Ease Up On Yourself

If you're logged onto this website, chances are you either cook professionally or cook avidly at home. Either way, you probably spend a great deal of time on your feet and have a good sense of just how difficult it is to stand for long periods of time. Restaurant kitchens are outfitted with thick, rubber mats that help to alleviate the pressure of hard floors on your feet, but most home kitchens are not. While formica and soft wood floors are not much of a strain, tile and concrete floors can become outright painful after a while, and can lead to some serious issues down the line. As the private chef for a family, I have worked in my fair share of home kitchens, and most of them have had floors that were pretty easy on the feet. When my employer moved into his current home, however, I wasn't prepared for how hard the floors were. After the first couple of weeks working in this new kitchen, I noticed that my hips were sore, my knees were achy and my ankles were getting swollen on a daily basis. At first I just chalked it up to getting older, and figured that this was just another drawback of the profession. But then, I started to think about why this was happening to me all of a sudden, and it occurred to me that the floors were just a lot harder than I was used to.

I spoke to my boss about how to remedy the problem and we agreed that the solution was to buy some mats for the kitchen. The problem was that this is a very exposed kitchen, centrally located in the home, and the thought of laying down ugly, bulky restaurant mats just seemed preposterous. So I went online and did some research. Over and over, I read about a brand of kitchen mats called GelPro, that received consistently great reviews and decided to check them out.

The mats come in a surprising array of colors and patterns, and from what I had read, were quite durable too. Once I started pricing the mats, however, I was taken aback at their cost. A 20″ by 30″ mat by itself was priced at $100. Based on the size of the kitchen I was working in, I estimated that I'd need around 12-15 mats to line the floors, but I knew that I couldn't ask my boss to invest that much money on something that may not even solve my problem. There was also the issue of cleaning all of those mats at the end of each work day and that had no appeal.

Ultimately, I decided to buy two mats and give them a try. What a difference they made! They were soft enough to cradle my feet a bit, but firm enough to help me maintain good posture. After working on them for just a few days I was amazed at how much better my whole body felt and knew that there was no way I was going to return them.

Rather than going back and buying a bunch more, however, I ultimately settled on having just three of them and put them in the spots where I spend the most time standing–in front of the stove, the sink, and the counter where I do my prep work. The mats are easy to clean and usually I just pick them up and run them under the kitchen faucet to rinse off any stuck on food.

I'm not exaggerating when I say that these mats have totally saved me and have definitely helped me to avoid what was starting become a chronic pain issue. Yes they're a bit expensive, but I've been using them on a regular basis for over a year now and they look as good as they did the day I bought them. I think that these mats are a worthwhile investment for anyone who spends a lot of time on their feet, particularly considering the alternatives.

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            5 Program(s) Found
            • Alumni have appeared in reality competition shows such as Top Chef and Project Runway.
            • Has a team of about 4,000 faculty members focused on helping students tap opportunities in a marketplace driven by ideas.
            • Offers programs in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary.
            • Provides program coordinators who work with students to ensure they have the learning materials, assignments, facilities, and faculty to get the most out of the program.
            • Over 50 campus locations nationwide.
            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Hands-on culinary education with focused attention on each student
            • An ACCSC School of Excellence with multiple “Best Vocational Cooking School” awards*
            • 15,000 graduates, including celebrities like Bobby Flay, David Chang, and Christina Tosi*
            • Programs in Culinary Entrepreneurship, Professional Culinary Arts, Professional Pastry Arts, and much more
            • Campuses in New York and Silicon Valley with nearby housing available
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            4 Program(s) Found
            • Gives students the opportunity to earn their associate’s degree in the culinary arts field in less than 15 months or bachelor’s degree in the food service management field in 2.5 years through their year-round schedule.
            • Located in Norfolk and Newport News, Virginia.
            • Offers externship experiences to students for experience in the field.
            • Hosts regular career fairs for employer recruitment.
            • Has student housing available.
            • Accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC).
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            • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Lets undergrad students try classes before paying any tuition.
            • Has an average class sizes of 18 for undergraduate and 13 for graduate-level courses.
            • Offers numerous scholarship opportunities that can help students save up to $750 per term on their tuition.
            • Tends to educate degree-seeking online and campus-based students who are adult learners with families and students who work while pursuing higher education.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Online Courses
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            • Transferable Credits
            5 Program(s) Found
            • Received the 2015 and 2013 “Cooking School of the Year” Award of Excellence from the International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP).
            • Accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC).
            • Externship opportunities are available at numerous famous New York City restaurants.
            • Campus is located near downtown Manhattan, within walking distance of many popular attractions such as the Radio City Music Hall.
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            Good for Working Adults
            • Flexible Scheduling
            • Financial Aid
            2 Program(s) Found
            • Students get real-world experience through the required externship at the end of the program.
            • Curriculum includes laboratory sessions, academic preparation and hands-on experience.
            • Program objectives are to provide students with skills needed for cooking wholesome, attractive, food preparations and to assist graduates in obtaining positions in the food service industry.
            • Accredited by the American Culinary Federation (ACF).
            • Has campuses in Melbourne, Sarasota, and Tallahassee, Florida
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            2 Program(s) Found
            • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
            • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
            • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
            • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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