Clean as you go — everywhere you go

By Costa Magoulas, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC

Being a chef can sometimes be very stressful, not at work, but at home. All the things I have been trained to do to become a chef work great in a commercial kitchen; however, when I get home and have to cook or watch the rest of the family work in the kitchen, everything is upside down. Now I am not picking on my… well… maybe I am.

I’m used to a place for everything and everything in its place. Is that too much to ask for? I would like to find the sauté pans where all the pans are stored, not with all the cake pans and flour. Maybe that’s the problem. In my house, everything is stored in any space that is empty at the time. I call it “Musical Storage.” Sound familiar? I have a small, two shelf portable cart that I use to take to the car and unload groceries. My family has converted it into a permanent cart with everything you don’t want to put away. Holiday decorations, cat food, old newspapers, tools, anything and everything. It’s like the Bermuda Triangle of kitchen utensils–I think it has its own magnetic pull.  I called NASA and they verified the phenomenon. They are studying kitchens throughout Florida to see if it is related. They have found floating utensils in the waters off the Bahamas.

But my all-time, number-one most irritating kitchen stress that drives me absolutely crazy is dirty dishes in the sink. I believe the world is divided into two groups: people who leave dirty dishes in the sink to wash later and those who clean as the go and put them away. Go ahead, raise your hands sink polluters, I know you’re out there! Please, please, someone please tell me why.

In my household, which is probably similar to many, there is a dishwasher next to the sink. Let me see, rinse off the plate and put it in the dishwasher, or stack the plates in the sink until there is no room left in the sink–then move to the dishwasher. Sometimes I can’t wait to go back to work where there is order, everything in its place and no dirty dishes in the sink. I think my wife wishes I would spend more time at work as well.

So enough about that, let’s talk about food. How about a great salad with homemade Caesar Dressing with fresh ingredients?  You’ll love it. I like to mix hearts of romaine lettuce, a little arugula, cherry tomatoes and sliced red onions together.

Chef Costa’s Fresh Caesar Dressing Recipe

1 T. fresh garlic chopped

4 T. pasteurized egg yolk

4 oz parmesan cheese

2 oz balsamic vinegar

2 oz red wine vinegar

1 T. whole grain mustard

1 oz anchovy filet

1 T. salt

1 T.fine ground pepper

12 oz vegetable oil

12 oz extra virgin olive oil

In a food processor combine all ingredients, except the oils. Drizzle oil in slowly to form emulsion (creamy texture). Makes 2 quarts. Keep refrigerated.


Costa Magoulas, MHA, CEC, CCE, CCA, AAC, has been happily married for 38 years and is the father of four children. Chef Magoulas has spent the last 50 years in the hospitality culinary profession in various positions, such as director of a culinary training school for a top 400 company and coordinator of culinary operations for Volusia County School District.  At age 68, he went back to school and earned his Master in Hospitality Management from University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Upon completion of his master’s work, he become an instructor at Daytona State College and was later promoted to Dean of the School of Hospitality and Culinary Management.