8 Tips for the Beginner Cook from Anne Burrell and Rachael Ray

On Worst Cooks in America, the recruits arrive at Boot Camp clueless as ever, but it doesn't have to be that way for the home cook. If you're a beginner, read these invaluable tips from Anne and Rachael to sharpen your skills and boost your confidence.

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1. Make the Kitchen Welcoming

"Make it an environment you want to hang out in," says Rachael. Her ideas: "Fiddle with the lighting, burn a candle, have a cup of tea, glass of wine, put on your favorite mix."

2. Get a Few Pots and Pans

"Don’t buy pot sets," Rachael advises, as they're often overpriced. And you may likely not need all the sizes "unless they’re mine, because I made big ones," Rachael adds, half-jokingly. Instead, build your equipment as you grow, and add more pots and pans as needed. Anne's idea: "Ask for them for birthday presents."

3. Buy a Good Knife

"Learn how to use a knife," says Rachael. Anne recommends it be of good quality. And of course you'll need "a big cutting board," Rachael adds.

4. Decide on What to Cook

"Don’t have it be the hardest recipe that you’ve ever tried," says Anne. Rachael agrees, saying, "Keep it simple." Starting small is a great way to build your confidence in the kitchen, Anne recommends. "Teach yourself to cook your favorite meal first," Rachael says.

5. Read Up on the Recipe

"When I don’t know how to do something, I go and look for some directions on how to do it," says Anne of the obvious place to start, even if it means going on the web. "That's what a recipe is," she emphasizes. Familiarize yourself with the steps required and ingredients needed.

6. Prepare Ahead of Time

You'll hear Anne say the French term "mise en place" over and over again in Boot Camp. "Make sure you have all of the ingredients, get them out, look at them, inspect them and do your prep work," she stresses. It will ensure you're not running all over the place to find things.

7. Taste As You Cook

"Taste your food as you're cooking," says Anne. "Food should taste good!" Not tasting is the worst mistake most recruits make in Boot Camp. And who will want to eat it if it tastes bad or bland?

8. Have Fun

"It’s just food — be adventurous," says Rachael. And if anything goes wrong, don't sweat it — just keep calm and keep it to yourself. "Julia Child always said, 'Only the cook knows what happens in the kitchen,'" Rachael cites as her example.

Worst Cooks in America

Keep watching the show for more lessons from Anne and Rachael, and follow along as the cooks grow with every new challenge until one of them is named the winner, finally shedding the worst cook moniker.

Worst Cooks in America