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Your Guide to Becoming a Better Cook

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

If you ever find yourself facing some difficulties while trying to put together a quick and simple mean, don’t worry! This just means there’s room for you to have some fun experimenting in the kitchen and becoming a more skilled cook. Cooking can be a delightful journey of self–improvement, and as you become more confident in your culinary prowess, you’ll enjoy effortlessly whipping up delectable dishes.

A recipe is a suggestion, not instructions

cooking with mise en place and recipe

Recipes are like friendly suggestions, not strict rules. You have the creative license to add extra spice or skip ingredients you're not fond of. The beauty of cooking lies in its flexibility and subjectivity, so there's no need to stress about adhering to a recipe down to the last detail. If, for instance, a family member has an allergy or everyone prefers a bit more kick in their dish, don't hesitate to make your own adjustments to the recipe. Cooking is all about making it enjoyable and tailored to your taste, so don't be afraid to put your unique spin on things.

In the world of culinary creativity, taste-testing as you go along is your trusted compass. If a dish needs a little more seasoning or a touch of magic, you can effortlessly make the necessary adjustments. Cooking is an accommodating and subjective endeavor, which means there's no need to feel bound by the exactitude of a recipe. Your family's preferences matter, and your kitchen is your culinary playground.

Don’t forget the fifth taste- umami


Umami, often described as a savory, almost meaty flavor, has the remarkable ability to infuse food with a profound sense of depth and richness. It leaves behind a lingering and deeply satisfying taste on your palate, making you appreciate every bite. You might be wondering, "Why is it so essential to incorporate umami into my cooking?"

Well, the answer is quite straightforward: umami takes your culinary creations to a whole new level. It has the magical ability to transform ordinary dishes into extraordinary ones. It turns your savory recipes into something irresistibly moreish, enhancing and elevating the overall flavor profile with its unique complexity.

The beauty of umami lies in its distinctiveness. Unlike simply adding salt to make a dish saltier, umami can't be picked up off the shelf in its pure form. Instead, you need to seek out umami-rich ingredients like miso paste, soy sauce, kimchi, or, if you prefer, the often-controversial but effective MSG (monosodium glutamate).

Season as you go

seasonings used in cooking, peppercorns, salt, sesame seeds, oil, bay leaves, spices

Many culinary enthusiasts tend to add seasoning towards the conclusion of their cooking endeavors. However, if you ever find your dishes coming up short in the flavor department, it's a telltale sign that you might not be seasoning your culinary creations quite generously.

Seasoning isn't just about enhancing your dishes; it's the very essence of making your food as delectable as possible. You may have observed professional chefs generously sprinkling seasonings at various stages of cooking, and there's a good reason for this. Seasoning at each step of the culinary journey serves a critical purpose—it allows flavors to gradually infuse throughout the entire cooking process. This means that every morsel, not just the outer layer, gets to enjoy the full spectrum of flavors.

As a cook, you bear the responsibility of ensuring that your creations not only look appealing but also tantalize the taste buds. The secret to achieving this lies in seasoning as you cook. Regularly taste your dishes to guarantee that each bite is bursting with flavor and satisfaction. It's your personal touch and meticulous attention to seasoning that transform a simple meal into a gastronomic delight. So, embrace the art of seasoning, and let your culinary creations sing with flavor, leaving a lasting impression on those lucky enough to savor your dishes.

Mise en Place

mise en place

The term "mise en place" encompasses a fundamental culinary concept wherein ingredients are meticulously prepared and neatly organized before the actual cooking process begins. Picture the bustling atmosphere of a professional kitchen, where everything is prepped, and the skilled chefs are seamlessly orchestrating the assembly of their dishes.

The value of mise en place lies in its ability to save you time and eliminate unnecessary hiccups in the kitchen. By diligently organizing your ingredients and setting up your workstations before embarking on your culinary adventure, you pave the way for a smooth, focused, and enjoyable cooking experience. This approach allows you to channel your energy into the creative process of flavor infusion, rather than scrambling to locate missing ingredients or tools.

So, how can you introduce mise en place into your own kitchen? It begins with a well-thought-out plan before you even ignite the stovetop. Start by thoroughly reading through your recipe and constructing a workflow that suits your needs. Gather your ingredients in advance and undertake the necessary preparation steps like washing, cutting, and dicing. Place each component in a separate dish or bowl to ensure easy identification and accessibility. The result is a harmonious and efficient cooking process, where you can unleash your culinary prowess without interruptions..

Don’t be afraid to take risks, try something new

cooking class with chef and students

Becoming a great cook isn't just about what you already know; it's a fun and ongoing adventure. Stay curious and try new flavors and foods you haven't tasted before. Learn what makes good food taste so delicious.

To get better at cooking, keep learning and improving your skills. You can watch cooking videos on YouTube, read books about cooking, or even take classes to get tips from experts. Don't limit yourself to what you already know.

If you want to challenge yourself, consider attending a cook-off. It's a great way to test your cooking abilities and see how well you can cook. So, keep exploring, learning, and trying new things in the kitchen – you might surprise yourself with what you can create!


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