Over the past decade television shows that are centered around food have increased immensely in viewership. There are your classic cooking shows where a chef will walk you through a meal, talk shows based around food such as; “The Chew” and food competitions in which unknown chefs showcase their talent. Unfortunately it’s frustrating when you attempt to replicate these delicious meals and realize that you’re no Rachel Ray. Cooking like a chef takes a pinch of patience, a half cup of talent, and a whole lot of dedication. If you’re serious about cooking like a chef, follow these five rules to whip up a meal that looks as good as it tastes.
Rule #1: Practice Makes Perfect
If you’ve created the picture-perfect cookie that’s moist, round, and not too crispy; chances are, it wasn’t your first batch. If you want to really wow your co-workers with pumpkin bread or make it almost impossible for your family to say no to your pecan pie, you have to practice. Sure the chefs on television make it look easy, but that’s because they’ve been practicing for years. They know the exact amount of flour to butter ratio to use and know exactly how long to bake their creation for. Why? Because they’ve made their baked goods so many times. So don’t get discouraged if your coconut macaroons don’t come out great the first time. As you continuously make them, you’ll figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Rule #2: Buy Fresh
You can’t make an exceptional Cobb salad if your ingredients aren’t fresh. Using soft tomatoes or brown avocados will not make anybody ask for seconds. When you can, it’s important to buy fresh ingredients especially when it comes to fruits and vegetables. Numerous restaurants boast buying organic, locally grown foods. This not only means it passes fewer hands from the farm to your table, but it doesn’t have a chance to go bad.
Rule #3: Prep. Prep. Prep.
I will say it again, Prep! Always prep your dishes whether you’re making baked ziti or an apple pie. If a recipe calls for butter at room temperature, make sure the butter is at room temperature. Sure you can take a shortcut and heat the butter up in the microwave or use really hot water as opposed to boiling water, but chances are the dish won’t come out exceptionally well. A great chef knows when to follow the instructions and when to substitute ingredients.
Rule #4: Take Your Time
Rushing can cause you to forget a step, add too much seasoning or not enough. To ensure that you make the best dish possible, take your time. Start prepping early and shoot to finish a few minutes ahead of schedule. Chances are the cookies need a few more minutes in the oven, or the water takes a few extra seconds to boil.
Rule #5: Don’t be Afraid to Take Chances
You don’t have to follow the recipes word for word. In fact, most chefs don’t. They use their intuition and past experiences to guide them. Did the recipe call for one teaspoon cinnamon, but it wasn’t enough the last time? Add another teaspoon. Did you overdo it with the entire bag of chocolate chips for your friend’s party a few weeks ago? Only use half a bag. Think that that looks like too much flour? Get rid of some. As you cook more and more, you’ll become more comfortable substituting. Eventually you will find what works for you!
Remember to prep, take your time, and don’t be afraid to take chances! These are just five tips that will help you cook a meal that is not only delicious, but rivals that of famous chefs across the country. And remember; practice, practice, practice!