How to become a good cook

How to become fluent in the kitchen

Hello, I am a personal trainer for your kitchen. My goal is to elevate your comfort level in the kitchen by replacing effort with skill.
Sharing information on cooking methods (rather than recipes) is what I do to help you think like a chef. 
My focus is on beginner and novice cooks who —for whatever reasons— want to cook better and have it become second nature (an automatic pilot mode) when they step into the kitchen.” 

  1. get to know the food you like—in order to expect a known outcome (vegetables, meats, fish, legumes, grains, etc). Spend time at the Farmer’s Market, at the grocery store, and online —get to know:
    • their seasons
    • different ways to slice/dice/chop/cut them
    • do they need to be peeled
    • how fast/slow do they cook
    • can you buy’m frozen
    • the list goes on, perhaps you can think of a few more to add here
  2. have a basic understanding of cooking methods —to expect a known outcome. This includes time and temperature, too. Here are a few of them:
  3. know these basic cooking techniques —to expect a known outcome (I recommend: a cooking class with me; and read Harold McGee’s “On Food and Cooking”)
    • knife skills
    • whisking  (using a whisk)
    • stirring  (using a spoon, or tongs)
    • flipping (using a spatula, or tongs)
    • taste testing
    • finishing
    • the list goes on, perhaps you can think of a few more to add here
  4. have a basic understanding of herbs and spices (I recommend: Jill Norman’s “Herbs and Spices”)
    • Herbs:  leaves
    • Spices:  everything but the leaves
      • seeds = anise, coriander, cumin, fennel
      • berries = peppercorns
      • roots = ginger, turmeric
      • bark = cinnamon
  5. get to know a variety of condiments –these are items added at the tail end of cooking, or at the table. They have distinct flavors, colors and textures to enhance or complement a dish. They are generally “prepared” seasoning agents–  most times put in jars for a long shelf life:
    • chutneys
    • ketchup, hot sauce, chili paste
    • mustards
    • capers
    • olives
    • pesto
  6. get to know a couple of dishes from your favorite cuisines
    • know their names
    • know the components: the color, shape and size of the food items in a specific dish
    • know the cooking method that was used to make it. Once you start looking at the way in which it was cooked, then you’ll probably see a pattern — perhaps you like braised foods more than steamed foods, or stir frys.

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