Do you taste what you're making as you're cooking? If you do, congratulations: This is a just what chefs do when they are in the kitchen. Making sure what you're cooking is cooking as you want it to is essential in the professional kitchen. But all those little bites, tastes, dips into a sauce, samples of the sirloin... they add up. They may not feel like a meal because you're not sitting down, but they count.
During the time that he was losing about 90 lbs. (down from 280) chef Alex Stratta became very conscious of every bite he took on the job. "I dip a spoon," he told me during our Smart Chefs Stay Slim book interview. "You don't have to taste a whole scallop." It was one of many strategies he employed to take the weight off.
It is instructive: Watch watch you eat when you're cooking. Marc Murphy entertains at home often, and finds that by the time he is ready to serve, he is no longer in need of the meal he is serving to his guests. He might have a glass of wine and that's it. I'm trying to be aware when that is the case for me. Limit those bites, or count them as part of the meal.
Still a third chef confided that his secret was switching from tablespoons to teaspoons when he is sampling -- a 2/3 calorie reduction. My version: Keep those baby spoons from when your children stop eating mush; they are the perfect size for sampling. (Related: I've used the measuring cup from my son's childrens Tylenol to measure out appropriate doses of tequilla -- for me, not him.)
I'm not saying don't taste your creation -- on the contrary, cooks who don't taste what they are putting out reguarly get voted off reality shows. But don't have a whole meal before you put out a whole meal.