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!"

Stay Organized

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!"

Pretty Presentation

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."

Fish Technique

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.

No Double-Dipping

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."

Season Carefully

Chef Anne: "You can always add more spice; you can't take it out."

Omelet Technique

Chef Robert: "The perfect omelet should be a little golden in color, but not burnt in any way."

Braising Basics

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."

Work Clean

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.

Use Sparingly

Chef Robert: "Don't use too much oil." If you overdo it when cooking vegetables, you'll deep-fry instead of sauté them.

Safety First

Chef Anne: "Do not walk around with a knife!"

Good Form

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."

Next Up

Sweet Genius Ron Ben-Israel Visits Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

Hear from Chef Ron Ben-Israel, host of Food Network's Sweet Genius, to get the inside scoop on his experience appearing on Worst Cooks in America.

Love Match Made at Worst Cooks in America Boot Camp

Watch this video to relive the funniest moment of Carla's head-over-heels crush on Bobby Flay during Food Network's Worst Cooks in America.

100 Greatest Cooking Tips (of all time!)

Food Network Magazine asked top chefs across the country for their best advice.

14 Tips for Slow-Cooker Meals

A few simple rules are the key to creating a rich, satisfying slow-cooked meal. Follow these tips for easy, flavorful recipes all year long.