Recently I was preparing an entry for Avanceon’s annual Chili Cook-off (recipe below), and I started thinking about how engineers tend to make good home chefs. The analytical mind craves to understand how things work; this can include cooking techniques and ingredient combinations. Two of my inspirations in the kitchen are Alton Brown (host of Good Eats) and Kenji J Lopez Alt (editor of Serious Eats). Both offer more than just recipes; they provide data driven insights into the cooking process. They explain much more than the how, and dive into the why that I need. If you’re a food nerd like me, I highly recommend checking them out.
While I was idly stirring the pot, I realized that there are parallels between cooking and an automation project. While this analogy might seem like a bit of a stretch (and it certainly is), bear with me. Cooking is a project, after all. Here are some of my musings:
– All projects start with documentation detailing how the system will work. This is essentially the recipe.
– Projects often require specific technologies to make the system perform optimally. Cooking is all about technology and choosing the right tools! You could use a microwave to make a batch of chili, but the results are likely to be less than optimal.
– The ingredients are like the team members. They work together to build subsystems, which later go together creating the final product.
– The cook is the project lead, orchestrating the successful execution of the dish. The cook has to interpret the recipe and coordinate a schedule of tasks, followed by sampling throughout the process to make sure things are on track (like a code review!). Ultimately the cook has the ability to pull certain levers and adjust ingredients to make the dish perfect.
– Commissioning is when everything comes together and pays off, just like plating your dish and serving your family or guests. You finally get to eat your creation!
Are there any common threads between your hobbies and your profession? If so, let me know in the comments below.
Image Source: Freepik