I’ve watched enough cooking shows in my time to learn some trade secrets of becoming a masterchef. There are always certain elements in every reality TV cooking show that will separate an amateur cook from a seasoned professional. Follow these five tips and tricks from an arm chair chef to take you from being a home cook to a master chef.
One of the top secrets of celebrity chefs has to be the plating. This is a new term I have discovered from watching celebrity cooking shows and I try to use this term at every dinner opportunity. Height, colour, good use of space on the plate and presentation all seem to make a huge difference.
Beautiful crockery is essential or at the least, buy a matching set of dishes. It doesn’t matter how good your masterpiece looks if you serve it up a chipped snow flake (no dish is alike) set of plates.
The emperor’s new clothes
I admire a wait person who has the confidence to serve you up a lettuce leaf covering up a thinly sliced piece of meat accompanied by what looks like weeds and then charge you the earth for it.
From watching reality TV shows like Masterchef, Top Chef Masters and the like; it seems the less you serve on the plate, the more you are allowed to charge, the more difficult it seems and the more admiring comments you will receive. So serving up small portions will not only improve your chef cred but save you money in ingredients as well.
Don’t be a tool
Like any profession, you need the right tools to do the job. Similar to a hairdresser and her scissors, the best investment you can make in the kitchen is a set of stainless steel knives including a chef’s knife, paring knife and serrated knife. Keep knives sharp and ready for service. The right pots and pans will also aide your cooking.
Invest in a variety of non stick pans such a wide skillet, hot pot, stock pot and roasting pan. Don’t let your inadequate tools hold you back from your master chef aspirations.
Use fresh ingredients
The ingredients you use are a key factor in how your dish will taste. This sounds very basic but it’s amazing how many people substitute quality or fresh food items for pre packaged or processed foods.
While it may be convenient for you to step out to the local supermarket, getting up early and heading to your local fish or produce markets will not only be cost efficient but you will also be getting ingredients that are a higher quality.
It’s easier to cheat and buy pre-mixed sauces and mixes but much tastier to try and perfect your own with the help of a good cookbook. Always try and use fresh ingredients if possible. Herbs like basil, mint and thyme are easy to grow in your own garden.
It’s all in the attitude
Serve your guests a foreign dish with a very hard to pronounce name or put a small serving on a plate and serve it with such confidence and gusto that no one will dare to question your brilliance. There is no place for meekness in the kitchen if you want to be the top dog in the kitchen.
Arm yourself with the right tools in the kitchen and fresh ingredients coupled with great presentation skills and an attitude to match and you’re halfway there to being a top chef.
It’s true that the proof is in the pudding but fake it until you make it and keep on trying to perfect those cooking skills to bring you up to Masterchef status.