While most chefs are considered a group of degenerates who only fell upon the profession because it requires you to cut things and play with fire, there is quite a bit of knowledge you have to have to perfect the craft. One main thing you need to have is some basic mental math skills. Now I’m not talking about figuring out trigonometry to the 4th power- If that’s even a thing. I’m talking about knowing that 16 ounces are in a cup, 128 ounces in a gallon, 8 tablespoons are half a cup which is 4oz by volume- not by weight. Ensuring that when you are planning a banquet that you should factor each person eating six ounces of protein and three ounces of vegetables and carbs. So, when you buy that ten- pound box of chicken, you can quickly figure out that it is 160 ounces of protein, which will yield just over 26 portions (pending it 100% yield on the product but we’ll get into that another time).

I’ll never forget one of my first days at culinary school, my mentor at the time drew us Mr. Gallon. Now Mr. Gallon had a Torso with four limbs, each limb represented a quart- remember 4 quarts to a gallon. Each limb had a joint in it, above and below the joint were the pints- two pints make a quart. Now, this particular person only had four fingers, but those four fingers represented the four cups it took to make the quart.

Always remember there are a million and one reasons to know some quick basic mental math skills when working in the kitchen. Whether it is converting recipes or planning for portion sizing for an event, a bit of simple math can go a long way for a chef.