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15 Professional Chefs Reveal What the Average Home Cook Is Getting Wrong

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There are plenty of us who believe we’re pretty handy in the kitchen, but like with any skill, the more you do it, the better you get. So from people who do it every day, here are some quick tips on ways you can improve your cooking and baking experiences at home.

#15. Meat water.

“Not thoroughly drying their defrosted meat before cooking. So many people don’t understand why their meat wont form that delicious crust before it’s cooked completely through (esp regarding chicken). It’s because you’re steaming it in meat-water instead of frying in fat.”

#14. Makes my skin crawl.

“Not using a knife correctly. Holding it wrong, chopping like a neanderthal instead of slicing, not using a cutting board. You ever seen someone slice a tomato with a steak knife on a dinner plate? Makes my skin crawl.”

#13. No idea!

“Not following the recipe. I made these cookies it I substituted the baking powder for baking soda, cut the sugar in half, used wishes instead of butter and baked them at 700 because I’m in a hurry. I have no idea why they taste terrible!”

#12. Boil no more.

“That the only way to serve vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli is to boil the shit out of them.

For once, try roasting then in the oven for a little instead, if you can’t have them fresh and as is.”

#11. Like, yesterday.

“BUY A GOOD KNIFE. NOW.”

#10. Batches!

“Putting too much into a single pan. If you’re trying to brown, stir fry or sear, don’t pack it full. It saps heat, and often you might end up steaming what you’re trying to cook. This is something I notice a lot when someone makes me stir fry, and shit’s all soggy. Batches!”

#9. Wait the ten minutes.

“I’m a trained pastry chef who now works as a baker, and I cannot begin to describe how much preheating your oven matters. Food cooks unevenly in a cold oven. Meats, roasts and poultry can’t brown in a cold oven. with baking you use yeast, baking soda and baking powder as leavenings, which – surprise! – all work thanks to heat.

If you’re throwing in frozen, precooked chicken tenders, okay, whatever. but don’t ruin your pot roast over forgetting to punch a few buttons and deciding you can’t wait ten minutes.

Also, if your oven seems off (things take way longer to cook than they should, etc) GET AN OVEN THERMOMETER. You can get ones the clip right to the rack and be done with it. it’ll improve your cooking ten fold to have a properly heated oven.”

#8. More salt.

“Your noodle water needs more salt.

Nope still not enough. It has to taste like seawater.”

#7. All that is holy.

“Tossing meats and veggies to cook in the pan in whatever order as you chop them up.
Cutting produce in uneven sizes or tossing a bunch of different produce on a pan for a one-sheet dinner without considering what size the pieces should be to cook at the same time.
Relying on canned or processed items instead of fresh like premade gravy, canned soup, pre-shredded lettuce, or bottled lemon or lime juice ect.
Not layering flavor by doing things like: brining meat, marinating meat, searing meat, adding a splash or acid/citrus/vinegar, roasting or caramelizing veggies, letting sauces reduce down, basting lean meats with fat, warming up bread/buns/tortillas, ect.
Being afraid to use salt and fat for flavor.
Finally, for the love of all that holy, use fresh aromatics. Fresh garlic and ginger are your friends.”

#6. Shocking!

“People don’t salt their meat enough. When I have people over and they see how much salt I put on a steak they are shocked; tell me it’s too much. Some people even tell me they don’t like salt and to not put any on their steak before grilling. No, I will not do that. Universally my steaks are hailed as some of the best they have ever had.”

#5. You’ll ruin your blade.

“Don’t scrape ingredients off your cutting board with the cutting edge of your knife! Use the back of the knife for that.”

#4. The Silk Road.

“Slow and low heat treats most dishes and preparations well. Also, you can achieve incredible meals with a basic spice pallete. No need to explore the Silk Road for something crazy.”

#3. Let it breathe.

“Last time I saw a similar chef advice post, I learned to let steak rest a few minutes after coming off the grill, before eating. Holy crap, what a difference that makes….”

#2. Life changing.

“Boil spaghetti/other pasta types until it’s still this side of al dente. Drain. Add the pasta sauce, finish cooking the pasta and sauce together. Bene!!

–Italian from Naples, Italy taught us all how to cook pasta when we did it American-style: separately served the cooked pasta, then a scoop of pasta sauce on top. She was aghast. Brought us to the kitchen, started from boil oil-salt water, thru the proper procedure. Life changing.”

#1. Don’t be afraid.

“Don’t be afraid to use herbs and spices…but also be sure to use the right kinds and the right timing!

Some people just throw in a bunch of herbs and they completely contrast each other. Some people throw in their herbs way too early and the flavor gets cooked out and diluted over time.

I suggest looking up good pairings online and experimenting with ones you like!”