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The cooking advice you actually need

The cooking advice you actually need
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We all want to be better cooks in our own kitchens if for no other reason than to cook ourselves insanely delicious food every night. But, there are definitely a few things we novice home cooks are probably doing that could be done better—read on to hear from the pros on what you definitely should stop doing in your kitchen for homecooked meals that are better than ever.

Dropping food into hot oil

Dropping food into hot oil
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“A common mistake that people make in the kitchen is when they are about to sear a meat or fish. They tend to drop the meat or fish right into the hot oil and the oil can splatter and burn them. The best method to fix that is to tilt the pan to keep oil on one side and put the meat where there is less oil and then just tilt it back slowly. Also, do not move the pan too much to avoid flames. Have patience!” —Executive Chef Saul Montiel

Following the recipe word for word

Following the recipe word for word
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“The biggest mistake a home cook can make that a professional chef wouldn’t is following the recipe to the letter! Home cooks treat recipes as non-negotiable contracts. To most chefs, they exist as guidelines. At home, you likely do not have a pantry of 100 items to choose from, which means you have to be able to think on your feet. For example, home cooks can switch out zucchini for butternut squash, or champagne vinegar for white wine vinegar… that’s where the fun and creativity of cooking comes in to make a recipe more suitable to your family” —Chef Greg Biggers

Buying or making too much food

Buying or making too much food
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“Most people make or buy too much food. You should serve 280-340 grams of protein per person, 225 grams of vegetables, and 225 grams of starch, and a cup of salad per person.” —Celebrity caterer Andrea Correale

These are the 12 kitchen mistakes that are costing you money. 

Not preheating your pan

Not preheating your pan
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“Not only is this a timesaver while you prep, a chef always has everything hot before ingredients go in. It is especially important when cooking meat.” — Head chef Yankel Polak

Getting cheap ingredients to save money

Getting cheap ingredients to save money
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“One mistake that home cooks can make is settling on poor ingredients for the sake of convenience. Purchasing sauces that are canned or substituting fresh vegetables with frozen may seem easier but they compromise quality from their meal. Researching basic ingredients and cooking techniques for your meals may be intimidating but with proper practice, anyone can make an ordinary meal extraordinary.” —Chef de Cuisine Allen Schumann

On the other hand, if you can’t afford expensive cuts of meat, here are 12 tricks to get cheap meat to taste expensive.

Using ingredients that aren’t in season

Using ingredients that aren’t in season
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“Another common mistake people make is using ingredients that are not in season. Not only is it more expensive but they won’t taste the same. Use ingredients that are in season – they are less expensive and taste way better.” —Saul Montiel

These brilliant kitchen shortcuts will help you with your next recipe.

Cooking meat and seafood straight from the fridge

Cooking meat and seafood straight from the fridge
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“Don’t cook meat or seafood straight from the fridge without tempering it. It’s always best to remove from the fridge for at least 15-20 minutes to make sure it’s tempered. This will promote more even cooking. When fish is too cold, the outside will cook and the inside will not.” —Executive Chef Robert Sisca

Not tasting the dish while cooking

Not tasting the dish while cooking
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“Chefs know to taste at every stage of a recipe, but home cooks often do not taste until a dish is finished, when it is too late to add any depth of flavour.” —Ariane Resnick private chef, best-selling author, and certified nutritionist.

These are professional chefs’ least favourite foods.

Overcooking veggies

Overcooking veggies
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“People have a tendency to overlook their veggies. Veggies should be firm al dente. If serving broccoli or cauliflower, for example, cook them so that they still have a crunch.” —Celebrity caterer, Andrea Correale

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