If you’ve ever found yourself struggling when cooking a more complex meal and thought “I wish I was a pro chef, everything would be so much easier”. Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Lucky for you, there are professionals out there who already went through the things you’re struggling with and are more than willing to share their experience.
Some time ago, Reddit user TakingItOffHereBoss asked professional chefs to share some common mistakes amateur cooks make and how to avoid them – and it’s an absolute must-read for any new chef. From sharpening your knives to refrigerating your cookie dough – check out the most common cooking mistakes shared by pros in the gallery below!
The most dangerous piece of equipment in a kitchen is a dull knife.
SLOW THE F**K DOWN! Just because you saw Gordon Ramsay chopping s**t at a thousand miles a minute on a youtube video doesn’t mean that you can do that. Cut first, go slow, and speed will get there.
Taste as you cook. Continually adjust seasoning (salt level) as needed. Acidity is also a very overlooked aspect of seasoning. Tons of dishes light up with a little lemon juice or vinegar.
Clean as you cook. Most dishes have some downtime while cooking them, use that time to clean up the mess you made.
My pro chef and former chemist friend gave me an earful for putting my tomatoes in the fridge.
He explained how the cold temp. changes the chemical composition and makes them taste s***tier.
I no longer put my tomatoes in the fridge and they are tastier.
Pastry cook here, on the sweet side of things, my biggest piece of advice is to follow the recipe exactly if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. Baking is basically science and if you don’t calculate substitutions right, it’s never going to come out right. Also make sure you have good ingredients. That box of baking soda from 5 years ago is not going to work that well anymore.
If the recipe says an ingredient is supposed to be room temperature, make sure it’s room temperature! Eggs are particularly important for this rule — room temperature egg yolks break more easily and incorporate better into whatever you’re mixing. And for something like cheesecake, or anything else with high fat content, cold eggs can actually harden the fat and make your mixture lumpy.
You take preheating the oven as a suggestion rather than a requirement. it can really affect the texture and appearance, as well as the timings. not preheating can lead to flat/hard cookies and dense/unevenly cooked cakes, among other things.
Pressing burgers to make them cook faster. Don’t you ever do that again.
Also, sharpen your knives. It makes them safer and way less frustrating to use.
Seriously though don’t you ever press that f***ing burger again you bastard.
Now, this one is a weird one, but everyone is guilty of it, even some professional chefs. Stirring. Everyone has been stirring stuff wrong for generations. If you have a large pot of something like stew, soup, or sauce, you probably stir in a circular motion, usually clockwise or counter-clockwise, right? Perhaps along the edge of the pot, or in a spiral, either going inward or outward?
Well, you’re doing it wrong. When stirring, do in one of two manners: First, in small circles, working from the outside and going inward. Similar to how you might draw a cloud or petals on a flower. Or, stir in a figure-8 motion. This is especially useful if stirring in an oval or square-shaped container. Also, stir upwards. How? Angle your spoon so that basically, you’re bringing the part of the food that’s closest to the heat source, up to the surface, and vice versa. This allows for a quicker and more even heat distribution. Also helps to prevent burning.