Your definite guide for all the tips, tricks, techniques and tools you’ll need en-route to becoming a pro home chef
As a career-driven lady, finding the time to cook some seriously good food has always been somewhat of a hassle for me. Throw a little bit of confusion regarding the tools I should opt to use and pretty soon things seem to steer off on a dead-end road.
But here’s the deal – Anyone can become a kitchen professional:
I learned a few amazing tricks and tips that really helped me make the most of my time, use the right tools, and essentially, whip up a meal that went above and beyond at impressing my dinner guests.
Anyone can become a kitchen professional, and armed with the right info, you can do it in no time at all.
In this whopper of a series, I’ll be talking you through just about everything you need to know, including how to choose the best knives for cooking different dishes, what type of cooking knives are available and off course how to use them and where to find them.
Okay, need a disclaimer here:
I don’t know about you, but I definitely don’t intend to become a professional chef anytime soon, but I do love having kick-ass skills in the kitchen, so my advice will probably suit all you foodie home cooks that want to make the most of their time in the kitchen and serve up some seriously good food.
Since I’m not sure what you do or don’t have in your kitchen, we’ll just cover the basics of how to best make use of what you’ve (probably) already got in your kitchen.
The Rules to become a kitchen professional
Here are my top tips to maximize the potential of standard kitchen items like the fridge, the oven, your cutting knife and your cutting board.
Rule #1 Thou shalt not over clutter with too many knives
Essentially, you ONLY need 2 very good knives. We call these our besties in the kitchen: the Chef’s Knife (or Santoku) of about 6 to 12 inches and the Utility Knife of about 4 to 7 inches.
Armed with these two beauties you’ll be able to accomplish just about anything from cutting to peeling and anything in-between. These two knives should be the first two knives you purchase if you don’t already have them, and then you can build up your arsenal from there.
A little later I’ll be discussing different knives in detail, showing you everything you need to know from the steel to the blade and more. We’ll also look at the different types of knives to get the job done in any style of cooking, but for now, just make sure that you’ve at least got your basic knives in the kitchen.
Rule #2 Thou shalt cherish cutting boards
Cutting surfaces are a big deal in the kitchen, and keeping them in the best shape is essential towards extending their lifespan and getting the most from them.
To keep your hands (and the board) from moving around as you cut, always place dish or paper towels underneath the cutting boards.
I don’t care if you use to do it, but from this moment onwards, no meat shall be cut on the wooden cutting boards, unless off course you want the bacteria from the meat to get stuck into the wooden board.
Yes, I also love my bamboo and artisan-crafted board, but I use them for veggies, bread and serving duties only, sticking to plastic dishwasher-safe boards for all the other unsanitary stuff.
Rule #3 Thou shalt not abusive the fridge
A fridge was invented to keep your food cold, and guess what? They work at their very best when they’re packed full, working more effectively and efficiently to quickly cool down any new foods that get stored in there.
It’s also super important to just check the seals of your fridge and freezer once a year to make sure they’re not leaking out cold air and wasting energy.
Rule #4 Thou shalt value the power of an oven
Ovens can waste a huge amount of energy when they’re not being used the way they were intended to, and there are some things you can do to prolong its lifespan and get the most out of it.
It’s super important to make sure that the seals around the oven door aren’t leaking, and turning the oven off a few minute before the cooking process is done is another great way to save on energy, as the residual heat will finish cooking up the food, but you’ve stopped letting the oven consume energy in that time.
This seems like a no-brainer, but do keep the oven door shut! Your oven loses up to half of the residual heat that has built up every single time you open that door. For the sake of saving time and money, just set the timer and take a break.
Live by those 4 rules, and you’re set to depart on a magical adventure of culinary delight in your own kitchen, but you don’t have to stop here.
For now though, I’m going to call it a day. I really hoped that you’ve enjoyed this intro into the world of becoming a professional in the kitchen, whether it be a home or a restaurant, you’re bound to be a little more on top of your game after this “lesson”.
Coming up next, we take an in-depth look at different types of knives, showing you your options when it comes to the best slicers and dicers in the industry.
Finally, we’ll have a special section just for specific uses such as knife gift sets (that actually work), knives with serious slicing and dicing in mind and a guide to knife sharpening.