If cooking food like a professional chef is on your bucket list. Check out these seven tips from the masters themselves.
Take the heat or get out of the kitchen
This old adage is a golden rule for a chef as temperatures in commercial kitchens can go up to 46 degrees. Combined with barbeque smoke and ovens and tandoors in the same premises, the mercury soars! So aspiring chefs have to tighten those apron strings and keep themselves hydrated. So me chefs keep bottles of lemon juice with sea salt at hand and constantly drink up. Others take ice cold towels warp it around their necks to stay comfortable in their kitchens. An extra special chef tip--apply cornstarch or other moisture absorbing powders to work your way through the kitchen in hot and humid conditions.
Store ingredients properly
Not everything goes straight from the shopping cart into the refrigerator. Professional chefs know how to package ingredients before storing so they retain freshness and flavour. Sea salts should never be stored in plastic containers and grated jaggery should always be stored at room temperature. Apples can stay out of the fridge and tomatoes should be stored separately. The ethylene that tomatoes release will make your other produce go bad faster. Who would have thought?
Know your salt
There is salt and then there is salt. The most taken for granted ingredient in the kitchen is also one which no dish can do without. Chefs know that rock salt is best used for ice creams and flaked sea salt can flavour steamed vegetables and fish. Crystalline sea salt adds the pungent burst to freshly cooked dishes and there are separate pickling salts. If you want to be a chef worth your salt, then you will look beyond the regular table variety.
Some must have ingredients every professional chef must have in their kitchen. Butter, eggs, salt and lemons can elevate grandma’s recipe to restaurant standard. Chefs consider them to be very versatile ingredients which can be used for everything from a casual breakfast to a gourmet dinner. Added with other staples, these must-haves are the building blocks to many recipes. Think of lemon juice added to chillies in olive oil for a chilli sauce that can be spread over scrambled eggs. Or an omelette fried in white butter and seasoned with kosher salt which dissolves evenly on the crust. Enough said!
Wield your knife like a sword
The final look and taste of a dish are determined by the way it is first treated on a cutting board. Chefs treat their meats and veggies with love as they dice, chop, carve and slice them. Their arrays of knives are like swords for a warrior, clubs for a golfer, and brushes for a painter. If you want to be the master of the kitchen, master the purpose and use of the many types of knives. This will help you save time on the cutting board and also and give your meats and vegetables the perfect look each and every time.
Some of the greatest recipes have come about due to mistakes including the Popsicle, the sandwich, ice cream cone or even potato wafers. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Try a spectrum of dishes; attune your palette to different blends and pairing of ingredients. You may not get it right the first or even second time. You never know what amazing new flavour combination can come out of mistakes. Go and start writing your own blog or diary of dishes you try and soon your mistakes on the stove will be an inspiration for inventions.
Plating Secrets of the pros
To plate like a pro always use odd numbers so three cutlets instead of two or four. Use a white background and make sure the garnish you add actually complements the dish. Chefs become artists when they plate their creations as before the food can be tasted, it has to appeal to the eye. A swirl of chocolate sauce, a base of orange marmalade, a brightly coloured pottery tray or a shiny copper dish, all add to the ambience and the aura of the food that is served!
Or you can watch and learn as a group of amateur home chefs go head to head against professional chefs, on The Chefs’ Line starting tonight at 9 PM on Zee Café. The home chefs will be pitted against professionals in real restaurants. Every week, a new cuisine will be showcased so there’s a lot you can learn in the next 13 weeks! This show is about real food and not reality food. It cannot possibly get more exciting than this.
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Updated Date: Feb 12, 2018 19:34:23 IST