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15 Professional but Totally Unnecessary Things Chefs Do During Meal Prep

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With the increase in popularity of shows on the Food Network (shoutout to the Pioneer Woman), meal kits, and recipe blogs on the internet, it’s easier than ever to feel like a professional chef at home.

However, sometimes those outlets make us think we need to be too fancy. Thankfully, these 13+ chefs are here to tell you the steps/processes that you can go ahead and skip.

#15. Beautiful grill marks

“Giving the meat a quarter turn a few minutes before it’s done on the grill. It gives the meat beautiful cross hatched grill marks but does nothing for the quality of the meat.”

#14. Frenching

“Frenching. You usually see it on fancy cuts of meat like tomahawk steaks or racks of lamb. It improves the look of the cut, is pretty easy to do and most people have come to expect it when ordering more expensive cuts of meat. This step is unnecessary to me though because the part that is trimmed off is super tender and fatty and delicious, so if I have the option, I request an unfrenched cut.”

#13. Sounds more sophisticated

“Truffle oil. I feel the vast majority of the time it’s added only so that the dish sounds more sophisticated.”

#12. A little fire

“Flambé is bullshit. It’s literally just setting the alcohol on fire that has already boiled off from the dish and doesn’t burn hot enough at the surface to create any Maillard reaction products. I do it to entertain my three year old. He loves it.”

#11. Tiny stems

“Tiny stems in fresh parsley, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, basil etc.

Seperating that last 2-5 mm from the leaf to the stalk is not important and generally speaking, it’s both tender and packed with flavor. But, but, muh atention too detales…”

#10. Zero nutritional value

“Adding edible gold to any food. It does not affect the taste and has zero nutritional value, as it will just pass through your digestive system without being absorbed. Well, at least you will literally be shitting gold after eating it.”

#9. Choking hazards

“Leaving the tails on shrimp for ornament. In stir fries, curries, etc., now I have to get in there and remove something it was actually easier to just take off with the rest of the shell.

Why leave these choking hazards in an otherwise entirely edible meal to be discreetly stashed at the side of a plate or in a napkin?”

#8. Sure, it’s pretty, but…

“Garnishing with fucking micro greens that you have to clean and fucking pick the seeds out of. It takes forever and most people just take them off anyway. Sure, it’s pretty, but spending 45 minutes of my prep time going through a box of them really sucks.”

#7. Peeling

“Peeling carrots and potatoes. Give them a good wash and they’re fine. Hell, potato skins improve mashed potatoes, imo.”

#6. Baker’s napalm

“Traditional French desserts like croquembouche and gateau st honore only exist to make me feel like a failure.

Cream puffs have no business being in a conical shape held up by baker’s napalm.”

#5. No one wants to try and cut into that mess

“the food tower… it may look nice, bit no one wants to try and cut into that mess.”

#4. Suddenly you’re fancy

“Parsley. Put it on anything, and suddenly you’re fancy.”

#3. Plate appeal

“Plating.

High-end restaurants take great pains to make sure meals are plated well and look appealing from a purely aesthetic standpoint.

When cooking at home, I generally don’t put as much effort into the “plate appeal”.”

#2. A few

“Here are a few

Vanilla beans. I LOVE them and they are so complex and beautiful. It’s professional to bring them out in dishes, but really not necessary. Vanilla extract, though not as good. Will work just fine. Especially when a vial of 3 beans costs $10.
Those paper things that go on the bone stumps of a cooked turkey. So useless I won’t even google their name.
Blowing smoke into your cloche dome. Revealing your plated food as smoke bellows out from it and revealing the dish is cool as hell and professional. Though it technically adds flavour, you likely also used the smoke gun earlier in the cooking process to add flavour that it is not needed again.”

#1. Miniature bowls (looking at you, Ree Drummond)

“Putting all the ingredients in miniature bowls.”

Here’s to your next delicious meal at home!