Everyone in the restaurant business has to start somewhere. Even the best chefs today got their careers off to a humble beginning doing the rote, repetitive tasks of washing dishes or prepping ingredients essential to any home cook.
If you’re considering a career in the food industry, start honing your basic cooking skills and developing your palate. That’s a great start on your culinary journey.
Read on to learn about basic cooking skills and how you can improve your skills.
1. Sharpen Your Knife Skills
This means being able to chop, slice, dice, and julienne vegetables quickly and evenly. It also means appropriately caring for your knives and other tools and using them safely.
Review and practice using different types of knives when you cook. This includes a meat cleaver, paring, all-purpose knives, and more so you can maximize how you can prepare your ingredients precisely.
When choosing a set of knives, finding one that is comfortable to hold and use is crucial. The handle should fit snugly in your hand, and the blade should be the right size and shape for the tasks you plan to use it for. Learn how to properly hold, sharpen, use, clean, and store your knives safely and effectively.
2. Learn How to Store Food Properly
If you’re hoping to become a chef, there are specific basic cooking skills you’ll need to know. One important skill is learning how to store food properly. This includes knowing how to keep food fresh, how to thaw frozen food properly, and how to store leftovers to ensure that your food is delicious and safe to eat.
3. Practice Proper Portion Sizings
There are many different cuts of meat, each with another purpose. As an aspiring chef, it is vital to know the different cuts of meat and what they are used for.
Aside from that, portion sizes include the correct amount of food and that there’s no waste. When portioning food, be sure to use accurate measurements, and consider the number of people you’re serving.
4. Practice Cooking with Heat
Knowing how to control the heat source to cook food evenly can help release flavors. Be familiar with various cooking techniques like baking, roasting, frying, and grilling and how to execute them properly. Using fresh and high-quality ingredients, cooking with aromatic herbs and spices, and using techniques like pan searing and roasting can bring out the natural flavors of food.
5. Review Your Sauces and Soups
A sauce or soup can make or break a meal, so it’s essential to take the time to review them before serving. When reviewing your sauces and soups, you should always look for flavor, consistency, and texture.
6. Practice the Art of Mise en Place
Mise en place is a French term meaning “everything in its place.” It is the principle of organizing and preparing all your ingredients before you start cooking. This is a crucial step in the cooking process because it helps you stay organized and prevents you from forgetting anything. It also saves time in the long run.
Why Every Aspiring Chef Should Learn Basic Cooking Skills
Learning basic cooking skills is vital for aspiring chefs because it gives them a foundation to build more complex culinary skills. It also helps aspiring chefs better understand the science behind cooking and how to apply these culinary tips and techniques.
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