Being a great caterer doesn’t happen by chance. It results from years of study in the culinary arts along with the mastery of processes that make the cooking experience easier and more efficient. To master your kitchen like a Master Chef, try these chefs’ secrets for the home cook.
#1. Sharpen Your Knives
Professional chefs might sharpen their knives every day, but how often do you, as a home cook, sharpen yours? Dull knives make the job more tedious and are quite dangerous. To make the job of meal preparation much easier, invest in a good knife sharpener, or learn the technique to a sharpening steel.
#2. Season Well
Chefs know that the secret to great flavor is in the seasoning, and they’re not afraid to use salt as a main flavor additive. Since you’re cooking from scratch, you avoid the extra salt added in packaged foods, so salt away! To cook like a chef, use kosher salt, not the iodized salt in your salt shaker.
#3. Prep Ahead
The French phrase “mise en place” translates to “everything in place.” Great caterers cut, measure, peel and prepare everything ahead of time so that when it comes time to cooking, all the ingredients and utensils required for that meal or dish are right at hand and within easy reach. This way you don’t have to go searching for that one elusive ingredient while pots are bubbling away on the stove. Meals come together quickly.
#4. Use the Right Tools
Having the right kitchen tools for the job is essential for the pro caterer. One of the chef’s secret tools is a set of cooking tongs. These are used for everything from stirring or tossing items, to flipping meats in the frying pan, to stabilizing food while slicing. Other popular chef tools include a microplane grater, wooden spoons, a chef’s knife, pepper grinder, and a skimmer.
#5. Add Butter
Chefs love to use real butter when they cook. Add richness to your home cooking, and prevent the butter from burning by using a 1:1 ratio of butter and oil.
#6. Don’t Over Mix
Pastry chefs know that the secret to light and flaky results comes from not over mixing the batter. Mix ingredients until just combined to avoid causing toughness from gluten development.
#7. Don’t Mix Raw and Cooked
Keep raw and cooked food separate from each other, and don’t reuse a cutting board after preparing raw foods until you thoroughly wash it. Better yet, have separate cutting boards for meats and vegetables. Ensure that your cutting board is dry when you use it; wet cutting boards can be unsafe.
#8. Clean as You Go
Chefs know that efficiency comes from a clean kitchen. Wash dishes, pots & pans and utensils as you use them. With a clean kitchen, you can enjoy cooking!
Great Catering is No Secret with Maison Culinaire
We’re glad to share some of our chefs’ secrets for home cooks with you, and hope that instead of cooking up your own special meal, you’ll contact us—your local International caterer.
After decades of catering for clients in Northern Virginia, Maryland and DC, Maison Culinaire has catering down to a science! There’s no secret that we are one of the best—if not THE best catering company in our region. Just ask our clients or read our reviews! (And leave a review of your own!)
When you are looking for a wedding caterer, a corporate caterer, or catering for any special occasion, contact Maison Culinaire. Chef Sus will be glad to custom design a menu to exactly suit your needs.
Contact us today!