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10 Cooking Tips We Learned in Culinary School

Cooking school may not be right for everyone, but there are some culinary school tips and techniques that anyone can use while cooking at home, without investing in a white chef's coat!

Join us as we unveil the top 10 delectable tips we've acquired during our time in culinary school, each a culinary gem that's ready to infuse your cooking endeavors with a touch of professional finesse. Whether you're a seasoned home cook or a curious novice, these insights are bound to add a pinch of gourmet magic to your culinary creations.

Here are 10 tasty tips we learned in culinary school:

1. Keep Your Knives Sharp

The first thing we did in culinary school was learn how to chop carrots and onions. The second thing? Learn how to properly sharpen a knife.

It’s important to realize that a sharp knife makes chopping so much faster and easier. (Plus, you don’t need to use as much force when your knife is sharp, which means it’s safer, too.)

Plenty of kitchen specialty stores will sharpen your knives for a reasonable price–so it’s definitely worth bringing them in when they’re getting dull.

2. Opt for the *Really Good* Knife Set

Speaking of knives…

Knives are probably the most useful thing in your kitchen, so it's important to get a high-quality set that will last you a long time. And, whatever you do, don’t put your cutting knives in the dishwasher!

3. Keep Your Cutting Board in Place with a Wet Towel

Chopping on a cutting board that keeps sliding all over the counter can be so annoying. Use a damp paper towel or dish towel to keep it in place.

You can keep it stable by getting a paper towel, soaking it in water, wringing it out, then laying it out flat before putting the board down. Just like that. The damp towel acts a grip, preventing your cutting board from moving all around while you’re trying to use it.

4. Practice the Art of Mise en Place

Mise en place (MEEZ ahn plahs) is the French term for “having all your ingredients measured, cut, peeled, sliced, grated, etc. before you start cooking.” Pans and mixing bowls are placed out. Tools and equipment are hooked up and ready. Ingredients are measured and prepped. It is this method that allows chefs to get meals on the table so quickly. While you don't need to be so precise at home, it's much easier to follow a recipe when you have your ingredients all prepared beforehand.

Simply put: Prep all your ingredients before you start cooking. That way, you’re not scrambling around chopping onions while the garlic burns or the water boils over.

5. Toast Your Spices and Nuts

Even though it may seem unnecessary, toasting actually perks up the essential oils and intensifies the flavor of a recipe. For more info, check out the L.A. Time’s Test Kitchen video tip: Toasting spices and nuts for flavor.

6. Perk Up Your Food with a Little Acidity

Don't be scared of acid! If your dish is missing a little something, but you can’t put your finger on what it is, chances are it could use a little bit of acidity–such as wine, lemon juice or orange juice.

7. When in Doubt, Add Salt

Have you ever thought about why you like salt so much?

Salt brings out flavor, which means well-salted food tastes more like itself than under-salted food. Season each new ingredient with a tiny bit of salt each time you add them to a recipe to really maximize the flavors.

8. Clean as You Cook

You’ve probably heard this one before, but another great skill you’ll learn in culinary school is cleaning your space as you cook. Wipe down your cutting board after you finish preparing each ingredient. Put pots, pans, and utensils in the sink or dishwasher as soon as you’re done using them. And wash your hands often.

There probably isn’t a cooking instructor looking over your shoulder as you clean, be as organized and tidy as if there were!

9. Buy a Food Scraper

Cooks often use their knives to scrape whatever they've chopped into a bowl after they've finished chopping. Avoid doing this!

In addition to being dangerous, it will also quickly dull your knife blade. Make it easy on yourself by investing in a bench scraper–you can use it to remove food scraps and transfer stuff from the cutting board to pots and pans.

10. Never Throw Away Kitchen Scraps!

When it comes to making stock, leftover bones and scraps are literal kitchen gold.

You can make chicken stock with nothing but bones if you want. You can also make beef stock with beef bones, fish stock with fish bones and scraps, and so on. Not only is it cheaper than buying stock, but it’s also often tastier, and lets you cut down on waste. These days, we collect bones and vegetable scraps in a sealed gallon bag in the freezer, then make a few quarts of stock every time the bag fills up.

Additionally, reusing (or composting) food waste is better for the planet–and we’re all about practicing sustainability in the kitchen!

Want to up your cooking game? You're in the right place. With cooking classes for all types of skill levels, there's something for everyone. Check out our upcoming classes (in-person + online) here or book a call with us to put together a private cooking class with your friends!


In person and online cooking classes.

Online or in person private classes are available and fully customizable.

Whether it's a birthday celebration, a work retreat, or a date night, let us set up a private cooking class for you with any chef around the world. 

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