If you’re the type of person who sets off the smoke alarm when you’re trying to boil a pot of water for macaroni and cheese, then becoming a talented chef might seem like an impossible task. However, anyone can master the art of cooking at home if they’re willing to put in the time and educate themselves about the culinary arts.
You might not be preparing restaurant-level cuisine when you first start out, but if you keep practicing and follow the advice of the pros, you can truly improve your cooking skills. Here are some of the basics of cooking at home and how you can become a better chef.
Great Knives Are Essential
No one expects you to run out and buy enough tools to furnish a whole restaurant kitchen when you first start learning how to cook. However, a few great tools are really essential to cooking well. Any professional chef will stress the importance of a great knife. A good knife should be sharpened and made out of quality materials. A good, professional-quality knife will help you to better chop ingredients and prep your dishes. If you are afraid of using knives on your own, take a knife skills 101 class from a cooking class company such as Cozymeal and get yourself familiarized with the basics.
You Should Start Small
If you’re truly a novice in the kitchen, it would be erroneous for you to try and take on complex dishes all at once. Instead, look for cookbooks and recipes that are designed for beginner chefs. You should be starting with things that are simple, such as pasta and egg dishes. These types of dishes will teach you the basic fundamentals of cooking but are still relatively simple for beginners.
Some Ingredients Can Be Purchased Cheaply, Others Should Be Pricier
When it comes to basics like flour or sugar, feel free to purchase generic and cheap options. These ingredients are really the same across the board. While some brands might push artisanal versions of these staples, any professional chef will tell you that there’s no reason to purchase these fancier and more expensive versions. However, when it comes to things like produce or meat, don’t skimp on quality. Cheap and subpar vegetables can really ruin what would have otherwise been a great dish. It’s especially important that you purchase quality cuts of meat.
Don’t Be Afraid To Fail
If you’re truly a novice chef, then chances are that not all of your dishes will turn out perfectly when you’re first learning how to cook. That’s quite alright. Part of learning how to cook is messing up occasionally, especially when you’re trying to prepare complicated dishes for the first time. When this happens, just toss out the ruined dish and start over. When it comes to improving your skills in the kitchen, practice makes perfect.
Take Note Of What You See At Restaurants
Great chefs don’t just view going to restaurants as something they do in their leisure time, but rather as an opportunity to observe and study how other chefs prepare dishes. If you go to a really great restaurant, take note as to how the chefs prepare and plate the dishes served. A great chef should always be learning and studying.
Experiment With Ethnic Cuisine
Good chefs know that food is incredibly diverse. As you progress on your journey of becoming a talented chef, you should be experimenting with different meals from different countries. Whether you’re trying to prepare an Italian dish or a complex Japanese dish, cooking ethnic foods is a great way to improve in the kitchen. A wonderful chef is never afraid to experiment and step outside of his or her comfort zone.
Build Your Collection of Tools
Great knives aren’t the only tools that help when it comes to becoming a better cook. Indeed, great pots, pans and other kitchen utensils and devices can also be essential in any chef’s arsenal. You don’t have to spend a fortune when you’re first starting out. Instead, slowly collect and amass some better tools over time. Watch out for sales at your favorite restaurant supply and department stores.
Show Others Your New Talents
Hosting dinner parties and gatherings is a great way to show off your new skills in the kitchen. Your friends and family members will be hugely impressed by how much you’ve grown as a chef. This is also a great way to enjoy your loved ones’ company and spend some quality time together.
If you follow these tips, you can truly master the basics of cooking at home. Even if you’re not the world’s best chef when you first start out, you can master the art of cooking if you keep practicing. Don’t be afraid of failure when you first start cooking. Occasionally messing something up is how you learn and grow.