Chaos Cooking Is The Ultimate Way To Make Hybrid Meals

Chaos in the kitchen is something every cook knows about. Even if you're a natural kitchen organizer now, those skills tend to be lessons gained from successfully dispatching some mise-en-place dramas in your past. The processes and practicalities of making food are so varied, with different ingredients and utensils requiring different approaches to storage, preparation, and execution. For many home cooks, just getting organized enough is their focus. As chef instructor Rāsheeda Purdie told HuffPost, "For your day to run smoothly and remain that way, you must implement structure and organize."

Chaos Cooking is a trend that breaks all of the rules, not just about how to cook, but what to cook. According to The Washington Post: "To cook chaotically means to channel the challenges and the possibilities of daily life into your meals, with the same goal of any passionate cook: making delicious food." It should be said though, that the people who successfully embrace the chaos tend to have enough kitchen experience to push past the initial panic that can come from throwing out all of the rules.

Per Tatler, last year, Chaos Cooking was having a surge in popularity due to the trend's irreverent, TikTok-friendly creations. But, according to The Austin Chronicle, the phrase has its origins in two engines of hipster culture — New York dinner parties and Austin's SXSW festival.

The origins of Chaos

In 2012 Edible Brooklyn compared the original Chaos Cooking parties to flashmobs, groups of strangers from the internet who would congregate at a specific place and time to do viral dances. In a similar fashion, up to 50 cooks would descend on the hosts' apartment armed with ingredients and ideas, work together in chaotic cacophony, and leave at the end of the evening with full bellies as well as, hopefully, a sense of connection and community. Dishes were served up in no particular order, people would share spices, techniques, and space. Joe Che, the founder of Chaos Cooking, explained, "I had this longing for that feeling you get when you are at home with your family for the holidays and you're in the kitchen and everyone is just bouncing off each other and chatting and making food, and there's too many cooks in the kitchen."

More recently the trend has begun hitting restaurants. People are falling out of love with the idea of authenticity. Gourmet Traveller called the old reviewer buzzword problematic. Enter Chaos Cooking. Dishes like sushi al pastor and masala mac and cheese have stepped into the gap left by 'authentic' food, and social media is loving it, per Insider. It has been compared to the fusion cuisine of the 80s and 90s, but doing so misses the point. As Avish Naran, founder of Pijja Palace explained to Eater, "The diners need to just start understanding that we're cooking our experiences, not our ethnicities."