6 Essential Kitchen Skills to Master, According to Alex Guarnaschelli

The Cooks vs. Cons judge shares some of the must-know techniques that will help you feel confident in the kitchen, just like a professional chef.

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Alex's Best Advice

"I don’t think that the best things for home cooks to master are the most complicated. In fact I think the opposite. I think they should be the simplest things that get repeated in many, many places, and that way you look really skilled even if you don’t know a lot of stuff," she tells us of mastering basic skills and recipes. "And that’s how you look like a cook, but you’re actually a con." Check out six must-master techniques, and get some of her top recipes. 

Begin with the Basics

"I think knife skills are an obvious place [to start]."

How to Choose, Use and Care for Knives: A Step-by-Step Guide

Stick with Essential Ingredients

"If you are not handy with an onion or garlic cloves, that’s something that would be good to master 'cause they’re ingredients that go into so many recipes."

How to Slice, Dice and Mince Onions: A Step-by-Step Guide

Embrace Fishy Business

"Knowing how to cook a good piece of fish on the stove and searing it and not being afraid of hot oil and just really searing that fish and not overcooking it."

Get the Recipe: Blackened Salmon

Remember the Importance of Layers

"I thinking making a really good gratin is a good idea. Something that’s potatoes, layers, macaroni."

Get the Recipe: Cast Iron Skillet Potato Cake

Practice Pasta

"I think pasta cookery is something that a home cook should really have an understanding of. Make the same pasta time and time again, following the directions for the time on the box until you get it just right."

Get the Recipe: Yellow Tomato Sauce

Consider the Egg-centricities

"I think just knowing how to fry an egg — simply fry an egg where the edges are lacey and the yolk is still goopy in the middle. That's another great thing."

Get the Recipe: Croque Madame Sandwich

Want More Cooks vs. Cons?

Check out Food Network's Cooks vs. Cons headquarters for more top tips form the judges, plus insider coverage of the competition and pro-tested recipes from host Geoffrey Zakarian.

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