5 Rules to Cook By: Kitchen Wisdom from the Mentors of All-Star Academy

The show's mentors share their words of advice for home cooks everywhere.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Photo By: Anders Krusberg ©2014, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

What Makes a Good Home Cook?

Mentors Bobby Flay, Alex Guarnaschelli, Michael Symon and Curtis Stone reveal the cooking skills all home cooks should master in order to be great cooks. These are skills they looked for in choosing their teams. Click through to get their advice and find out how you stack up.

Know the Basics

"I think the thing that people really struggle with is the fundamentals: seasoning things, layering flavor, allowing things time to cook," says Alex. She, Bobby and Michael all agree it starts with fundamentals. Bobby recommends knowing how to sear, saute, "poach some fish" and "to make good vinaigrettes for salads or to turn them into sauces." And Michael adds, "letting meat rest," a very important step.

Have a Purpose

Who are you cooking for? What are you cooking? These are questions the home cook must ask himself or herself. "I think understanding what you're doing and why you're doing it is super important," says Curtis, "because if you know what's the end result — is it a birthday dinner, is it a competition against these other three people — there's a way to get to the best result."

Keep It Simple

Curtis recommends "simplifying what you do." When it comes to planning a dish, he says, "Don’t try and do too much, but what you do, you should do really well." He boils it down to the following: "Find great ingredients [and] treat them appropriately, which means don’t overcook it, don’t undercook it, make sure you season it, [do] whatever it requires."

Be Prepared to Multitask

It's a skill every cook needs to master, says Michael: "When the meat is searing, be chopping your vegetables for the next dish." Get the longest-cooking things into the pan or oven first, he advises, then move to the next thing. He emphasizes that for cooks it's "just about organizing their thoughts and their timing and learning how to work on more than one item at a time."

Take Your Time

When it comes time to plate, don't rush, recommends Curtis. "Slow down, allow four to five minutes to actually cut the chicken the way you want it cut, place the vegetables, put a swoosh of sauce onto a plate, whatever it is," he says. "With that clarity of thought, you end up in a good place." It's all about gathering your composure so you can put out a perfect plate.

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