Before starting our little Cornish knife company known as Pareusi I worked in kitchens as a chef all over Cornwall for close to 15 years.
During that time I learned some very useful tips that honestly make a big difference.
So grab your glass of wine and feast your eyes upon this list of simple tips that will improve your cooking.
1) Clean as you go - its quite simple really, if you have a clean workstation you will have a clear mind and if you have a clear mind there is less chance of making an error when reading a recipe.
2) Preparation is key - 'Fail to prepare and prepare to fail' in a kitchen your prep or also known as your mise en place is vital, this is where you gather all of your prepared ingredients together in an organised fashion which makes the creation of the dish extremely efficient.
For example if you were to make a French onion soup you would have your onions sliced, your cheese grated, a stock measured and ready in a jug, your crouton pre cut and perhaps your parsley pre prepared ready for garnish. This is just a very brief example but you get the idea.
3) seasoning - just getting your seasoning spot on makes a whole world of difference, one technique to do so is instead of holding your salt or pepper up close to the ingredient you are preparing drop the seasoning from roughly shoulder height, this will give you a much more even distribution and you will also look incredibly cheffy in the process.
Another point is to not just think about seasoning as salt and pepper but to also think about sweetness and acidity, balancing all four well will result in a smack in the mouth full of intense flavour.
4) challenge yourself - being a chef sometimes you have to use your ingenuity and create dishes from only what's in your larder, this really only comes with experimenting and practice, so next time you cook just try to use what you have.
it may end in a few failures but in time you will develop new techniques and the skill to create something delicious from just a few leftover ingredients.
Here is what would go through most chefs when facing this challenge.
What protein do I have? which cooking technique?
What starch do I have? How should I prepare and cook this?
What sauce would compliment this? list in your head the sauces you know then adapt it with the ingredients you have.
What vegetable do I have and how can I prepare and cook it?
Once you learn new preparation and cooking techniques you will be able to just scan around to see what you have left and within just a couple of minutes be able to throw something incredibly tasty together.
5) "Time and motion" - A phrase often expressed to me my a good friend and former sous chef, you may often see in cooking programs that good chefs will have multiple pans on the hob whilst also preparing other garnishes and even plating up. This does take some skill and a strong knowledge of cooking times for different ingredients but it most certainly can be achieved at home.
It's quite simple really, once you have all of your Mise en place gathered, work out what you think will take the longest and quickest to cook, once you have established that then make a start on the more time consuming tasks then work through up to your quicker jobs, by the end of it everything should come together at the end all perfectly cooked and still piping hot.
I hope this is of help to you, we were also thinking of creating a series of YouTube videos based on these tips in a bit more detail, if you think it would be really helpful please like this post so we know.
All the very best Dan at Pareusi.