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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Novice In The Kitchen? Earn Your Stripes With These Top Tips


When you start to cook, it can be an exciting, if not daunting, experience. Not only are you learning new things, and a skill that can last you a lifetime, but you’re creating something from scratch too. If you’re new to cooking and you want to be able to pick up some quick tips to up your cooking game, you’ve come to the right place. You may not be a gourmet chef right now, but there’s no reason you can’t be - it’s only a matter of time.

Being new to the kitchen can often be a good thing. You have a willingness to learn and to try new things, and you’ve also got more patience than someone who has tried and failed a few times before. But don’t let that dishearten you. As long as you’re got the passion to experiment and the will to see things through, you’ll be able to up your cooking game in next to no time at all.

Start Slow

Firstly, you’re going to want to make sure that you start of slowing. As exciting as learning to cook can be, if you rush into it, you might fall out of love with it as soon as you hit your first hurdle. Because there will be hurdles. Regardless of passionate you are, you will find parts of the cooking process challenging and frustrating. But, if you take your time getting there, enjoy the journey, and take everything in, it will all be worth it.

Regardless of the reasons why you want to cook, going at your own pace really does matter. Say you’re trying to encourage your children to bit fit and healthy, and you want your cooking to facilitate your goal, or you’ve just got your first real job, and your own home, and now you want to stand on your own two feet when it comes to the kitchen too, taking your time will get you to where you want to be.

Learn The Basics

Before you jump in at the deep end and take on a cooking challenge that you’re really not ready for, you’re going to want to learn the basics. You might be able to make a sandwich safely, but do you know how to fry an egg? It’s a simple task, but if you can master the basics of cooking, you’ll stand a better chance of shining when it comes to the more complicated tasks.

So, to get you started, try your hand of some of the basic cooking techniques around. Once you’ve nailed frying an egg (try boiling, poaching and scrambling too while you’re at it), then you might want to see how you get on when it comes to roasting a chicken or making a roux. All three tasks are common in cooking, so it will help to learn them now.

Have Fun

As you get started, you might realise how serious cooking can be. But that doesn’t mean you have to take it all seriously. In fact, you really should have fun. Cooking can be exactly what you make it. If you want it to be tough and boring, then it will be. But, if you want it to be exciting and alluring, it can be too.

The trick it to put in exactly what you want to get out. As you’re trying new things and finding your feet, you might even want put your own spin on things. Sometimes, it could be as simple as adding a new flavour that you’re sure will work, or it could be using a new method of presentation, just for fun.

Understand Flavors

One of the biggest lessons you could ever learn when it comes to cooking will involve flavors. Sometimes, chefs will be a natural - and it can often be the reason that they became a chef in the first place. But, flavor pairings can also be learned. If you’ve never really worked with flavor before, it might help you to start experimenting now. It will certainly benefit your cooking and any recipes you look to create.

Understanding, and being able to balance, flavor will serve you well in the kitchen. Not only will it allow you to be creative with what you’re cooking, it could save you a lot of time and energy when it comes to getting things wrong. Because when you master flavor combinations, you’ll rarely fail at all.

Stop Contamination

As much as cooking is about the food you make, it’s also about the process. Any professional chef will always tell you the importance of keeping a clean and tidy kitchen. If you’re serious about your cooking, you should be able to prepare your food in an efficient manner, and ensure your kitchen is free from contamination at all times. If you’re not sure on what counts as cross contamination, then reading listeria information should help.

Cleanliness is so important when you cook, not only to keep the space clean and clear and avoid bacterial issues, but to also ensure that your creations turn out how you want them too. When you have that in mind, you should never struggle with health and hygiene issues. More specifically, if you clean up as you cook, and work in a kitchen that focuses on efficiency and organization, you should never have any problems at all.

Learn The Techniques

As your skills grow and you feel a lot more comfortable with cooking, you might also want to think about increasing your talents. Many good chefs have incredible skills when it comes to using a knife. You may find that improving your knife skills, also improves your standard of cooking - and makes it more efficient overall. You may need to practice the different skills often to master them, but they’re definitely not impossible to achieve.

To start working on your knife skills, you could take a class. Or, you could simply head over to YouTube and watch a video instead. Sometimes, watching others is a better way to learn. That way, you can see how the professionals do it and then imitate the movements they’re doing. It is important that you focus on safety while you’re learning, however. Using a knife takes work and a lot of knowledge, so you need to make sure that you’re safe while you practice, to avoid any accidents.

Don’t Be Afraid

The more you cook, the more you will find a style that you like. But, just because you’ve found a cooking style, technique, or cuisine that you like, it doesn’t mean you should stick to it. Cooking often involves a lot of experimentation. Staying within your comfort zone may mean that you become a very predictable chef - and your skill set may not increase. So, it can help to move on to trying new things whenever you start to master something.

As you work with new cuisines, you can also work with a lot of new flavors - which should be fun if you’ve started to master how flavors work. You might want to find new recipes for inspiration or think of different and exciting ways that you can add your own spin to old favorites. Either way, don’t be afraid to challenge yourself.

Try New Cuisines

And while we’re on the topic of new cuisines, let’s take a look at the options you have. Say you’re from the south and you like to cook wholesome food, why not try and take on something Italian instead? You might think of pasta or pizza, but actually, when you delve a little deeper into the idea of cooking, and where recipes come from, you can find traditional dishes that you never knew existed.

It can be the same with all types of different cuisines. If you like to cook Chinese food, why not venture out into other forms of Asian cooking? Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of research, and you can find inspiration like never before. When it comes to your cooking, world influences can help. As you learn to cook different types of food, you can take inspirations from all corners of the world to make some of your favorite recipes a little more exciting.

Play With Pastry

When you fall in love with cooking, you can often fall in love with one set type. Whether you like to cook fish, or roast meats, make pasta dishes, or come up with new takes on a traditional, simple salad, you can often become set in your ways, very quickly. Instead, you should learn to branch out.

In professional kitchens, chefs are often given a rotation on every area of the kitchen - whether they want to or not. If you’re going to become a master chef in your own kitchen, you should try your hand at every kind of cooking imaginable - and yes, that does involve dessert. Pastry chefs can often be the most exciting of all. You might find that you take some inspiration from the puddings you made for other types of cooking. Or, it could just be the chef style that you find you love the most.

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