What are the ways to become a better cook?
Have you ever tasted food from services that provide catering in Manila, Davao City, or wherever, and it was so good that you thought to yourself “I must learn how to cook this!” There are plenty of really good cooks out there who don’t do it for a living, but remember that catering companies are professionals at what they do!
The “good stuff” can only be made by good cooks, and good cooks are those who constantly seek to improve themselves just as much as they improve their dishes. All it takes is skill, a good palate, and the sheer amounts of determination and perseverance.
If you feel you are up to the task, and have the appetite for it as well, here are some tips to get you on your way to becoming a better cook!
You know the old adage: “there is no better teacher than experience.” No matter how many cookbooks or recipes you read and even memorize, it will surely all go to waste if you don’t put them into practice.
Don’t hesitate to make the same dish over and over again; repetition can actually be good for you because not only will it help you master that certain dish, but the constant practice will also reinforce your basic techniques such as chopping, sharpening your knife, or seasoning properly. By having a firm grasp on the basics will you only be able to understand the complexities of the more complicated dishes, so honing them is truly to your advantage!
Also, take this opportunity to learn simpler recipes for other dishes. There are many ways to accomplish this task, so long as you have the patience and appetite for it.
With this way, you’ll always have something new to put on the table for everyone’s culinary delight.
Don’t be afraid to broaden your horizons. This piece of advice applies to two facets of the culinary experience – the cooking and the eating. For the former, it simply means: experiment! There’s no harm in trying out new combinations that you think may be good. As a matter of fact, you could potentially be losing out every time you skip on a bright idea. Also, once you’ve got the basic foundation of cooking, try not to rely on other people’s recipes too much. Feel free to add or subtract whatever just to see if that improves the taste.
As for the latter, it means to be open-minded with what you eat. By tasting other exotic dishes, you’ll be able to inform yourself of their tastes and integrate that into your own!
You may rationalize that that old, slightly dulled knife you’ve been using for a year does the job, but why settle? Sharpen that knife, or get a better one! If necessary, get more chopping boards – separate the ones for meat and fish, for fruits, and for vegetables. Have a set of mixing bowls, dry and wet measuring cups, and measuring spoons. Get pots and pans that you will actually use; don’t just use one for everything. There’s a reason why these tools exist, so use them. Remember that kitchen implements are a chef’s best friend – by using the proper tools you eliminate the risk of accidents or mix-ups and shorten the preparation time by augmenting the work.
Also, always make sure that your equipment in the kitchen is in good working condition. You wouldn’t want to mess up your masterpiece due to faulty equipment. Besides maintaining its conditions, you should also maintain its cleanliness. With clean equipment, comes food that’s equally clean in taste and presentation.
This simply means to have as many ingredients in your dish as you wish. Being a cook gives you the ability to determine how much of which are you going to place in your dish. While knowing the exact amount to put in your dish seems ideal, it’s all in your generosity that really counts for action.
Though generosity seems like a positive factor in cooking (which really is), there’s always the risk of putting too much of one thing in your dish. Think about it, anything can serve as allergens nowadays, which can cause an unpleasant dining experience for your guests. Know when to give too much and when to give less.
Ingredients can be a variety of choices for you, ranging from vegetables, fruits, meats, and even spices. For the first aforementioned two, make sure that when using them as ingredients for your dish, they are always properly washed and cleaned. That way, you’ll avoid the risk of contaminating your guests with unwanted diseases.
When you want to make a certain dish like macaroni and cheese, lacking any ingredient that’s vital to the dish is a big no-no. For this, make sure you have the macaroni, the cheese, the milk, the butter, and all other ingredients that make up the dish as a whole.
This goes with every other dish you plan on making. You wouldn’t want your guests to miss out on the full experience when they taste your food.
While having your ingredients with you is a big factor in cooking, knowing exactly which to use in any particular segment of cooking can be a huge advantage you. Understandably, many ingredients look identical to one another in terms of appearance, and even taste in some cases. But if you know which is which, you’ll definitely be on your way to becoming a better cook.
After everything has been served and eaten, there’s always the matter of cleaning up your kitchen. Not only will doing this make you a better cook, it also shows that you’re a studious individual with a penchant for cooking and a love for order.
The last tip is one that you should have fun! Becoming a better cook isn’t all about flipping the fattest burgers or tossing the freshest salad – it’s simply about creating good food for yourself and for others.
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