Burnt out on cooking? Or never felt the love to begin with? You can spark a new love for cooking and improve your culinary skills to make your food taste better and make the experience more wholesome.
Being a great home chef isn’t something you need tons of experience to achieve. Cooking should be an enjoyable experience that brings you peace and inspiration. But for many people, it’s a point of frustration and even embarrassment. If you are someone that finds yourself panicking or stressing in the kitchen and not enjoying cooking for yourself and others, then it is time to turn that around.
How to improve culinary skills at home
Whether you want to master big-batch plant-based meals or small home bakes, learning how to elevate your culinary skills at home for more enjoyable meals has some other benefits.
A study published by Cambridge University Press found that cooking up to five times per week increased the likelihood of being alive in 10 years by 47 percent. Cooking can also have cognitive, social, and emotional benefits, particularly for older populations.
It can also save you money—an average meal at home can cost around $4 for groceries per person per meal. Compared with dining out, where meals can be triple that, the savings average out to more than 300 percent.
Cooking can also be the more sustainable option when you’re buying in bulk instead of single-serve containers and take-out meals. And plant-based staple ingredients such as beans and grains are more sustainable than animal products and processed foods.
1. Follow recipes
If you often lack inspiration for what to cook or simply ruin your favourite dishes time and time again due to a lack of knowledge, then the best thing to do is follow a recipe. Doing so will ensure that you take the proper steps to make your food taste its best.
For instance, if you want to know how to cook butternut squash that tastes incredible (just like the restaurants make), then following an online recipe could transform your cooking. You can adapt the recipe to make it your own. You could put a twist on it and use different spices. However, following a principle recipe will ensure that you cook dishes in the best way possible for the best results. (Check out our favorite plant-based cookbooks for some inspo.)
2. Equip yourself with the right tools
Another essential step to take when trying to master your culinary skills is to equip yourself and your kitchen with the right tools. Having the proper tools will make the experience much more relaxing. Nothing is worse than trying to juice a lemon without a lemon squeezer; the pips go everywhere, and your hands get sticky. Plus, it takes a lot longer.
Therefore, having the proper kitchen tools will make your experience more enjoyable and make your food taste as it should.
3. Learn the basic cooking techniques
Cooking at home can be much more pleasurable when you understand the basic cooking techniques. For instance, knowing how to peel garlic and understanding how to cook tofu correctly will make you proud of your creations. You won’t need to stress when a step comes up that you are unfamiliar with.
Instead, learning the correct way to prepare and cook ingredients will make you a master chef. You will impress yourself as well as those that you cook for.
4. Know your ingredients well before you begin
When cooking anything at home, it is vital to know the ingredients you are using. You will want to know how they cook, how they should be prepped for maximum taste, and what tools to use to attain the best result.
For instance, not learning how to cook pasta al dente will likely result in a disaster and a lack of satisfaction. Preparing yourself and researching some facts about the ingredients will ensure that you pursue the cooking experience with more expertise.
Knowing your ingredients and how they work together will elevate your culinary skills and results. Understanding what flavours go together and what foods complement each other’s texture will make your dishes taste incredible.
5. Patience and practice make perfect in cooking
Nobody will be an incredible chef in one session. The more patience you have and the more practice you give to the at-home cooking experience, your results will be better.
It is essential to give yourself time and lots of practice to understand ingredients, gather the right tools, and learn the basic techniques. These things take time. Hence, chefs attend courses to attain the proper knowledge and practices to create incredible dishes.
Be patient with yourself if you make a mistake. Every chef makes mistakes. Trial and error will bring you the best results.
6. Use salts and suitable oils in all dishes
Food tastes much better with suitable oils and seasonings. Salt is the most basic yet most effective seasoning to use in cooking. You can add it to sweet and savoury dishes to enhance their flavours.
Likewise, suitable oils will help improve an ingredient’s flavour and allow it to cook the food correctly. So can some alcohol in certain dishes.
Seasonings and salts are essential kitchen tools that will help you elevate your culinary skills. Make sure you have the correct oils and seasonings before you start your journey to becoming a better at-home cook so that you can master your creations and enhance the flavour of your dishes.
Related on Ethos: