Lucky for you, you don't even have to leave your screen. Here's a bunch of great advice from chefs, restaurant workers, home cooks, and bakers who weighed in on Reddit with their most vital, easy-to-remember tips to instantly improve your culinary skills.
1. Come on, jerseycowboy, who has the time?
If you're using a recipe, read it all the way through carefully a few times before you start cooking. Missing a line like "let sit overnight" is the difference between eating tonight and ordering a pizza.
2. According to RoastyToastyPrincess and every movie tagline ever, you've got to know the rules… before you can break them.
don't start tweaking the recipe on your own until you've made it the way the recipe says at least once.
3. Kuosen said it's okay to drop acid(ic ingredients).
If your dish is well seasoned (salt and pepper) but seems like it is missing something, try incorporating an acidic element to brighten it up! It could be Lemon/lime juice, balsamic vinegar, Worcester sauce...anything that will add a bit of an acidic note to your dish.
4. TerrifiedMoose would like to remind you that water transmits heat faster than a smoldering hunk.
ALWAYS pick up hot pans or trays with DRY mitts or towels. Any little amount of moisture will transfer the heat throughout the mitts ot towels reaaalllllllllllyyyyyyy quickly.
5. Baker aussiebutters has a trick that's great for burns but terrible for sandwiches.
Not a chef but a baker .... best thing you can buy is aloe vera lotion and keep it in the fridge, for when you inevitably burn yourself.
6. SpaceCowboy58 says there are things you can do with rice besides just heal a wet smartphone.
Properly cooked rice is miles above minute rice in terms of texture. Either learn how to cook it in a saucepan, or buy a rice cooker. The latter is more convenient, especially when you have to think about cooking the rest of your meal.
7. This one from chefranden is the easiest to follow advice of all time.
Real Cream and Real Butter
8. Here's a good one from doitpow, a real flour child.
Measurements are largely ballpark/subjective. Except flour. Flour to other ingredient ratio is the difference between a pancake and an actual cake.
9. This tip from RedRedRoad is a big time and stress-saver, and it also makes your kitchen look like a cooking show, which is super fun.
I'm not sure if home cooks do this or not, but the best lesson a chef can learn is utilizing 'mise en place'. French for 'everything in it's place'.
Meaning: before you cook anything, prep all the ingredients, have them neatly organized and measured/weighed out in separate containers. Follow with a thorough clean of the kitchen.
This way, when you start to cook, it's only a matter of throwing in the ingredients at the right time. This can be applied to both cooking and baking.
If anyone wonders how restaurants turn out meals so fast, this is why. All the prep is done before a meal is prepared, which saves tons of time.
By doing this, you avoid risks of overlooking things due to having to chop or prep ingredients on the fly.
10. Just like the parents of teenagers are always saying, McFeely_Smackup encourages you to give the meat a rest.
Almost guaranteed that you're overcooking your meat.
meat will continue to "cook" after you take it off the heat, typically rising about another 5 degrees in the center. If you want medium rare, and you take the meat off at medium rare, you will eat a "medium" steak.
11. This guy tells you all the oils you should use and when.
You fry in Peanut oil, you use Canola on your flattop, you use Olive in your salad dressings and everything you put in a pan you chuck butter in with it. Those are the rules.
12. Remember MSG? The food additive that supposedly poisons you but is also delicious? According to tyrrannothesaurusrex, only the latter part of that is true.
Add MSG to your savory food. Seriously it is a magic ingredient and should be considered almost as valuable as table salt. The '90s anti MSG fad has been debunked. It's a natural amino acid which is found in everything from cheese, to meat, to soy sauce, to chicken stock. It will make your food taste amazing, so do yourself a favor.
13. This tip from EMG_GUY is dull.
A sharp knife is a safe knife
14. Be like re_Claire. Think of the cheese. Save the cheese. Save the precious cheese.
When adding cheese to a white sauce, let the sauce rest for a bit before adding cheese. If you add the cheese in whilst it's too hot, the cheese will go grainy. You can always slowly. Ring the temperature up once the cheese is melted in but it's hard to rescue grainy cheese sauce.
15. It's not even Halloween and Haelx thinks it's cool to put spooky bones into your food.
Also, always salt your water at the very least when cooking rice or pasta, and if you want more flavor, use stock. Or better, make your own stock. My best risotto has been made with homemade chicken stock, you put the bones in water with whole onions, herbs, spices, everything you want, and then use it on your risotto rice. So much better.
16. DrStephenFalken has "dr" in their user name, so they're obviously smart, and even though they don't have to save money because they're a doctor they totally do.
Plan your food out to save money and time. Even if it's for two or three days.
For example, say you're making chili dogs on Monday, You'll have left over onion but that's okay because tomorrow you know you're going to make chicken soup and can use the onion for that. On Tuesday, Go ahead and throw your chicken for chicken soft tacos that you're having on Wednesday into the water. You'll flavor your soup even more and then you can pull your "Wednesday" chicken out of the water, pull it off the bone and then marinate it overnight in your favorite seasonings. Now take your chicken soup chicken and throw that into the water and finish up your soup.
On Wednesday, you have your chicken already to go, so you have an easy meal to make. Now you have left over chicken and rice. Make a cheesy chicken casserole Thursday.
Little things like that will save you hours each week and possibly thousands of dollars over the course of a year. Also by planning your food out there's little waste so you'll be helping the world as well.
17. FoodmongerBrett meant to do that.
Been a Chef for most of my life, and the most valuable thing in a kitchen is having a back up plan in case you screw up. I make many mistakes, but I turn those mistakes into something delicious, and nobody knows I fucked up.