Putting oil into a cold pan
One of the biggest cooking mistakes made in our kitchens, according to executive chef Donna Dooher, is our tendency to add the fat (usually butter or oil) to a pan before it’s hot. “Never put any ingredients into a cold pan,” Dooher says. Adding butter or oil to a hot pan ensures a good sear, and helps prevent food sticking to the pan.
Buying the wrong pans
It might be convenient to buy a boxed set of pans for your kitchen, but according to Dooher, this is another common cooking mistake. Her advice is to avoid the pre-fab set – many pieces of which you won’t use regularly – and instead build your own custom collection. Choose individual pans that are suited to your personal cooking needs, and make sure they’re made from either heavy-duty stainless steel or cast iron: both materials are incredibly durable and retain and conduct heat well.
Adding salt after cooking
Salt is a flavour enhancer and will draw out the flavours of other ingredients in your dish – if, that is, you add it to your dishes while you’re cooking them. Adding salt after a dish is cooked merely adds a salty flavour. Another benefit of sprinkling salt during meal prep is that it ensures the salt is distributed more evenly and gives the food adequate time to absorb it.