What Do All Great Cooks Do in the Kitchen?

No matter if you are working in a professional kitchen or just cooking at home, these are the things you should be doing every time you are in the kitchen.

Keep your knives sharp.

Sharp knives are one of the essential tools to have in the kitchen. Not only do they help you cut and slice food easily, they also allow you to work faster and safer. Sharpen knives every time you use them, then every time you use one, it’s sharp.”

Never put knives in the dishwasher—and dry them immediately after washing.

The dishwasher is a great way to clean and sanitize most kitchen tools, except knives. Especially if you’ve shelled out the big bucks for expensive cutlery, putting them in the dishwasher will absolutely ruin them. Handwashing is the best way to get them clean and remember to always dry them immediately afterward, so they don’t get dull or rusty over time.

Salt and taste while you’re cooking.

To get layers of flavor, it is essential to salt and season as you cook. Taste, season, taste again. If you add salt at the end, it only sits on top of the dish, whereas if you salt while you’re cooking, it will flavor the dish from the beginning, leaving plenty of time to adjust as you go. It is important to salt evenly and high. You might make a mess but you’ll avoid clumps.

Keep a clean work space.

It is all about cleaning as you go. If you clean and load the dishwasher as you go, then the aftermath of cooking for yourself, your spouse and or a dinner party is way less daunting!

Have an extra bowl just for scraps.

The trick for keeping things clean is always having a dump bowl for scraps next to your cutting board. You will work faster and more efficiently, and you can discard all of your scraps at the end.

Always salt your pasta water.

A well-seasoned bowl of pasta starts in the pot. Salt your water so it tastes like broth. Cook your pasta 85 percent of the way in that water, then finish it the rest of the way in the sauce. I recommend you use the pasta water to adjust the sauce consistency and make it the desired thickness.

Know when to use extra-virgin olive oil.

Sorry, but you shouldn’t be using extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and sautéing. Instead, use regular olive oil and save the good stuff for dressings, dips and as a finishing touch for already-plated food.

Repurpose bones and vegetable scraps to make stock.

Those leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps might seem like a waste, but they can easily be turned into a delicious homemade stock. Just cover the bones in water and simmer for at least three hours, stirring occasionally. Then, strain the liquid through a cheesecloth until it’s a clear broth and store in an airtight container for future use.

Toast your spices.

If you haven’t been toasting your spices before adding them to your dishes, you’re missing out on some serious flavor. Toasting spices in a hot pan will wake up their flavor. You can heat up both whole and ground spices, but keep an eye on them because they burn easily.