How To Improve Your Cooking Skills
Learning how to cook can be difficult to someone who’s never had their parents or an adult teach them when they were younger. As you grow older, you’re probably more embarrassed about your skills in the kitchen – or lack there of.
But no matter what level you start out at, mastering the culinary arts can be incredibly important to not only independence but to impress your friends and family.
While, culinary school will teach you all about different flavours, proportions and techniques, it’s not necessary to master the basics. After all, not everybody wants to be a world-class chef.
In this blog post, we’ve put some simple techniques you can use to take your cooking skills to the next level.
Experimenting with a new recipe can be fun and exciting but don’t start blind. Read through the whole recipe before you begin. Do you have all the ingredients or at least a decent substitute? Just as importantly, do you have enough of all the ingredients? No one wants to make a grocery store run in the middle of cooking
You might also want to read the reviews to see if there are any common themes. Do people suggest you add a little bit more salt or maybe a little less sauce? If so, you might want to follow those suggestions.
When you are more experienced, you can deviate but if it’s a new receipt, you will most likely want to stick to what’s on paper for the best results.
Have the Right Tools and Ingredients
It’s hard to improve your cooking skills without your basic ingredients on hand. Making sure your fridge and cabinets are stocked with a variety of fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables, eggs, milk, olive oil and spice options.
In addition, make sure you have the right tools such as the right pots, pans, bowls and cutlery. It’s worth it to invest in some good equipment that will last. It will make cooking easier and more fun.
Start With Some Standard Recipes
Don’t try to hone your craft with a lavish recipe you’ll never eat again. Learning and practicing the basics, like roasting a chicken, sautéing vegetables, and cooking pasta will help you build a solid foundation. Once you’ve mastered those, you can graduate to more difficult recipes to impress that significant someone in your life.
Have you ever seen someone dice a pepper in under 30 seconds on a cooking show? While it looks impressive, its not going to make you a better cook. The best thing you can teach yourself is how to cut vegetables, fruits and meat into the same size and shape.
Uniformly diced or chopped food will cook better and more evenly. Conversely, if you cut your ingredients into radically different sizes, some pieces may come out burned while others might not get enough time on the heat to cook thoroughly.
Take It Slow
You should take your time when cooking, especially important if you are a newbie. Usually, a receipt will tell you how long it should take but we recommend adding additional time. Don’t plan to go for a movie afterwards or give yourself Taking your time to do things right means slowly adding ingredients to a recipe instead of dumping them all in at once or waiting patiently for the dough to rise. will make all the difference in how your food turns out.
This means taking time to prep, too. You should allow time for meat to reach room temperature before it hits the pan can help its proteins soften slightly, making it more tender when it’s done cooking. Fortunately, once you have ample practice, timing your dishes so that they’re ready all at once will be a breeze, too.
Learn to Balance Flavours
If you’ve ever found yourself frustrated by a dish that’s too sweet or too salty, but don’t know how to fix it, learning how to balance flavours can be very helpful. Balancing a dish means knowing what tastes to boost when your recipe is being overwhelmed by a single flavour.
Your final dish shouldn’t be too salty, but a hint of salt is generally a good idea to include in most dishes. Even though your options might look alike, which type of salt you choose makes a difference.
Don’t be afraid to salt to your own taste and go off-recipe a little bit here if you feel comfortable. Everyone’s palate is different, and when a recipe calls for a specific amount of salt, it’s usually more of a guideline. The exception here is when you’re baking where salt plays a very specific role, and it’s important to measure out.
If, once you’ve added all the salt you want and your dish still tastes like it’s missing something but you can’t quite place figure out what the problem is, it’s probably acid. Toss in a splash of lemon juice, plain white vinegar or wine. This will liven up your flavour and brighten up your veggies.
Practice, Practice, Practice
They say that practice makes perfect, and that’s certainly true when it comes to cooking. Cooking meals at home on a regular basis will help you refine your skills. What starts as a less than ideal meal can become your staple over time.
If you need help with your culinary skills, D.I.C.E.D has an online class that will help you master the art of cooking. We provide a 10 month in-classroom program and four months paid practicum time for people serious about a career in the culinary industry. This is a fully sponsored culinary training program for students that qualify.
Every student begins at Fundamentals then proceeds to Intermediate and finishes with Advanced Cookery, Baking and Pastry. All students are employed at our seasonal locations to collect paid practicum hours in a controlled environment.