Where to Start and What to Make: The Kitchen's Guide to Culinary Basics
From learning how to hold a knife to remembering how long to cook each shape of pasta, gaining proficiency in the kitchen takes practice, but no matter where you are in your culinary journey, it's never too late to master the basics. On this morning's all-new episode of The Kitchen, Geoffrey Zakarian shows off his secret to making a classic mother sauce, and luckily for fans, you don't have to be an Iron Chef to pull it off successfully. In fact, this béchamel is a cinch to prepare in a hurry, and it shines in this 30-minute Fettuccine Alfredo (pictured above).
FN Dish caught up with the co-hosts between takes of this episode, and the cast told us that when it comes to getting comfortable in the kitchen, it's best to begin with the simplest, most-tried-and-true dishes — whatever those may be for you and your family's tastes. Read on below to hear from all five chefs to learn how to get started.
"I always tell people to start out like you wake up, so when you get up in the morning, let’s try breakfast. You know, if you damage a few eggs, it’s not going to be the end of the world. It's kind of cheap, so I just tell people [to] learn how to fry an egg, make a poached egg, soft-boiled and hard-boiled. Just learn how to work with eggs. It’s a very simple thing that people get all, like, verklempt about, [but with] cooking, you have to make mistakes, and the good thing about cooking is you can eat your mistakes."
"I think everyone should know how to roast a chicken. That’s something that takes some skill; it’s not as easy as it sounds, and once you get that down, it’ll give you some confidence. And it’s also such a comforting dish that you can make that for a dinner party [or] you can make it for a Tuesday night with your family. It’s just a great thing to have in your back pocket."
"[Master] a soup with real stock [with] mirepoix and meat of some sort, because it teaches you proper technique and timing. I know a lot of people think you just throw stuff in a bowl and let it boil, but that’s not the case. If you learn the fundamentals of good soup making, you can use that knowledge to apply to any recipe in the future."
"Whatever your favorite food is should be the first recipe you try to tackle, because you love the food and you won’t be distracted by failure because you actually love it. If you really love mac and cheese, and you make a bad one, you’re not going to stop; you’re going to keep on making it until it’s good. But if you don’t like something and you’re just trying it because people say it’s something you should try to make for your first time, there’s no passion in it, and that’s what cooking's all about: It’s about loving something and being passionate about it."
"I think not necessarily a recipe but the technique of properly cooking proteins in general, because I think all diets are pretty much protein-based, or at least they should be, for the most part, more than carbs. But there’s so much to say about a properly roasted chicken, like where the breast isn’t too dry but you fully cooked the thigh and you have a crispy skin. Mastering roast chicken, I think, would be a good recipe because you can build — you can get 700 recipes from a roast chicken. You can shred it for chicken soup, you can cut it up for salad, you can make tacos out of it [or] you could just eat it like it is."
Don’t miss an all-new episode of The Kitchen next Saturday at 11a|10c.