Chef Anne Burrell shares four simple ways to feel more confident in the kitchen.
Professional chefs often feel like rock stars in the kitchen, but I’d love to help everyone feel that way. Before writing my book Cook Like a Rock Star, I spent a lot of time teaching people how to cook. If you aren’t super confident in your cooking abilities right now, that’s OK! These four simple secrets can help you build your cooking confidence—and make some seriously delicious food.
Taste as you go.
I always tell people to taste their food while they’re cooking it. At first, they’re kind of like, “What? Really?” But I say, “Absolutely!” because you have no idea what’s happening in the pan unless you taste it. If the dish is going great, fantastic, but if you taste it and it’s not so great, then you can still fix it.
Plan what you’re going to make.
In culinary school, the very first thing that you learn is mise en place. It’s a French term that means “do your prep work first.” Mental mise en place would be getting yourself in the mind frame to cook. When you find a recipe, read it from start to finish. Make sure that you have all of the ingredients. Then do your food prep (and clean as you go). Only after all of that are you really ready to get cooking.
Choose your recipe wisely.
When picking a recipe, don’t be overly ambitious. Start with something that you think you can attain. It’s a thousand percent better to make a simple dish extremely well than something difficult that is only half great.
Add sparkle when serving.
You can always present food on individual plates rather than just plunk it down in the middle of the table. It’s free to plate—and it makes a meal look special. So get a little creative and take dinner on a Tuesday from just chicken to “Oooh! CHICKEN!!!!!”