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Culinary School Grads Offer Great Cooking Tips They Didn’t Learn in School

You can’t learn everything in school, you know?

No matter what the subject, you have to get some hands-on experience (sometimes over and over again) to learn little tips and tricks that make a job or a project easier.

And that goes for cooking as well!

Let’s get smarter about cooking with some friendly folks on AskReddit.

1. Don’t forget to clean.

“If you’re a home cook always clean up after your self while you’re cooking.

You’ll thank yourself after you’ve eaten and you’re full and you don’t have a sink full of dishes and stuff to put away everywhere.”

2. Don’t do it!

“A falling knife has no handle.

If you drop a knife, get the hell out of the way and let it hit the floor. Washing it is easy enough.

Try to catch it and you could be visiting the emergency room.”

3. Recipes.

“Recipes are a road map.

You don’t have to follow them exactly, its ok to deviate.

Unless you are baking, in which case, follow the recipe exactly.”

4. I’ll have to try that.

“You can use the stem of broccoli. Just peel, slice and fry it in the pan.

It’s delicious.”

5. Keep it hot.

“Professional chef here.

Hot pans make a world of difference.

Never start anything in a cold pan.”

6. A time-saver.

“Take a small hand towel and either loop it through a belt loop or between your waist and your belt so it hangs over your leg.

As you move around, then, you always have something to wipe your hands/your instruments on and you don’t need to go out of your way to do it!”

7. Pasta hack.

“When making a sauce for your pasta, you should add some of the water you used to boil the pasta into the sauce.

This will help the sauce bind better to the pasta and make it taste better.”

8. Use your senses.

“Pay attention to all your senses.

Sautéing things like onions sound different at different stages. More of a hiss at the start as the steam escapes settling down to a crackle once all that’s left its vegetable and fat.

Similarly everything you cook will have subtle changes to the way they smell as they cook. There have been many times when I have been multitasking and my nose has alerted me to check on whatever I have in the oven.

I’m not talking about smelling burning but just the subtle changes as certain stages of cooking are reached. Eventually it becomes second nature.”

9. I did not know that!

“Add about a half of a tablespoon of sugar to your chili or spaghetti sauce.

It takes some of the acidity out.”

10. Skip it.

“Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not for frying things!

It has a very low smoke point and will break down.

For higher (but still not very high) heat, you want regular Olive Oil, not Extra Virgin.”

11. A substitute.

“You can use soy sauce or fish sauce as a substitute for salt for a better umami taste.

Also, because you’ll need less due to the concentrated flavour, it’ll naturally be less sodium.”

12. Get it all lined up.

“Mise en place.

Have all your stuff lined up and ready to go before you start.

You don’t want something to burn because you’re busy looking for the tablespoon or opening a can of something.”

13. Good advice.

“Learn cooking techniques instead of recipes.

Don’t approach recipes like they’re magic spells in the Harry Potter universe. If you wiggle your nose wrong or put in a bit too much of some  seasoning you’re not going to end up with a completely different dish.

Alton Brown does an incredible job of teaching a cooking technique and then showing you a recipe that applies that technique.

If you learn a process instead of a rote recipe you will know how to cook dozens of dishes, and it’s really the only way to develop skills in the kitchen.”

14. Take care of that knife.

“Always scrape the ingredients from the cutting board into a pot with the back of the knife.

It will help the blade stay sharp longer”

How about you?

Do you have some quality culinary tips for us?

Tell us what you think in the comments!