7 of the most useful cooking tips shared by Masterchefs
Whether you like to cook or not, chances are there will come a time in your life where you’ll have to do it. And for some of us, that means learning what to do and which tools in the kitchen to do it with.
Fortunately, there are people with a serious passion for and knowledge of cooking and who also happen to have no qualms with sharing their knowledge. And if you’re in the mood to learn something, cooking skills will be one of the few subjects that’s instantly gratifying.
Redditor u/jellysnake asked a question of chefs in the r/AskReddit subreddit and it got over 13k comments and over 30k upvotes. So, what was the question?
“Chefs: what’s your number one useful cooking tip?”
1. Time your taste tests
“When tasting something like soup or sauce here’s a guide to adding herbs and spices:
• Salt: You can taste instantly. After stirring it in, if it tastes bland, add more.
• Black pepper/dry herbs/most other seasonings: After adding more, don’t taste until at least 15 minutes have passed. These ingredients infuse and release over time and you can really overdo it.
• Beer/wine/alcohol: Alcohol should be added before the other ingredients and simmered. Taste it after 20 minutes. If it still tastes alcohol-y after this, remove the lid and let it cook off more.
• Fresh herbs: Add late and as close to serving as possible (in the last 15 minutes of cooking). These are full of flavor and are generally best added near serving time for best flavor.”
2. Stop playing with your meat
“In general, just leave your food alone while it’s cooking. Stirring and flipping it a lot might feel like you’re doing something but you’re only making it take longer. Just walk away and let it do its thing. For example, if your grilling or pan-frying a chicken breast, wait until it’s half-way cooked before flipping it to the other side. Flipping it more than once slows the cooking process and you won’t get that golden-brown coloring you’re looking for. You’ll also likely dry out the meat.”
3. It’s all about the process
“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.”
4. Cover your eggs
5. Don’t spend a fortune on fancy knives
“You don’t need 10 kitchen knives. Three good knives of different sizes, properly sharpened and cared for, should be all you need. Then, only buy other knives if you have a need for them (like one for peeling, etc.)”
6. If all else fails, keep it simple
“Something with three or four ingredients that go really well together is better than something with 12 ingredients that clash with each other.”
7. Sharpen your knives
“I think about 95% of homes badly need to pack their knives up and take them to a professional sharpener.”