Zen and the Art of Dishwasher Maintenance


I have this habit of carrying around a Leatherman Wave, a cool multi-tool. I use it for about every imaginable thing in the kitchen.

Can’t find the key to the paper towel dispenser? I can shim that open in no time. Need the can opener taken apart and cleaned? Done and done. The grease catcher on the flattop is stuck shut and you have no idea when the last time someone bothered to clean it out? Be right there and have that SOB off in a jiff.

This guy is Zen
  • This guy is Zen

Over the years I learned that the chef has to be a jack-of-all-trades. While it might be easier to just call a fix-it guy, I was typically way too busy to wait. I needed my oven back right now. I only nearly blew up the kitchen one time. The gas should be shut off before one starts messing with knobs… apparently.

Before the Leatherman, I would dig into a project with an “ignorance is bliss” attitude. No kitchen has a fully stocked tool box. Some operate on a meat hammer and duct tape. Heck, I remember asking a manger for a screwdriver to fix a dishwasher and he showed back up with a cocktail. While the drink was appreciated, I decided to use an old restaurant standby, the silverware.

Taking apart the dish machine with a butter knife was a personally satisfying moment. The water had stopped pumping because a skinny red straw was stuck in a pipe. I had to remove all sorts of gadgets and gizmos to get it out.

I found the whole act of dishwasher maintenance to be somewhat Zen like. I could focus and not focus at the same time. While I certainly did not find enlightenment while fixing the dishwasher, I did learn how to remove the soap pump from a Temp Pro 2000

Randy King is a chef and likes to think deep thoughts about being poor. Click to follow Randy on Facebook.