KnifeOfBrian: Tips and ideas to keep chefs sane through Coronavirus lockdown

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th May 2020

It looks like this lockdown is going to be keeping us away from our kitchens for a little while longer chefs.

If you have maintained your sanity up to this point, then, well played. I have listed a few tips and ideas to keep you going for the next few weeks/months.

1: How is your relationship going?

Have you pissed off your partner yet? Is he or she still having to work from home while you are sat there, binge watching Tiger King? My tip here is to STAY OUT OF THE WAY! They are probably really resenting you right now. They still have to put in a shift, while you are sitting around in your undies. Go and hide upstairs or in the kitchen. Try not to make too much noise, they have no interest in your latest Instagram post. Keep them in tea n coffee. We may be out of the hospitality game professionally, but at home, it's time to be Maitre D.

2: How about you go and sharpen your knives.

Seriously! You brought your knives home from work, right? Do you own a whetstone? Go and watch a few videos on YouTube. That knife you used to love can be restored to its former glory with a little time and care. Knife sharpening is a great skill to master too. My advice would be to practice on a knife you don't mind ruining. Grab a shit, blunt one from the kitchen drawer. 

Photo credit:

3: Here's another idea, chef. Shave that fucking beard off!

You look like a knob mate! You grew it to be a bit edgy and hipster. Now we are all just looking at those little bits of food you have got hanging from it. Like something from the Twits. That goes for the men too!

4: Sourdough.

Just an idea. I don't think many chefs are doing it right now. Try and be a trend setter. Obviously, that is a joke! So many chefs are making sourdough right now. The reason? We don't ever get the time to look after something like this normally. Sourdough starters rely on consistent nurturing. We have been dropped into a situation where we can look after something this meticulously. If not Sourdough, make a cookery video for your friends and family. Why not? You've always thought you could do better than Ainsley! Now's the time to shine.

Not my best loaf, But practice makes perfect!

5: On the the subject of looking after something.... 

I have got hooked on playing SIMS freeplay on my phone. Do not judge me. But I will be looking for my Tamagotchi soon too. Time to revive the little critters. I think my obsession with SIMS comes from my need to lead. It's filling the Head Chef space which is now a void. As far as my household is concerned, I am just the Commis in this domestic hierarchy.

6. New kit. Is it time to update your whites?

When we eventually get back, it'll be great to open a fresh new Oliver Harvey Jacket (that's my personal choice) Maybe invest in some new trousers. The ones with the clingfilm belt have got to go! Knives too. I mentioned earlier about sharpening your old ones. Maybe it is also time to freshen things up with a new blade. Just don't tell your partner how much it costs!!!

7. Make a TikTok


Yeah. I done did a @tiktok video. Blame wine.

A post shared by Brian Pow (chef n bits) (@knifeofbrian) on


8. Hang out with other chefs.

Virtually. Set up a Zoom or Skype meet up. You do it! Don't wait for Someone else to organise it. It's not like you don't have the time! We all need the support from each others right now, more than ever. Share & like each others posts on Socials. Make a list of those who have had your back. Also remember those who have been proper dicks! Karma, good and bad, will visit post Lockdown.

9. Ok. I'm gonna say it. Exercise, Chef!

You're not burning up the calories that you would normally, during that sixteen hour shift. The new chef whites will be a necessity, not a luxury at this rate, chunky butt! I know we're only allowed one form of outdoor exercise a day, but that does not mean you can't do something indoors. Make sure it counts too. Work up a sweat. Don't take the piss here, but I actually bought myself a skipping rope. Stop laughing!.... If it works for pro boxers, it can work for me. But maybe I should stop singing nursery rhymes at the same time too. May explain the looks from the neighbours.

10. Recipes. How organised is your folder?

That little black book is starting to look a little tired. Go on! Freshen it up. Get a new book started and transfer those scrappy bits of paper over to it. Or even go digital. Get it backed up on to a cloud platform. OneDrive, GoogleDrive or whatever. Get it put online so you can get remote access to it whenever you want... and have wifi/Data. You never know. It may lead to you writing that cookbook you always said that you would.

11. Lastly, but by no means, least. Get your head right.

Work on things which make you feel good. This Lockdown is bloody hard on all of us. The whole world is struggling and there are millions of people in a far worse situation than us. I know that is not making you feel better. It's just an unfortunate truth. The only real advice I can pass on, is that we must try to not dwell on the things we are missing out on. The holidays, the drinks with friends and wearing jeans. Instead, try to appreciate the moments you are in. We are living a historic event. Enjoy the time with your household or the opportunity to catch up with friends online.

Enjoy the walks (responsibly). Nature has gone wild. I live in the heart of Ipswich in Suffolk and we have had a Muntjac running around my street, ending up in my garden (No, I didn't cook it!). Admittedly, it was pretty petrified, but the animals are noticing the quieter roads. So, focus on the positives. If you have been Furloughed and you have a job to go back to, nice.

Take the break and try to improve yourself. Not only as a chef, but as a person too. Unless you're already perfect like me. Hahahahahahhaa!

*Wife rolls her eyes*

About Knife of Brian


Brian Powlett is head chef at the Greyhound Ipswich and Knife of Brian Cookery & Catering. He supports CALM (campaign against living miserably) - a male suicide charity and has recently finished his first pop-up event at the Suffolk Show.

If he wasn't a chef, he would be a gigolo.

For more blogs like this from Knife of Brian, visit his website

The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 7th May 2020

KnifeOfBrian: Tips and ideas to keep chefs sane through Coronavirus lockdown