Part of the "Welcome to Chef" track, this talk is intended for beginning Chef users. A year ago, I was new to Chef, so I came to ChefConf to learn. Now I'm sharing my current strategies, best practices, sketchy hacks and a blooper reel. I'll also lay out my current challenges and answer questions. There will be code, oh yes, there will be code. Topics discussed will include: - Embracing the suck: Why modern tech means always learning new stuff - How being wrong on github made me smarter - Chef-driven monitoring with iCinga, Nagios, and NRPE - How spider-web code can burn you, and how to stop it - Cookbook version control - Data, the "other" D-bag - Reduce, reuse and recycle your infra code - Literally, breaking literally every single server, recently. How I got there, how I fixed it - Useful tools or some hammers are better than others, but ya still gotta watch your fingers - The next steps.