By Brenda C. Hill
When Maralyn and I were writing our first two culinary books, we interviewed over a hundred chefs from around the world. We always asked them what was their favorite kitchen tool.
And, for a tip for other cooks and chefs, we think these tips from the Tasting Table are worth repeating.
9 Things All Great Cooks Do in the Kitchen
Becoming a professional chef takes years of learning and refining techniques, and for those who love to cook as a hobby, your skills improve with every dish you make. Though no two people make carbonara exactly the same, there are a few essential things every great cook does—culinary degree or otherwise.
Whether you’re working in a professional kitchen or cooking at home, here are nine things you should be doing every time you get out the pots and pans.
① Keep your knives sharp.
Sharp knives are one of the most essential tools to have in the kitchen. Not only do they help you cut and slice food easily, they also allow you to work faster and safer. “Sharpen knives every time you use them,” Harold Moore, executive chef at Harold’s Meat + Three, says. “Then every time you use [one], it’s sharp.” Learn how to hone your knife correctly here.
② Never put knives in the dishwasher—and dry them immediately after washing.
The dishwasher is a great way to clean and sanitize most kitchen tools, except knives. Especially if you’ve shelled out the big bucks for expensive cutlery, putting them in the dishwasher will absolutely ruin them. Handwashing is the best way to get them clean, and remember to always dry them immediately afterward, so they don’t get dull or rusty over time.
③ Salt and taste while you’re cooking.
To get layers of flavor, it’s essential to salt and season as you cook. “Taste, season, taste again,” Emeril Lagasse says. If you add salt at the end, it only sits on top of the dish, whereas if you salt while you’re cooking, it will flavor the dish from the beginning, leaving plenty of time to adjust as you go. Chef Jamie Bissonnette also points out how important it is to “salt evenly and high. You might make a mess but you’ll avoid clumps for proper seasoning.”
④ Keep a clean work space.
“I’m all about cleaning as you go,” chef and author Gaby Dalkin says. “When I was recipe-testing my first cookbook, it was an invaluable lesson I learned. If I clean and load the dishwasher as I go, then the aftermath of cooking for myself, my husband or a dinner party is way less daunting!”
I hope you will find them as helpful as I did.
Society of Professional Journalists
Brenda Hill is an Events Blogger with Amigos de La Cruz for the Vallarta Tribune. The weekly covers entertainment, art, culture, and news for Riviera Nayarit,
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