As a Professional Chef of 20 years, I am constantly asked for my best cooking tips and hacks, and I want to share just a few of them with you today. This email could be really long, as I am sure I have a couple hundred, but for now I will share my top 10!
Here are my top cooking tips:
1. Never put cold meat on a hot surface. Let the meat sit at room temperature for 20-30 minutes before cooking. Need to warm it up FAST? Put it in a ziploc baggie and place it under warm running water.
2. Never use a fork to turn your meat. This will pierce your meat and let the juices out. Use tongs or 2 spoons. Also, move the meat as little as possible while cooking to ensure even heat distribution.
3. Always let your cooked meats rest a minimum of 5 minutes before cutting into them. 10 minutes is even better. This lets the juices redistribute, and juice = flavor.
4. When cutting any onion or shallot, chew on mint gum or suck on strong mints. I find that the stronger the mint flavor, i.e. peppermint, the more effective it is.
5. Always use a very sharp knife. The duller a knife, the more that you will have to “saw” at the food, which greatly increases the likelihood of an accident.
6. Invest in a good, electric, knife sharpener. Sharpen your most used knives at least once a week. Remember, sharper=safer.
7. Have a wide variety of knives. Different types, and sizes, for different jobs. I always recommend 2 different lengths of chef knives. 2 different lengths of serrated knives, a boning knife, and 2 good paring knives.
8. Salt is absolutely necessary is some recipes, as it draws out the moisture in foods. In baking it is often used as a leavening agent. Before you go ditching the salt, make sure it’s not necessary to the recipe!
9. Hold your hand like a claw when cutting, and make sure that your fingertips are curled underneath your knuckles. Your knife should run directly across your knuckles, minimizing the chance of cutting your fingers.
10. Use wet measuring cups for wet ingredients, and dry measuring cups for dry ingredients. This is especially important in baking, as it is an exact science, and using the incorrect measuring cup, and alerting the ingredients by even the tiniest amount, can render your creation a total flop. Confused about which is dry and which is wet?? The wet measuring cups are the glass pyrex ones with a spout. The dry ones are the measuring spoons that nest together.
I hope you find these tips helpful, and I can’t wait to hear how you use them!