How to be a Better Cook Part Five – Learn the Ways of the Pros
Professional TV cooks cheat! They’ll steam vegetables beforehand or have a finished dish ready to go instead of waiting for the one they just prepared to cook. They have no choice if they want to complete a full gourmet meal in less than half an hour.
But when you look closely at their techniques, you’ll see that a lot of what makes them faster and more efficient is not “cheating”, but just good practices, and lots of practice.
By adopting the ways of the pros, you will remove one of the biggest hurdles to cooking for yourself, and eating healthier foods, by reducing the time it takes you prepare a meal.
- A Place for Everything, Everything in its Place – Ever notice that TV cooking pros have everything at hand. Before they start to prepare the food, they place every ingredient they will need within arm’s reach. Always read your ingredients list and get them ready before you start your food prep. Leave meats in the fridge if you need to prepare other parts of the dish first. Over time, you can have a set place for ingredients you use repeatedly, like always keeping the pepper grinder on the right.
- Use Lots of Bowls – Instead of just laying out the bag of flour on your counter, measure the amount you need and put it in a small bowl. Lose the bag. Use small bowls to hold any ingredient you can’t keep on your cutting board. When it’s time, you just grab the bowl and add the ingredient to your dish.
- Chop Chop – Being on TV, performance is a big part of cooking shows. Bam! One of the most fascinating performances is the lightning fast way the pros chop vegetables, meat, etc.. Like a machine, what takes you minutes is done in seconds. You might never get that good, but copy their techniques and you’ll speed-up your food preparation times significantly. Be careful though. Notice that one of the pro techniques is to tuck in their fingertips to avoid an accident. But there’s more than technique to fast chopping. You need the right tools too. Invest in good quality knives and keep them sharp.
If there is one thing the pros do to become so good at what they do, and that you can’t do when you start, is repetition. The pros cook every day, they cook for a living, they teach others to cook. That amount of cooking, regardless of their background and talent, makes them better cooks. If you want to be a better cook, don’t be discouraged if you can’t chop like a ninja. Stay positive, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and keep cooking.