Updated: Jan 19, 2021
Let's face it, not everyone can be a grandmaster chef. Cooking for some people is a chore while cooking for others can be an art. Today, however, we will focus on the cooks who do not think before execution and actually want to become better at cooking and serving their meals. Planning is everything in the culinary world. Where would we be without Mis En Place? Meaning, everything in its place. One of the key factors to producing a five-star meal is in your preparation. Every ingredient does not have to be super expensive or take hours in the kitchen to prepare. The key to a successfully prepared dish is the technique and the order in which you execute each component of your dish. There are some things that are forbidden in any serious chef's kitchen. To complete one of these mistakes can be the difference between you getting fired, or quitting for getting yourself utterly cursed out! lol. Let's dive right in. Here are my top 3 mistakes of an inexperienced cook:
Not reading or knowing a recipe before starting
This is simply a waste of your time. If you are seeking to create a dish for your family, friends, or even yourself, it is not enough to simply read the recipe in my opinion. A recipe could mention adding the wet with the dry ingredients, but it may fail to mention sifting the dry ingredients, which is a very important part of the baking process. I would say after reading a recipe, go visit YouTube and find a tutorial on how to make this recipe. Seeing the meal being prepared brings the recipe to life and gives you a better understanding of what the recipe is asking you to perform. No one who is truly hungry wants their meal to be a product of trial and error! Delicious meals are planned and executed with purpose.
Omg! I have seen some of the best ingredients destroyed by novice cooks. When you cook vegetables, they should still have much of that vibrant color that comes with their raw state. Cooking vegetables is about preserving the nutrients that come with them. The cooking process already destroys some of those nutrients, so lesser cooking times may help. When I think of broccoli, I want to see GREEN, therefore, your vegetables are overcooked if they are brown or black. Grilling is an exception, being that a great char looks absolutely amazing on a corn on the cob. I understand not wanting to serve undercook proteins, still, we cannot condone killing the meat a second time in the cooking process which not only dries it out but also causes the presentation to look bad. The keys to successfully cooking proteins are to know their temperature times for being done and proper cooking techniques such as searing, marinating, grilling, baking, and so on. Don't assume that cooking your chicken until its 185 degrees will render a great tasting product. Instead, know your temperatures, cook your proteins to the desired temperature and be sure to let them rest 15 minutes before cutting into it.
Overcrowding a pan when sautéing
To keep your foods crisp and free from clumping or cooking unevenly it's important to place the proper amount of food in your pan. This is especially important for presentation purposes. Overcrowding your pan can cause all of your vegetables to become clumpy and mushy. This is not good for presentation purposes because many people eat with their eyes first. It's very important for a dish to taste good however, making sure your dish looks appetizing builds up better expectations and makes the dish more tasteful in my opinion. Make sure you use the appropriate size pan depending on how much food you need to sauté. If you will need to sauté in batches be sure to place just enough vegetables in your pan and be sure your pan is hot enough before adding any ingredients. It's best to season your vegetables after they have cooked unless you are cooking with spices to help bring out their fragrances.