Are you teaching your teen to cook? Do you have a young kid who’s been learning how to cook on their own? Or maybe your husband or wife decided to share your cooking load and take off dinner from now on?
Follow these tips to make your kitchen friendly to a beginner cook (of all ages):
The internet is such an amazing thing. What old chefs and cooks had to learn hands-on can now be learned from a couple of YouTube videos. Sure, you’d still have to master the process. But you don’t need to enrol in an expensive culinary degree just to be able to learn. Take advantage of this and slowly get educated with the following:
- Knife skills and kitchen safety – Ideal for all ages (use plastic knives for young kids). You’ll be able to use this skill until you grow old. While you’re learning how to use a knife, make sure you read up on kitchen safety as well before moving forward.
- Making the perfect stock and 5 sauces – Even chefs are taught to master making stock before moving forward to handle main dishes. You’d be surprised how hard it is to accurately make the same stock that tastes identical every night. Aside from stock, you should also learn how to make at least the 5 main French sauces
- Hollandaise, and
- Perfect egg-cooking techniques – Can you cook the best sunnyside-up? Do you know other ways to cook eggs beyond hard-boiling? Have you tried poached eggs?
- Choose and pick which one to focus on first: pork, beef, chicken, lamb, fish, seafood, and so on. You can alternate between dishes if you want to. But be open to try any of these main protein sources.
- Learn how to handle vegetables. From sanitizing to cleaning, slicing, dicing, cooking and everything in between, being able to cook veggies the right way will surely make your own home-cooked meals healthier.
Of course, you should slowly learn the different cooking techniques as well, from roasting to boiling, baking to stir-frying, you have a lot of lessons to learn, so it’s best to plan them in a cooking calendar.
Organize the kitchen into triangle spaces
If you have no idea what a kitchen triangle layout is, stand in the center of your kitchen. Extend your arms upward, sideways, and backward, checking what tools is within your reach. Now make an imaginary triangle with your eyes or hands – that’s just 1 triangle space (you can have more than 1 if you have a big kitchen of course).
The point of this triangle space is to make cooking efficient and all similar tools or kitchen appliances within one’s reach. If you’re baking, your stand mixer and baking tools should be within the triangle space of your oven.
Keep these tips to heart:
- Don’t rush. If possible, begin cooking or baking when your mind and body are relaxed. If you are tired and you don’t have the right mindset, it is easy to get your recipes mixed up, get impatient with the cooking process, or mess up the whole thing.
- Trust yourself. Don’t second-guess yourself when you’re trying to cook or bake. If you’re following a new recipe, don’t start without re-reading the recipe, checking out the comments, or finding alternative recipes if you feel that something is wrong with the first recipe.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. For beginners to improve, mistakes must happen. Don’t feel bad when you burn your pastry, or overcook the steak. There’s always next time to master the recipes. Chefs don’t become good at making their dishes on their first try. Many have to repeat the process over and over again before they could find the perfect combination.
Invest in quality equipment
Being a beginner cook doesn’t mean you’ll only use cheap tools. It is impossible to learn how to cook the right way if you don’t have a sharp and steady knife or pots and pans to cook them with.
Forcing to cook something that calls for an oven in a microwave may work, but if the recipe doesn’t intend it to be, it would be very hard to replicate the original recipe’s texture, taste, and so on.
You don’t really have to overboard and buy a 20-piece pan set. Just look for a branded pan that is perfect for your budget. Remember, a single pan designed for durability and all-around cooking is better than 20 pieces of substandard pans. This also goes with the right baking tools, pots, utensils, and so on.
And lastly, kitchen appliances and tools quickly add up with every new fad you buy, especially if you love home-tv shopping just as much as I do. Before you decide to buy, make sure to do your research first. For example, microwave oven reviews and other appliances are easily found on online stores like Amazon and home improvement blogs like Kitchengeroid.