Worst Cooks in America: 25 Top Tips for Home Cooks
Throughout this season of Worst Cooks in America, Chefs Anne and Robert tried their best to teach hopeless cooks the basics. Here are some of their most crucial kitchen tips.
Boot Camp Rule #1
Chef Robert: "Follow the recipe!"
Chef Anne: "What comes first? Mise en place. All ingredients prepped and organized in one place."
Keys to Flavor
Chef Anne: "Why do we like chicken on the bone? Flavor!"
Chef Robert: "When you 'French' something, it means removing the fat and tendons around the bone." Chef Anne's lamb chops, pictured, are perfectly Frenched.
Step One for Searing
Chef Anne: "How do you know if a pan's hot? If I don't hear that sizzle, what should I do? Wait."
Why a Hot Pan?
Chef Anne: "If you put a steak in a cold pan, you'll steam it."
Different Proteins, Different Temps
Chef Robert: "Never cook duck rare." For steak, however, mid-rare is perfect.
Knife Cuts 101
Chef Anne: "We want to make sure all of our slices and dices are the same size so we have an even cooking time."
Chef Robert: "Score the fish so the skin doesn't curl up. Sear it skin-side down."
What's a Reduction Sauce?
Chef Anne: "When a recipe says to reduce by half, it means that the liquid is reducing, evaporating."
Choose Tools Wisely
Chef Robert: "Use the right tool for the right job." Ty was plagued by this when he cooked too much okra in a small pan it was never going to cook.
Chef Anne: "Double-dipping is a major no-no. Joshie's already had a problem with double-dipping. You'd think that lesson would stay with him, but no."
Practice Knife Skills
Chef Robert: "Julienne means fine-cut."
Chef Anne: "You can always add more spice; you can't take it out."
Chef Robert: "The perfect omelet should be a little golden in color, but not burnt in any way."
Chef Anne: "Braising means to cook something low and slow in liquid." She uses this technique for her stuffed calamari.
A Better Butter
Chef Robert: "Compound butter is butter mixed with fresh herbs." He makes one and uses it to top this pork dish.
No Reckless Speeding
Chef Anne: "It's not just about speed, it's about accuracy."
Chef Anne: "Make sure you don't leave any slime in your calamari. Clean the cutting board completely so no slime ends up in your dish."
Pound It Out
Chef Robert: "Paillard means pound; to make something thinner so it cooks faster. Gently pound it."
Salad Dressing Trick
Chef Anne: "Mustard is the glue that holds together the vinegar and the oil. Use tongs to toss the salad and handle it as little as possible." Why? The heat from your hands causes the lettuce to wilt.
Chef Robert: "Don't use too much oil." If you overdo it when cooking vegetables, you'll deep-fry instead of sauté them.
Chef Anne: "Do not walk around with a knife!"
Chef Anne: "Keep fingers in the claw position when cutting."
Taste, Taste, Taste!
Chef Robert: "Taste everything before you serve anybody. You've got to understand what it tastes like. If you don't, you'll never be able to cook successfully."