10 Insider Cooking Tricks Professional Chefs Reveal ONLY at Culinary Schools
Cooking like the pros is simpler than what you actually think it is!
#1 Cooking trick for a juicy delicious meat
Ever wonder what chefs do to get their pork chops and chicken to have that tasty level of juiciness? The answer is -- they brine it! It’s that simple. You may have heard that brining is just for turkeys but NOPE, it applies to all. Soaking the meat in a cold water with salt will give the meat a juicy texture and rich flavor even before you cook it. Not only that, brining helps keep the meat from drying and protects it from overcooking.
#2 Sugar and tomatoes make a good match
Sugar isn’t limited to baking anymore. When you add a couple of pinches of sugar to a recipe that uses tomatoes, you’re going to notice a big difference in the flavor. This is because sugar counteracts the natural sour taste of tomatoes. Some noticed that adding a pinch of sugar to a recipe, with a not so seasoned tomato, made it taste like the dish has been cooked with perfect ripe ones.
VIDEO: 3 More Cooking Tricks and 1 Homemade Spanish Sardines Recipe
#3 Cooking trick for a perfect steak
If you’re among those people who cook steak right away after taking it out from a freezer or a refrigerator then it’s time for you to know this. For a much better steak, it’s better for you to let the steak sit for a couple of hours before you cook it. When you only cook the steak when it’s at room temperature, it’ll cook much more evenly. It takes more time but it’s worth it!
#4 Don’t be stingy with salt
Culinary schools teach this as one of the basics. Most students say that they are almost always getting called out for serving under-seasoned food. If your dish is bland, you just need to add more salt. If you’re hesitant about adding more salt, there’s a trick for you -- you just need to garnish your dish as you continuously cook it while sprinkling the salt from up high. Doing this trick will prevent over-salting and sprinkling the salt in this manner will make the salt evenly distributed throughout your dish.
#5 Cooking trick for the tastiest pasta
Want restaurant-quality, flavorful pasta no matter what sauce you’re tossing it in? Before your pasta is fully cooked, transfer it into the sauce for the last few minutes of cooking. Doing this will help the noodles absorb the flavor and help the sauce cling to them better. If the sauce comes out too thick, add a little bit of the leftover pasta water until it reaches the texture you want.
#6 Olive oil is a good finishing for all your dishes
What do pasta dishes, pizzas, fish dishes, and meat dishes all have in common? Well, aside from being super delicious, they can all be enhanced with a dollop of olive oil. Many professional chefs top off nearly all of their dishes with a sprinkling of this liquid gold. Make sure you’re using a good quality extra virgin olive oil, which will add a flavorful kick.
#7 Cooking trick for a clearer broth
The trick to making the clearest—and tastiest—chicken broth involves lots of chicken and lots of patience. Take your chicken meat—and bones, if you’re using them—and cook them in a small amount of water (just enough to cover them) for at least three hours. Cook on a low heat, and make sure to skim off any suds that float to the top. This will make the stock clearer and tastier. Don’t add your vegetables right away, wait to add them after about an hour and a half to two hours. For the clearest broth possible, strain the liquid through cheesecloth.
#8 Cooking trick for a perfectly-shaped burger patty
This super-simple tip will help you step up your hamburger game—and it takes less than ten seconds. First, toss the patty down hard on your cutting board to force out the air bubbles. Then, press an indent into the center of the patty. These two simple actions prevent the patty from puffing up in the middle and create a nice, even burger. They also keep the burger from bubbling while you cook it.
#9 Cooking trick for a perfectly seared fish
One word: heat. You can’t produce a perfectly seared piece of fish without a piping hot pan. “If you are looking for a sear, you need to bring on high levels of heat. Pros also warn against overcrowding the pan while searing; that could seriously diminish the heat and prevent your fish from developing that succulent brown crust. Keeping the pan nice and hot also prevents bits of the fish from sticking to the pan when you flip it over; when cold, the proteins in the fish are more likely to adhere to the metal.
#10 Nonstick pans aren't as good
They sound good in theory, but nonstick pans really aren’t going to produce the best dishes. If you’re cooking anything that you want to develop some kind of crust—think meat or fish—avoid using your nonstick pan. “It’s a different kind of heat, with nonstick pans. “It’s not quite as hot, it doesn’t get things as crispy since it’s really protecting things from the heat underneath.” The nonstick coating acts as a barrier between the heat and your food, which can prevent it from developing that rich, crispy texture. Don’t toss your nonstick pan altogether, though—it’s still great for eggs, pancakes, and French toast.