Cooking as a hobby is more popular than ever. There are entire TV networks devoted to the avocation, not to mention a plethora of cooking competition shows, professional and amateur alike.
But what makes a great cook? We interviewed a corporate chef for some essential points. Based on his tips, we also have a few recommendations for unique gifts that will help you wow the crowd at your next dinner party.
- Be hungry. Have the desire to please your own palate.
- Have a good sense of taste. If your friends come back for more, you’re on your way. If your friends would be willing to pay for your cooking, you may have a career.
- Practice, practice, practice your knife handling skills. And remember that a dull knife is more dangerous to use than a sharp one. Keep all your smooth and serrated knives in top condition.
- Cook by technique, not by recipes. Recipes teach the mistakes of others, technique teaches you to make your own recipes. Respect the experience of those who teach you.
- Be organized and clean. As much as 60% of cooking is prepping, chopping, and cleaning. Many professionals use a prep station to be efficient and organized.
- Have a good sense of timing. Try to guess time without looking at the clock or timer. An innate sense of timing is a unique gift, but with practice you can develop the skill. Know the proper time and temperature for the safe cooking of different foods.
- Be bold and creative. Go to school and take a variety of classes and instruction. Don’t be afraid to try something different that will really get friends and family talking, even something like traditional Cuban Lechon Asado.
- Above all, have joy and fun! If you enjoy what you’re doing, it will show in the results. And make sure to relax and enjoy your guests with a tasty beverage served in a fun atmosphere.