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A Guide to Becoming A Master Chef in Your Own Kitchen


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Place the toque on your head and strap on that apron, it’s time to become a master chef in your own kitchen.  FreeMoneyFinance.com states that many restaurants make a 60% profit on their menu items – let’s try to keep that money in your own pocket.

If you’re sick of the boring tastes of home cooking, but tired of spending the money going out to eat, it’s time to put the pan and spoon into your own hands. Whether you’re a beginner, or have been cooking for years, this article serves as a guide in helping you become the cook that you have always wanted to be.

Take the Poll: What meal of the day is your favorite to cook for?

Cooking Tools

Every great Chef in an upscale restaurant is equipped with fancy (and expensive) machinery and utensils that help create their one-of-a-kind dishes; however, to become a chef in your own kitchen, all you need to start out with are the basics. Kathleen Schiefler, an 18-year veteran of the catering industry and the Residential Chef at Kitchen Sinc in Grand Rapids, MI, has a wealth of knowledge about the cooking field.  Here is a list of a few fundamental tools she thinks are important for the home:

1. At least one good Knife

“It is essential to have at least one good knife that is sharp enough to easily chop through a variety of different foods,” claims Shiefler.

2. Rubber Spatula and Metal Spatula

“Rubber spatulas are used for baking when scraping ingredients out of a bowl and metal spatulas are often used for cooking with frying pans.  The metal obviously prevents any melting of the tool to occur,” Shiefler states.

3. Cutting Board

Shiefler says, “I like to use a wooden cutting board because it protects my knives and keeps them sharper longer.”  Plastic or wooden cutting boards have been debated on for quite some time.  While it is true that wooden cutting boards are better for knives, other chefs prefer plastic ones because they collect fewer germs.

4. Thermometer

5. Microplane

The Kitchen Sinc chef asserts, “A mircoplane is a type of grater that I use all the time both when baking and cooking.  Larger ones are good for grating cheese while the smaller ones I use to get things like lemon and lime zest.”

6. Colander

7. Frying Pan and Saucepan

8. Mini Food Processer

Cookbooks and Magazines

One of the best ways to learn how to cook is to read recipes.  By reading recipes you will become familiar to the way certain dishes are created.   Schiefler proclaims, “There is no such thing as following a recipe to the letter of the law.”  Be creative in your own kitchen and you will come out with positive results.

Here are some helpful cookbooks and magazines

1. Joy of Cooking

2. Baking Bible

3. Bon Apatite Magazine

Apps

Technology is flourishing  in the kitchen.  Certainly, cookbooks and magazines are wonderful tools to use when learning to become a master chef, but there are now wonderful cooking applications for your smart phone and iPad that can make your journey a little easier.  Below are some top-rated cooking apps.

1. Epicurious: Allows you to search over 27,000 food and drink recipes, develop shopping lists, and save recipes to favorites.

2. MyRecipeBook: An easy way to search for thousands of recipes by category.   Ability to mark recipes as “favorite.”  Timer in the background.

3. The Photo Cookbook: Gives visual step-by-step directions to each recipe.  Ability to add notes to the recipes.  List of ingredients can be emailed for convenience.

4. AllRecipes: Allows you to specify what ingredients you want to include/exclude in your recipe.  Able to modify the recipe for the number of servings you will need.

The Internet

Do not be afraid to surf the internet when becoming a master chef.  The internet provides numerous resources that can guide you in your learning.  While Youtube videos give you a visual on how to do certain tasks, blogs give a different perspective to cooking that books and magazines cannot provide.  Below are some blogs that may be of interest to you:

1. Smitten Kitchen : Includes high quality images that give step-by-step directions on how to create a dish.

2. The Naptime Chef : The blogger of this site understands that mothers have a limited amount of time during the day to cook.  Her blog gives simple recipes that can be created while the kids are taking their nap.

3.  Ezra Pound Cake : The blogger of this site used to be a a professional baker, but has turned into a freelance blogger who posts recipes of many different sweets and entrees.

Practice Makes Perfect

Trial and error is never a negative thing when cooking. The best time to make mistakes is in your own kitchen where family and friends can be the test subjects of your creations.  If you feel as though you need a little extra help, there is no harm in going to a cooking class.  There are thousands of classes all around the nation with experienced chefs who can help you become the best you can be.

Schiefler, who teaches cooking classes at both Kitchen Sinc and Grand Rapids Community College, says that she tries to give her students confidence in their cooking.  “No matter how long they’ve been doing it, any good chef will admit that they are always learning something new,” she states.

In order to be a great cook, you have to practice.  “Don’t be afraid to try something new.  Everyone has a few failures before they’re successful.”

Find Places for Cooking classes: View Cooking Classes in Midwest in a larger map.

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The Hub Bub is a collection of articles, videos, audio, photo slideshows, interactive maps and other media produced by students enrolled in journalism courses at Loyola University Chicago's School of Communication. For more about the School of Communication, our award winning faculty, and our state of the art facilities located in the heart of Chicago, visit our website.