I bet you’ve spent a lot of time at home since March 2020 because we’ve all had no choice, really.
And I bet you’ve also spent more time than you usually would in the kitchen trying to cook because…well, what else has there been to do, right?
But we can all learn more when it comes to the culinary arts!
Are you ready to get some good cooking advice from chefs and cooks?
Here’s what AskReddit users had to say.
1. Clean it up.
“If you’re using a steel/hone on a blade, ALWAYS RUN THE BLADE THROUGH A FOLDED UP PAPER TOWEL A FEW TIMES AFTERWARDS!
If you don’t, there are small steel particles that cling to the blade that can and WILL come off in the next thing you cut.”
2. Turn down the heat.
“Hotter doesn’t mean faster.
Turning your burners up to 10 for everything will just lead to smoke and half-cooked food with a burned exterior.”
3. A little tastier.
“A lot of the time when people add salt to a dish because they think it tastes flat, what it really needs is an acid like lemon juice or vinegar.”
4. What you need to be a chef…
“Learn how to properly store raw ingredients in a fridge (raw chicken on bottom).
Understand times and temps. It’s possible to stack times and ingredients so that your food is done at the same time.
Drink heavily and get a neck tattoo of a pig or tomato, or no one will take you seriously.”
5. Let it rest.
“When you take steak or pork or lamb off of the heat or out of the oven, always give it time to rest, usually half the amount of time you cooked them.
And I tend to loosely cover them in tin foil.”
6. An important one.
“NEVER put out a grease or oil fire with water.
Smother with a lid or dump baking soda in there.
Also, do not use flour, as it can combust in the air making things worse.”
“You know the knob on the stove that makes the fire come out?
There’s a whole range of settings between off and all the way on.
Temperature control. Temperature… control.”
“Clean as you go!
Done with the cutting board? Wash it or put it away before you move on to the next step.
A clean kitchen makes your life way easier.”
9. The right way.
“Mashed potatoes… NOT blended potatoes. Don’t ever put potatoes in the blender, it will turn into glue
For anyone wondering the science behind it: potatoes contain a lot of starch. Mashing cooked potatoes gently by hand or with a ricer leaves most of the starch molecules intact.
The butter and dairy you add to the mashed potatoes are able to coat each individual particle, making the potatoes creamy.”
10. Oui oui.
“Mise en place.
It’s French for “putting in place” or something like that. It means before you start the actual cooking, get everything you’ll need for the whole recipe out on the counter, do all your prep work (measuring amounts, chopping onions, peeling potatoes, seasoning meat, greasing pans, whatever the recipe says), and put it all within arm’s reach of where you’ll be cooking.
As you become more experienced, you’ll get a feel for what can wait to be done during down time mid-cooking, but even then mise is just less of a hassle.”
11. Let’s make sure it’s not bland.
“Fat, salt, sour, bitter.
If it’s bland, add some fat. If it’s still bland, add some salt. If it’s still bland, add some vinegar or lemon juice. If it’s still bland, add some herbs and spices or green vegetables.
This is even something you can do late in the cooking process to fix a recipe that’s turning out boring–just remember that a little goes a long way. Also there are magic ingredients that combine several of these at once!
For example: olive oil is very fatty and slightly bitter, cheese is very fatty, moderately salty, and slightly sour, soy sauce is very salty and slightly bitter, citrus zest is very bitter and moderately sour.”
12. This is a great point.
“Don’t choose this as a career if you want a social life.
I’ve seen so many talented people drop the job because they don’t get to spend time with their friends and family.
People plan gatherings and parties at the times restaurants are busiest, so you could end up cooking for the people you know but not getting to interact with them.”
13. Good tips.
“Former executive sous chef for a 3 star restaurant. I have also ran a bunch smaller kitchens during covid.
Get good knifes. I recommend Mercer Renaissance as a starter brand. $40 for the 8in Chefs knives, $23 for the 5in utility knife.
Shallots are used extremely often in restaurant kitchens but rarely at home. Use as a substitute for onions for a more mild taste.
Heat pans for 1min before using, use less heat when cooking. Rarely will you ever need to go higher than 75%.
Taste everything possible. Not just your finished product. Taste the spices, salt, pepper, etc all separately before adding them the first time you use it. A lot of people will buy a new spice then immediately add it to their food ruining it.
Knives should be lightly honed before and after each use. Hand wash and dry immediately.
Never attempt to catch anything that’s falling. Not just knifes, if you drop a napkin your instinctive response should be to take a step back and put your hands up and out of the way. This trains your brain so you never attempt to catch something dangerous.
Want to make something more like a restaurant? Odds are you need more salt, sugar, or butter. We don’t care if the carrots we serve are worse than eating actual candy, we just want you to come back.
Just because you like cooking doesn’t mean you will like working at a restaurant. Pay is usually pretty poor unless you work at Michelin star restaurants and it is a hot, high pressure environment. We lose a lot of people who couldn’t handle the pressure of getting yelled at.”
Do you have any good cooking tips to add to the conversation?
If so, please share them with us in the comments.
Thanks in advance!