We all wish we were better in the kitchen, but when the dirty dishes are piling up and you’ve just got home from a long day at work it can be tough to imagine slaving over a hot stove.
We understand how tempting the takeout menus in your draw can be, but promise that cooking doesn’t have to take all day! With our top tips, you’ll soon discover that the kitchen isn’t as scary or time-consuming as you first thought.
1. Prep everything!
The absolute best advice we can give anyone – whether they’re an expert chef or a first-time cook – is to make sure you have everything you need prepared and ready to go before you start.
This includes peeling and chopping your veggies, getting all your oils, herbs, and spices ready to go, and even having the pots and pans you need sitting on the oven to save time and energy.
2. Mise En Place
Mise En Place is a term often used in French restaurants and refers to the notion that you should keep everything in your kitchen in a sensible and organised location. Making sure everything has its place and is always returned to this spot will ensure that you’re not wasting time searching for ingredients or the right knife.
Try keeping your herbs and spices somewhere near the oven and your chopping boards close to your work station, so you know that everything is exactly where you need it to be.
The next time you go into the kitchen to cook, think about the spaces you use, and what you wish was closer at hand, then reorganise the room to suit.
3. Clean As You Go
When you’re trying to cook, there’s not much more annoying or disheartening than having a cluttered workspace. Cleaning as you go will make the whole experience far less stressful and saves hours of clean-up.
One of our favourite pieces of advice for being more productive in the kitchen is to always keep a ‘waste bowl’ nearby when chopping ingredients. This saves multiple trips to the bin and keeps your worktops clean and tidy.
4. Keep Your Knives SHARP
And use the right knives for the job at hand.
It’s a commonly quoted fact that dull knives are considerably more dangerous, so buy a decent sharpener and learn some knife sharpening techniques. A good one will last years and make your productivity in the kitchen soar!
Similarly, having the right knives for different jobs is incredibly important and can make a world of difference to your cooking skills. But don’t be fooled into thinking you need a million knives, just a few quality options should be enough to make food prep a breeze.
5. Learn The Basics
Now, this isn’t to say you should only learn one basic meal and stay there, but learning a few simple recipes and methods for preparing delicious food is a great way to start feeling more efficient in the kitchen.
Learn how to make eggs, pasta, rice, and a simple sauce properly and you’ll be amazed how quickly your efficiency and skills in the kitchen will progress.
A great dish to learn how to make (and make well) is a casserole or stew as it offers plenty of opportunities to discover different flavour combinations. We recommend investing in something like Uno Casa’s Dutch oven for this. Cast iron is notorious for lasting long term and can be used for a plethora of options in the kitchen.
You might also want to try a local cooking course. There will be plenty of places that provide training in your neighbourhood where you can make friends and learn how to make amazing meals together.
Just remember, the best chefs never stand still and know that there’s always more to learn and discover. Constantly looking for new recipes and ideas is a great way to keep cooking exciting.
Finally, our very best bit of advice is not to get overwhelmed if you don’t know something. It may be easy to look at chefs as though they’re some kind of super-human, but we promise they’re not!
Start with a few simple meals you enjoy and want to learn how to cook. Get everything prepared and take your time reading through the recipes before getting started.
Even if you only learn how to make one dish initially, learn how to make it well, and use the ingredients properly, and you’ll be surprised how one successful meal can transform into a world of culinary possibilities.