Becoming a good cook takes practice, but over time you will become confident and successful in the kitchen.
Method 1. Cultivating Your Inner Chef
1. Seek out reliable recipes. You need to read recipes before you can start to experiment in the kitchen. Even those cooks you know who claim they don’t use recipes, have read their fair share of recipes and even have some saved. A great way to find reliable sources is by researching a specific recipe.
2. Cook several recipes. Once you start to build a repertoire of credible recipes, start cooking. If you are new to cooking, try to cook as much as you can. Most recipes have a difficulty rating and you should use this as a guide and cook easy recipes.
3. Work through a good cookbook. It helps beginners and pros alike to have a printed out, edited recipe in front of them. Today there are several types of cookbooks that range on skill sets and cuisines.
4. Prepare tougher recipes. Once you start to become more familiar with cooking and recipes, you can set out to tackle more complex recipes. You might ruin one or two recipes as you work your way up to become a good cook. The point is to learn and overcome from difficulties in the kitchen. Many recipes termed “advanced,” merely require planning from you and sometimes need to be prepped the night before.
5. Cook all your meals. Improve your cooking skills by forcing yourself to only eat your own creations. This will help you master your favorite dishes, but it will also inspire you to create new flavors. Cook meals in large quantities to eat leftovers at work.
- Cooking all meals takes planning and will power, but you will learn by cooking a lot!
6. Expand your palate. A key to being a good cook is to be open to different cuisines from various cultures. You need to experience a wide variety of flavors to help foster your creativity as a cook. Go to a restaurant of a cuisine you have never tried.
7. Watch cooking shows. Cooking shows are a great way to watch how recipes are made and offer plenty of helpful cooking tips. You can watch the food channel, which is exclusively reserved for television programs catered around cooking and food. There are also plenty of online videos about cooking that range from amateurs to professional chefs.
Method 2. Cooking without a recipe
1. Adapt a recipe. Many times, people who are not using a recipe have already made that dish by following a similar recipe. Once you have made a recipe a handful of times, try to cook it based on memory. By working through memory, you will adapt the recipe into your own dish.
2. Use spices with intention. A well stocked spice rack can enhance impromptu creations.
3. Create a saute. Sauteing is the process of cooking food quickly at a high temperature in a shallow, wide pan. The key to sauteing is cutting all the ingredients into uniform size so that everything cooks evenly. You can saute meat, vegetables, and even fruit. Heat the pan to medium-high for about 10 minutes and then add your favorite oil/butter (2 tablespoons).
4. Learn how to caramelize. Caramelizing is a useful technique that can be used to many ingredients. Caramelizing is all about slow cooking in a pan to bring out the natural sweetness out of an ingredient.
5. Sweat your vegetables. Sweating your veggies is very similar to sauteing, but the temperature you use to sweat is lower. You want bring out flavors while tenderizing the veggies, instead of browning them. Heat your pan on medium-low heat and wait about 10 minutes for the pan to heat. Add the oil of your choice (2 tbs), distribute the oil in your pan, and then add your chopped veggies.
6. Adjust the flavor. A vital part of cooking is tasting the flavor as you cook. If the dish tastes bitter or bland, add salt to the dish. Try out a pinch or teaspoon at a time until the flavor improves. If you think the dish still needs more flavor try adding acidity or spice to the dish.
7. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experimenting in the kitchen won’t always produce an incredible meal. All cooks who’ve took this leap have failed at some point through experimentation. The point is to attempt to move forward into uncharted cooking territories.
Method 3. Prepare your Kitchen and Pantry
1. Organize your space. The best way to prepare for a recipe is by having a clean and organized work space. Begin by cleaning the surface tops of your kitchen and ensure that there are not any dirty dishes in the sink. Keep your cabinets clean and organized by going through them to check for expired products.
2. Purchase decent equipment. The first advice you will hear from cooks on how to become better cooks is to have good knives. Invest in the nicest knives you can afford. It might sound unimportant, but quality knives will expedite your chopping process and make cooking more enjoyable.
3. Plan out your week. The best way to save money and shop efficiently is by planning out a meal for each night of the week. Once you figure out your meal for everyday of the week, you can start to look at each day’s recipe and ingredient list. Compile a grocery list based off your plan.
4. Shop smart. The best way to shop for multiple recipes is to choose recipes that require similar ingredients. This way you can buy bulk amounts of similar ingredients to cover a lot of grounds. You should also consider the amount of processed food you buy and feed your family. Attempt to stay away from lengthy ingredient lists and especially from GMO (genetically modified products) and high fructose corn syrup.
- Shop organic when you have the means to. There are ways of shopping for healthy ingredients on a budget.