A Glug of Oil

Easy and delicious recipes including midweek dinner ideas, English and world cuisine.

How to Cook Like a Chef At Home

You don’t have to go to culinary school or work in a professional kitchen to cook like a pro at home.

Believe it or not, when you cook in a restaurant it is much like working in an assembly line, anyway. Creativity happens before service when you are testing recipes.

Chef chopping on a board
Main image by Max Delsid at Upsplash

The rest of the time is like being in the firing line at the front lines. So, to be able to cook like a chef at home really doesn’t need to involve any training.

With a few tips and tricks, you can recreate the meals from even the most upscale restaurant in your own home.

In this article, I will go over several ways that you can bring the restaurant home and impress your family and friends.

Find the best quality ingredients

More than any technique, talent or imagination, the best meals are created when you use the finest ingredients. When you use the best products, you don’t need to do much to make them taste good.

This starts with finding local purveyors and making a relationship with them. When you have a good rapport with your local butcher, fishmonger or greengrocer, then you will inevitably be given the best products they have available.

If you don’t have time to do your shopping by going to several different stores, you can order online or belong to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) in which the best in-season vegetables are delivered to you.

When it comes to products, you have to use what the cooks themselves look for. Meat that was raised ethically usually tastes better as it was fed high quality food and treated with respect.

This results in nicely marbled meat. And this only comes when you seek out the best of the best.

And when you have a good relationship with your butcher, you don’t have to understand the difference between Wagyu beef vs Kobe beef as they will teach you all you need to know about the products.

Practice, practice, practice

Take a recipe from your favourite cookbook or from your favourite cooking show and perfect it. Cook it so often that you end up getting sick of it.

This may sound dramatic and defeats the purpose of wanting to cook well if you aren’t going to enjoy the food. But, it is a valuable way to learn how to cook.

Most chefs got to where they are by doing the most basic things so often they can do it in their sleep now.

You should do the same by making it a point to get really good at one or a handful of recipes so you can then use those techniques or concepts into other areas of your cooking repertoire.

Then, once you have those dished perfected, pick a cuisine that you want to master and practice making those recipes exclusively.

After a while, this repetition will produce dishes as good as any chef cooking the same food. After all, this is exactly what they do to become the chefs they are. It just takes practice.

Taste as you go and season accordingly

If you cook without tasting your food at various stages of the process, it's like trying to go from point A to point B by only looking at the map once. You may think you’re going in the right direction but end up getting lost.

When you taste your food as it cooks, you have an idea of how the process is going and can make adjustments early on. If you aren’t on the right track, then when the dish is finished and it doesn’t taste right, there isn’t much you can do.

Seasoning your food takes on the same premise. As you add things to the dish you may need to re-season. For example, if you are adding potatoes to a stew after the stew has already been seasoned, then you will likely need to add more once the potatoes are in.

This is because they will dilute the stew and throw off your perfectly seasoned broth.

Make your own stocks

Homemade stock is far superior to anything out of a can and those cubes are simply salt bombs that have no place in a kitchen in which you want to elevate your dishes to chef level.

When you make your own stock, you are in full control of the ingredients and can customise the way you like. This alone will make any soup stew or sauce taste professional.

Take the time to make up large amounts of homemade stocks and broths and then freeze them so you always have some on hand.

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