Four tips for the home chef who wants to cook like a pro
Cooking shows, blogs and at least two networks aimed at entertaining home chefs and foodies alike, have more people taking on the idea of recreating some of their favorite restaurant dishes at home, rather than going out for these meals.
If you want to be able to prepare meals like a pro, you have to have the right tools. Here are a few tips for the foodie and home chef to get started.
* In many cases, it starts with forging the right relationships. Just as you would build a relationship with a local butcher or fishmonger, farmers market seller or tailor, it's important to find a local restaurant supply
Just because it's a restaurant supply store doesn't mean that you have to own a restaurant or be a professional to shop there. These stores also cater to the home chef and aspiring foodie alike, whether you want professional-quality ovens and cooktops, or countertop blenders and food processors.
* Stock up on good knives. A set of good kitchen knives is an important place to start, because the food won't prepare itself. A lot of specialty stores will sell blocks with a few essential knives from manufacturers, but many chefs prefer to buy open stock - where they can buy their knives individually from different manufactures rather than as a set. Find a reputable store to buy from; many will let you try the knives out in the store to give you an idea how they feel when you hold them and slice with them. Don't be afraid to look for a class to learn new techniques and tips to be more efficient.
* Don't skimp on cookware. Whether you need roasting pans, baking sheets or a set of pots and pans, quality does matter. Look for equipment that will evenly distribute heat to avoid hot spots that can burn your food easily, or prevent it from cooking through appropriately. Is the money you think you're saving from buying cheap cookware worth the taste of poorly cooked food?
* Most importantly, take care of your equipment. You kitchen gear can be the type of things that are passed on to your children and grandchildren if you take care of it properly. With well-cared-for items and a few smart purchases, you can be well on your way to cooking like a pro.