The Beginner’s Guide to Becoming a Good Cook

Posted on Oct 15 2014 - 7:33am by burntsalad

Being a good cook means more than just throwing something in the microwave and setting the timer. To be a good cook, you’ll need to get used to working with all kinds of food and appliances, and be confident in the way you cook and serve meals. Nobody is born a naturally good cook; it takes a lot of determination and effort to get things spot on. Whether you want to appear on a cooking program, or impress your friends, this guide will help get you on your way to becoming a good cook:

Start off Small

You won’t be able to cook perfect Victoria sponges and other complicated meals straight away. You’ll need to start off small so you can get used to different foods, tools, and appliances before moving on to bigger things. Cooking can look easy, but if you aren’t careful all manner of things can go wrong. You could set the kitchen on fire, make one hell of a mess, or something even more terrifying. Things you can start off cooking that aren’t usually too hard are omelettes, steaks, and stir-frys. With these meals, it’s basically just a case of getting timing right and using ingredients that work well together.

You can find lots of recipes and tutorials online, as well as instructions on most packets. Follow them and you can’t go wrong.

Learn How Appliances Work

You’ll need to learn how a variety of appliances work if you want to become a good cook. There’s the microwave, the oven, the slow cooker, blender, and anything else you have in your kitchen. Make yourself familiar with them so you know their purpose and how you could use them in your cooking endeavors. The more knowledge of appliances you have under your belt, the more delicious meals you’ll be able to put together.

Have The Right Tools

All good cooks have good tools. You’ll need decent cutlery, a good set of knives, heavy based pans, a food scale, and perhaps other tools that could make your life in the kitchen easier. Make sure you know what the tools are for and how to use them. Which knife is good for which tasks? Which pan is best for cooking which foods? You’ll find cooking much easier once you know things like this.

Read Plenty of Books

There are lots of books out there on cooking. Some are even written by professional chefs, so get your hands on some and do your homework. You can also look online at sites like http://www.goodfood.com.au/, for example. It isn’t hard to get a load of free tips and recipes if you just do your research.

Watch Cooking TV Shows

Cooking TV shows always make delicious recipes – I always wish I was on the panel that gets to taste the dishes afterwards! You’ll learn all about different kinds of food on these shows, how to cook them, what works and what doesn’t, and so on. You may even find that somebody on one of these shows inspires you to begin a career as a chef!

Work on Your Technique

There’s a technique to cooking. Work on the amounts of ingredients you use. Work on the way you cut food and what you cut it with. Work on the temperatures you use. There are a number of ways you can alter your technique to improve the way your food turns out. If you constantly strive to improve your technique, you can’t go wrong.

Cook Every Day

We all need to eat every day, so you need to cook every day. If you’ve ever purchased a simple microwave meal for your dinner, get out of this habit now. Cook for yourself every day, no matter how simple. Make the microwave meals you bought, but from scratch. Make soup from scratch. There are a number of quick meals you can prepare if you don’t think you have time to cook anything elaborate. The more you cook, the more fun you’ll find it too!

Practice Presentation

What’s the point in being a great cook if you’re presentation is awful? Nobody is going to want to eat your food! One day, you’ll probably want to show off your cooking skills to family/friends. Make sure you impress them with your presentation skills too! People eat with their eyes as much as they do with their mouths, so make sure you take pride in this part. Bear in mind that food always looks better on plain plates, as it shows up the colours better. You can go for unique shapes if you want something fancy. Practice laying different elements on top of each other too. There’s a great skill in making something look like it just fell on the plate in a good way. If you want a more rustic feel to your meals, you can always serve on chopping boards and slates. This is a fantastic trick that many up market restaurants use!

Learn What Flavours Work Well Together

Certain ingredients and flavours were made to be used together. Some can even be used together if you want to create something unique and quirky, in a way that nobody would expect. For example, chilli chocolate is a food you wouldn’t expect to work, but it does! Feel free to experiment, but always remember which ingredients compliment others the most.

Use Only the Freshest Ingredients

All good cooks use the freshest, most high quality ingredients they can afford. You can get certain ingredients from discount stores, like vegetables and fruit, but meat should be bought from a high quality seller. If you can grow your own fruit and veg, that’s even better! You’ll never get a more fresh, homegrown meal than one made with ingredients you grew yourself.

If you take all of these tips on board, you’ll be well on your way to learning the ins and outs of cooking. Have you ever looked at your grandma and wondered why she’s such a good cook, and who taught her all of those things? It was years of practice!

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