Cooking is essential; everyone should learn this fantastic skill for a nutritious and fulfilled life. Even if you are a great chef, there is always room for improvement. If you want to be a better cook and get better at cooking, continue reading this until the end.
Some of the best ways to be a better cook and get better at cooking are investing in good kitchen equipment, reading the recipe thoroughly, tasting the food to make sure the ingredients are rightly added, making everything from scratch, practicing cooking, signing up for a cookery course, and knowing the ingredients.
Through some easy techniques and strategies, anyone can be a great cook. You have to believe in yourself and follow your instincts. Cooking is an art, and you can master the art with lots of practice.
Today, we will learn all the possible ways to be a better cook and get better at cooking. So, without any further ado, let’s begin the delicious conversation.
What's In The Post
What Makes Someone A Good Chef?
As Per one Quora post, a good chef is devoted to serving and satisfying others. I agree with this point because I have seen many chefs who get extreme happiness when someone enjoys the food they make.
A good chef should have a passion for cooking and love their work. Remember Monica from F.R.I.E.N.D.S and how much she loved cooking, whether at home or her restaurant? She had the qualities of a good chef, and everybody loved whatever she made. Now, some more qualities make anyone a good chef. Let us have a look at those such qualities :
Without any passion, no one can make tasteful dishes. One of the most essential things every chef should have is a passion for cooking. A passionate chef can only deliver delicious dishes as they commit to the quality of the food. They know that they love what they are doing, so everything is excellent, like art.
Being a chef is different than bossing around and just planning the menu. A chef has so much responsibility, from planning the dishes to making it with others. Their work is only complete once the customer is satisfied. They need to be energized and ready for all kinds of food emergencies. So, a good chef will need energy to function and make delicious dishes.
3. Leadership Quality
As I already said, being a chef is not bossing around. A good chef should have good leadership skills so they can not only direct everyone on what to do but also help them carry out their responsibilities. From servers to assistants in the kitchen, a chef needs to coordinate with everyone and ensure that everybody is efficient in their work. This is only possible if you have leadership qualities.
Cooking is an art, and art is all about creativity. Whether it is being creative with recipes or plating, a chef should have this particular skill. Creativity is also a skill, and with practice, anyone is a master in the same.
A chef needs to multitask all the time. From assembling the ingredients to making the dish, a chef has to be present everywhere. They need to assist the other assistant chefs and give directions to waitpersons. Not only in the kitchen but many times, chefs need to check in with the customers and know whether they are having a good time. It is a challenging task to be a good chef.
6. Business Knowledge
If you think that learning cooking is enough, then you are wrong. A good chef knows how to cook and has business knowledge. Being a chef is not only about running a kitchen but also about running a business. One needs to make sure they are making enough profits and strategize the plan per the market status.
Being a chef is not all fun and games. It is a vital role with a lot of hard work. There can be times when everything can be tiring and hectic. A good chef should be able to cope with such days gracefully. Even if things in the kitchen go wrong, one should keep calm and find the solutions patiently.
8. Focus on Detail
Focusing on details is an essential task for a chef. Whether it’s about the customer ordering, the recipe of the dish, or the plating, a chef needs to be very careful with every detail to deliver great food and experience to the customer.
9. Open to critics
Even if you cook well, there can be people you might need to familiarize yourself with your dish flavors and notes. Therefore, one needs to be open to criticism and not retaliate if someone has suggestions or complaints about the food or the service.
10. Decision Maker
A chef needs to have decision-making skills. They run the kitchen, and all the responsibilities and power lie in their hands. They must be quick and efficient in decision-making, whether about the food or the restaurant.
11. Team Work
A chef is always a team player, as no one can complete all the tasks individually. Even great chefs need helping hands, so they must understand the importance of teamwork.
12. Responsible For Each Plate
You are partially correct if you think being a chef only means preparing good dishes. A chef is responsible for every single plate served to the customer. Therefore, you must sign every plate that leaves your kitchen. Be sure what every dish consists of and deliver everything with the utmost quality.
How Can You Improve Your Cooking Skills?
Now that we’ve explored what makes a good chef let’s focus on how you can enhance your cooking skills. I have gathered valuable information to help you on your journey. Here’s a comprehensive list of tips and strategies:
1. Learn Skills, Not Recipes
If you think that if you gather lots of delicious recipes and are a great chef, then you are wrong. You need to learn the skills and techniques to improve and cook well. Once you master the skills and techniques, you can try any recipe, even the complicated ones.
2. Invest In Your Equipment
To make your dish delicious and flavorful, apart from using great ingredients, you must ensure you use great equipment. Every big and small piece of equipment should be good quality, from frying pans to whiskers. This will ensure that the food is well-cooked with the proper equipment.
3. Get Experimental
The secret of mastering cooking skills is to be open to experimenting with food. It would help to be confident to play with different ingredients and flavors. Therefore, try to experiment with foods and recipes, and you will discover something new that will be delightful in taste.
4. Mise en place
If this word is too fancy for you, don’t worry, as I will simplify it. Mise en place is a French word that means “putting in place.” You need to ensure the ingredient is ready before authentic cooking. From chopping to grinding, everything is ready so that you don’t have to prepare the ingredients while your pan is heating. This will help in hassle-free cooking, and you won’t miss anything.
5. Read The Recipe
Read the recipe thoroughly before you start cooking. You might be wrong if you think looking at the recipe is enough. You need to be familiar with the recipe. And it won’t kill anyone if you look at the recipe once or twice while you cook. This way, you will avoid mistakes and stick to the exact recipe.
6. Start With Whole Spices
If you know about cooking, you also see the importance of whole spices. The entire spices bring so many flavors and atoms to your dish. Therefore, it is crucial to start your cooking with whole spices. This will ensure that each ingredient combines earthy and aromatic herbs perfectly.
7. Taste While You Cook
They are tasting while cooking is an incredible hack to make sure that all the flavors are in the right place. You can taste after seasoning the food or adding star ingredients and then balance the flavors easily.
8. Know Your Ingredients
An essential step in cooking is to know your ingredients. If you know what element will react with what flavors, it can work in your favor. Knowing your ingredients is like a superpower; you can turn things around whenever you want.
9. Start with a Classics
To learn great recipes, one has to start with the classics. So, if required, make the classic dishes or sauces and marinade, and then try upgrading your level. This will ensure you will learn the basics, and you can always experiment with the complicated ones.
10. Make Everything From Scratch
It is always best if you cook everything from scratch. The flavors will be fresh and enacted if you make everything from scratch, from marinades to stock. This will not only elevate the overall taste, but you will master the little things in the kitchen. So, if making an English trifle, make some custard from scratch. It won’t be a big task, but it will surely make your dish better and tastier. It is also best to avoid store-bought pre-med ingredients like sauces and enjoy authentic flavors.
11. Learn How to Stir-fry And Other Things
Now, if you think that stir-frying or roasting is an easy task, then please rethink. Stirring, frying, roasting, or even baking foods requires excellent skills. You need to learn the basics of such a process so that you can cook your food to the utmost perfection. You can burn or spoil your food if you need to pay attention to this particular skill.
12. Practice Makes Perfect
Practicing cooking occasionally is the only key to being a better cook and getting better at cooking. Let’s start with small and simple dishes. Practice and master them. After this, you can upskill yourself and learn more dishes and recipes. Practicing and learning from mistakes can change your cooking game.
13. Sign Up for a Cookery Course
If you need help practicing cooking, you can even get expert help. Sign up for a cookery class and learn everything from the basics to the advance of cooking. You can sign up for online or offline courses, whichever suits you, and take a big step in becoming a better cook.
14. Take Care Of Your Knives
You are highly mistaken if you think only ingredients are crucial in making any dish. Equipment, especially knives, is essential to make your cooking smoother and better. Different kinds of knives are used for other purposes, and you must at least know about them. Also, keeping your sharp knives is highly recommended to avoid any struggle while cooking.
It is crucial to cook food in a clean and tidy place. Even if we are cooking, there can be a lot of mess, and you need to ensure you clean while proceeding. This way, you can have a hygienic surrounding while you cook, and less cleaning will be left after you cook.
16. The Art Of Balancing The Flavors
When you taste a dish and find the flavors well-balanced, you know it was made by a great chef. If you want to make good food, you must know the art of balancing the flavors. The dish should never be too sweet, spicy, sour, or bitter. Even if you add something extra mistakenly, you should know how to eliminate the different flavors from the dish.
17. Know The Texture
After tasting, the next important thing in any dish is the texture. Every word has some specific texture that tells the quality of the food. If you are making soup, it should be smooth and slurpy. On the other hand, if you are making cookies, you know there should be a great crunch in every bite. The texture is crucial as it adds to the overall experience of the dish.
18. Importance Of Acid
I had never tasted some food and felt something needed to be added. That missing note can be of acid. Make sure you add the citrusy flavor to some of the specific types of dishes and make the flavors come alive. You can use vinegar or citrus fruit like lemon or orange. Acid is essential to bring the flavor out and make your bland food tasteful.
19. Presentation Matters
You can make a delicious dish; still, only some people in the room would be tempted to eat it because of poor presentation. Hey, it is vital to plate your dish nicely. This enhances the overall look of the food and draws people to eat the dish. Make sure you make the word look as delicious as it tastes, and then you are the master in the kitchen.
20. Know Your Heat
While cooking, you should be mindful of the heat. Some recipes are cooked on low flame, whereas some need high love. You should understand and know your heart. It depends on different recipes or food items. For instance, soups and stews are simmered until cooked. Chicken or meat is roasted on high heat. You can learn this with time and patience.
21. Keep Staples Handy
Keeping the staples handy is the best way to make your cooking more accessible and smooth. This way, you can be quick as a cat and always remember everything that needs to go into the dish. So ensure you keep everything near and use it when it is correct.
22. Take it Slow And Steady
Cooking is all about patience. Whether it is learning to cook or cooking, everything takes time. It would be best if you were very patient with every aspect of cooking. As it is said, slow and steady wins the race; similarly, slow and steady makes a great dish.
23. Don’t Overwork Your Food
If you think adding ingredients will make your dish more flavorful, you need clarification. Less is always more. If you overload ingredients, then the flavors of the container will be lost in translation, and you will wreck the masterpiece. Keep your food manageable, and try keeping everything simple.
24. Master Your Signature
If there is one dish that no one else can make like you do, then be a master of the dish. You need to own the word so that whenever and wherever someone mentions the plate, they know that yours is the best one. Make it your signature dish, and let everyone enjoy the flavors.
25. Use Measuring Cups And Spoons
You may think that you know all the measurements of the ingredients, but then overconfidence can spoil everything for you. It is best to use measuring cups and spoons, especially if you are baking. It is best to have everything in the required amount, as too much of something can kill the dish.
26. Follow Your Palate
Some certain dishes and cuisines come under your palate. These foods are your specialty as you love the flavors and know how to cook them, and you should stick to them. Yes, it is excellent if you keep experimenting and trying new things with food. However, you must follow your palate. If you don’t like the rosemary notes or want more mint flavors, go for it. It would help if you did not cook something that you don’t like.
27. Add Umami
Umami flavors are primarily found in savory dishes with meat dishes. You should ensure you know what and how to flavor your dish umami. Everybody loves this flavor, and if you know the secret to the taste, you already have achieved a milestone as one requires great experience in mastering the umami flavor in the dish.
28. Know When to Salt
Now, if you know when to add salt to the dish, you truly have mastered the cooking skill. Adding salt is a big deal, but it significantly impacts. The timing of adding salt can either make or break your dish. Some dishes are best when salted initially, but some words need salting. That is why it is vital to learn when to salt.
As we are at the end of this fantastic and fun conversation, I am sure that you will make a great chef. With a dash of passion and a pinch of dedication, you can make the right recipe and make the customers ask for more and more. Make sure you follow the mentioned tips religiously, and you will certainly master the art of culinary scenes. I hope you have an incredible journey in cooking. I will be back for some more such conversations. Until then, bake some cake.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the basic skills required for cooking?
The basic skills needed for cooking are :
2. How to master basic cooking skills?
You can master basic cooking skills by practicing and learning from the experts. Understand the basics of cooking and learn all the cooking techniques to master the recipes.
3. How to be great at cooking?
If you want to be great at cooking, invest in good kitchen equipment, read the recipe thoroughly, taste the food to ensure the ingredients are rightly added, make everything from scratch, practice cooking, sign up for a cookery course, and know your ingredients.