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Using non-stick pans

Using non-stick pans
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“Don’t use non-stick pans! Basically the only thing [chefs] use a non-stick pan for in our professional kitchen is egg cookery. I know people that cook almost everything in non-stick, which is a flavour killer. Nothing beats a high-quality stainless steel or cast iron pan. If you’re worried about protein sticking, get your pan VERY hot before adding oil, and you won’t have problems with sticking, plus you’ll get a much better sear leading to greatly improved flavour.” —Chef Jim Heflin

Leaving a mess as you cook

Leaving a mess as you cook
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“A professional chef would also clean as they go! They will have everything prepped out which will allow them time to do this.” —Tracy Wilk, Lead Chef and Recipe Editor (Recreational Program) at the Institute of Culinary Education.

Using a microwave

Using a microwave
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“I got rid of my microwave a few years back and haven’t looked back. If I want to re-heat food, melt butter, or boil water I use my stovetop. Most chefs I know are in alignment with doing this as well.” —Melissa Eboli, owner of a personal chef and catering company

Using the same cutting board for everything

Using the same cutting board for everything
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Use a different cutting board for each ingredient in your recipe, especially if you’re cutting raw chicken because chicken can carry a bacteria called salmonella. Always use different cutting boards for meat, vegetables, and fruit. —Saul Montiel, Executive Chef at Cantina Rooftop.

Follow these 5 food safety tips for proper food handling. 

Not considering cooking times

Not considering cooking times
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“A chef always begins with the item that takes the longest first and progresses to the fastest things last. It seems like common sense, but you’d be surprised how many people will chop vegetables before starting the pasta water.” —Yankel Polak

Not reading the entire recipe

Not reading the entire recipe
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“The first thing many cooks at home don’t do is read the complete recipe. I always start out in the kitchen doing this. Not only the list of ingredients, but the step by step instructions on how to prep, cook and plate a recipe. They should make sure they have the proper equipment and utensils to complete the recipe. If they’re unsure of any product or cooking technique, do some online research to complete the recipe before continuing!” —Executive Chef Jim August

If you do run into a common cooking disaster, here’s how to fix it.

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Making fish ahead of time

Making fish ahead of time
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“If you are serving fish as an entree don’t make it ahead of time and then reheat. It’s best to prepare and season the fish and cook it right before you serve it. The quality will be much better.” —Andrea Correale

Spicing food after it has been made

Spicing food after it has been made
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“I have seen friends cook a whole meal, and not add spices until the very end to flavour it. This is a big mistake as the food needs to cook with the spices. Especially if making a dish that has oil and fat with a sauté in the beginning of preparation, it is best to sauté let’s say onions and garlic with the spices, then add meat and anything else that may be going into the dish for optimal flavour. When the spices mix with the oil it helps to get all aromas out, and then it also binds to the food and flavours the dish.” —Melissa Eboli

Don’t miss these 20 nearly forgotten kitchen secrets from the past. 

Oversalting food

Oversalting food
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“Tip: do not oversalt food! If you are preparing a dish with multiple components that are seasoned separately then served together, beware of the overall salt content of the dish as a whole” —Avi Burn, Owner of Pinks Cantina

Discover 15 things that happen to your body when you cut back on salt. 

Not prepping the ingredients first

Not prepping the ingredients first
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“One thing I notice home cooks do while following a recipe is that they prepare things while they are cooking. This creates a DISASTER in the kitchen and doubles up on clean up time as well as resulting in forgotten and burnt food. I admit it gives me anxiety to watch. If you prepare each ingredient the recipe calls for and have them ready beforehand it helps keep you stay organised and clean, plus your family will love you!” —Chef Matthew Olley

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