Working as a Chef is hard work. We’re talking about early mornings, long hours, and grueling physical labor all in the name of perfecting dishes to provide the best eating experience possible. But that’s not all!
There are also other high-maintenance chefs to consider, or tough bosses, that make unreasonable demands while offering very little (if at all) credit to their staff.
Despite all of this though, the work is fulfilling. Chefs everywhere have devoted themselves to working as organized and efficient as they can be. Made possible with invaluable cooking tricks — trade secrets, naturally — that they learn on the job or through their own experiences.
Today, Chef Bobby Rahman shares a couple of these amazing cooking tricks to help any aspiring chef learn how to get dishes just right — whether they’re working at their very own restaurant or exploring their culinary goals at home.
Chinois Instead of a strainer
Bobby Rahman: The chinois has a very fine mesh that is perfect for straining large particles from any sauce — ensuring that it’s both smooth and beautiful. I think that it is an underutilized kitchen tool that is worth every penny. Perfect for making any meal look as good as it tastes!
Sugar makes a great seasoning
Bobby Rahman: Dealing with out-of-season tomatoes? Use sugar as a seasoning! It’s something that I’ve experimented with over the years, and there have been no complaints. Just a pinch of sugar is all it takes to make the tomato flavor all robust again.
Add fresh herbs at the end
Bobby Rahman: When cooking with herbs, the form that they are applied and at what point of the cooking process you apply them, is important. Dried spices, for example, are made to be able to withstand long cooking times and thus, are able to add that extra punch of flavor when used in the midst of the process. Fresh herbs, on the other hand, should not be added until the very end so that the fresh flavors can stay intact.
Butter + water
Bobby Rahman: Wondering what glaze to use to make vegetables taste homey and delicious? Keep it simple! Use butter + water (and maybe a little extra seasoning to keep things exciting) and you’ve got yourself a perfectly tasty meal.
Use the right wine
Bobby Rahman: The flavor of the wine that you pair with certain meals and ingredients can really affect the way the overall experience holds out. So, if you have a recipe that calls for some wine on the side? Make sure that you have something on hand that suits the meal.
Bobby Rahman: Salt is one of the key ingredients in cooking food. It helps season your dish and create a flavorful meal that you’ll love to eat, but it can also ruin someone else’s recipe if you add too much salt or not enough when seasoning as needed!
Bobby Rahman: One technique that might come as a surprise to home cooks is when restaurants use butter in sauces or finishing touches on top of other foods like mashed potatoes and risotto which helps add more flavor than usual.
Finish your pasta in the sauce
Bobby Rahman: Cooking your pasta in the sauce means more flavor being absorbed by the noodles and less filling going into dishes than when they are cooked separately from one another.
Taste as you cook
Bobby Rahman: Do not serve a dish that you haven’t at least tried first. Taste-testing is important for making sure that the meal is cooked to perfection. Now, if you want to do it right, try to time it while the ingredients are simmering.
That way, you have time to make some changes — like whether or not it needs flavor. It’s not so much of a trade secret — just common sense. But, unless you make a habit of it? It’s easy to forget sometimes. Just remember that even professional chefs that have been cooking the same recipes for years will still taste the meal they’re cooking — even though the whole process is probably ingrained in their muscle memory!