Cooking “Secrets” from Top Chefs

Are you sick of making meals that are just ho-hum? Do you dream of being able to cook dishes that are so flavorful and exquisite that the royal family would be honored to feast on them?

There’s cooking and there’s cooking. One involves the simple process of putting foods together in an edible manner, whereas the other is about creating meals that excite the taste buds, and are magnificent to even look at.

So, how do you get the latter without having to go to culinary school and learn to be a master chef? Just use these simple tips offered by famous top chefs in an interview with Food Network Magazine and your family and friends will soon be singing you praises:

Meal Preparation Tips

  • If you prefer to use fresh herbs when you cook, put some salt on the surface of the cutting board prior to chopping them up says Joanne Chang from the Flour Bakery & Café in Boston, Massachusetts. It will keep them from going all over the place so you have more to cook with than to clean up.
  • When making sandwiches for your meal, Roy Choi from the Kogi BBQ in Los Angeles, California suggests that you make sure your spread of choice (such as mayonnaise, mustard, etc.) covers the entire surface of the bread. That way each bite is a pleasant, flavorful experience.
  • Ina Garten, host of Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics feels that if you’re creating a dish that requires baking, it is best to take the butter and eggs you’re going to use in the recipe out of the refrigerator the night before and let them get to room temperature. This one little, simple move will give you the best quality baked goods you can get.
  • When making a dish that involves using fresh corn, Kerry Simon from Simon in Las Vegas, Nevada recommends that after you’re done cutting the kernels off the cob you use the opposite side of the knife (not the blade, but the dull side) and run it down the cob. This will get all the sweetness that lies under the kernel and will make your dish much more flavorful.
  • Michael Symon, one of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America and co-host on the famous talk show The Chew, says that the best way to extract the greatest amount of flavor from your food is to make sure you use these three things when preparing your meal: horseradish, salt and ingredients that are acidic. So, try to incorporate them when you can.
  • When making fresh salsa that isn’t going to be consumed immediately (like within a half hour), Mark Miller from the Coyote Café in Santa Fe, New Mexico suggests that you rinse the chopped onions under cold water and then dry them with some paper towel. Onions begin to release a gas not long after they’re cut that can make salsa taste not so good. The same is true if you’re chopping them up for other dishes such as fresh guacamole.

Cooking Tips

  • If you’re prone to overcooking pasta, Mario Batali, another of the Iron Chefs on Iron Chef America and co-host of famous talk show The Chew, says you should take it out of the pan about 60 seconds before it’s supposed to be done as it will finish the cooking process when you combine it with the sauce.
  • Missy Robbins from A Voce in New York City, New York warns to not put oil in the pot when you’re cooking pasta. It will prevent your delicious sauce from sticking to the noodles once your dish is complete.
  • When adding oil to a pan during the cooking process, don’t just pour it directly on the food says Anita Lo from Annisa in New York City, New York. Instead, drizzle it around the outside of the pan. That way, it’s nice and warm by the time it reaches the food it is intended to help cook.
  • Sliced garlic is less prone to burn than minced garlic. So, if you’re sautéing then Aarti Sequeira, host of The Aarti Party, feels that slicing is the way to go when you’re cooking with it.
  • If you’re cooking chicken in the oven, place it in a pan on top of thick, raw onion slices to give it added flavor but still let the fat drain off suggests Donald Link from Cochon in New Orleans, Louisiana. That way, when it’s done, you can use the onion and remaining broth to create an extremely flavorful gravy to go with your meal.
  • To caramelize veggies, Naomi Pomeroy from Beast in Portland, Oregon recommends that you heat your oven at the highest temperature possible, then place an empty pan in it for around 15 minutes. Mix your vegetables of choice with oil and seasonings and then set them on the heated pan to caramelize them quickly and easily.

 Healthy Cooking Tips

  • To make dressings that are flavorful, but not fatty, only use half of the mayo that the recipe calls for and substitute Greek yogurt for the other half suggests Ellie Krieger, host of Healthy Appetite with Ellie Krieger. They will taste just as good but be better for your health.
  • Tim Love from Lonesome Dove Western Bistro in Fort Worth, Texas feels that a great way to add flavor without calories is to marinate your meat with a citrus fruit instead of using an oil based marinade. Also, finish your dishes with fresh squeezed fruit juice, such as lime juice, to add a flavor power punch that is fat free.
  • To get the best juice from your citrus fruits, Patricia Yeo from Lucky Duck in Boston, Massachusetts suggests either using your palm to roll it around for approximately 60 seconds, or microwave it for around 12 seconds prior to juicing.

When it comes to cooking, there are so many tips and tricks that the top chefs know that aren’t exactly common knowledge for the rest of us kitchen novices. But, now that you know some of them, you’ll be able to cook dishes that are worthy of 5-star ratings. Won’t your family be so proud?

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About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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