your kitchen counters are full of stuff, go through and figure out what you really need and what you can stow away (or donate). Freeing up space is guaranteed to make you feel lighter.
Simplify. You already know you aren’t feeling the kitchen life, so don’t make it harder on yourself by trying to whip up elaborate meals. Keep to simple meals that don’t take a lot of time, like sheet pan or instant pot meals.
Go virtual. You might find that an online cooking class will help you rediscover a love of cooking. Plus, online classes mean you can explore cuisine from all over the world!
Be realistic. It’s good to set goals for what you want to do in the kitchen each week, but remember, you don’t have to cook every single day. The occasional takeout is perfectly okay! Remind yourself of this when you just can’t seem to force yourself into the kitchen. Also, remember not to be overly ambitious when it comes to grocery shopping. Will you really use that spinach up before it goes bad? Do you actually need three kinds of pasta? Be realistic with yourself about what you’ll accomplish.
Focus on what you love. Eat what you love. If you don’t like something, forcing yourself to eat it anyway isn’t going to make you want to go in the kitchen more. That doesn’t mean eating pizza every day if you love it but go for it if it’s what you’re really in the mood for. Find the foods that make you happy (and, if needed, make them into a healthier version).
Meal prep. Not everyone is a fan of meal prepping, and that’s fine. But spending an hour on the weekend prepping veggies or writing out a meal plan, or cooking certain items and freezing to eat later will save you a lot of time in the kitchen each week overall. So, give it a try!
Treat yo’self. Give yourself a gift. Buying yourself a new kitchen gadget that makes cooking easier (or is simply something you’ve been wanting for a while) is a great way to get excited about cooking again.
Order in. Take a break from cooking yourself and order from a meal delivery service. With Top Chef Meals, you can customize chef-made meals that require nothing more than popping in the oven!

THE ROUND-UP: If you’re experiencing kitchen burnout, you can get past it. Trying the above should help clear it up in no time, then you can get back to enjoying cooking and food as much as you did before!