Culinary School Secrets: 5 Techniques Taught to the Pros

AAlex August 29, 2023 5:46 PM

Have you ever watched a professional chef at work and wondered how they whip up gourmet meals with such ease? They've been trained in culinary school, where they learn the secrets to creating culinary masterpieces. Today, we will unveil the curtain and share 5 culinary school secrets that you can use to elevate your cooking game.

Technique #1: Mise en Place

'Mise en Place' is a French term which means 'everything in its place'. This is one of the first principles taught in culinary school. Before they even turn on the stove, chefs prepare and measure all the ingredients they need for their recipe. This practice saves time and prevents mistakes during the cooking process. So, the next time you cook, try adopting the 'Mise en Place' mindset!

Technique #2: Knife Skills

Knife skills are an essential part of any professional chef's arsenal. Knowing how to properly hold and use a knife can make meal prep faster, safer, and more efficient. The ‘claw grip’ for instance, is a common technique taught in culinary schools. It involves curling the fingers of your non-dominant hand like a claw, to hold the food, and keeps your fingers safe from accidental cuts.

Technique #3: The Art of Sautéing

Sautéing is a method that involves cooking food quickly in a small amount of oil over high heat. It's a technique commonly used in professional kitchens due to its speed and efficiency. The secret to successful sautéing is not to overcrowd the pan and to keep the food moving. This ensures even cooking and prevents the food from sticking to the pan.

Technique #4: Mastering the Mother Sauces

There are five 'mother sauces' that every chef learns in culinary school: Bechamel, Veloute, Espagnole, Tomato, and Hollandaise. Mastering these sauces forms the basis for a multitude of other sauces and dishes. By familiarizing yourself with these, you can create a myriad of dishes from just a few basic recipes.

Mother Sauce Base Ingredient Common Uses
Bechamel Milk Lasagna, Moussaka
Veloute White Stock Sauce for fish or chicken
Espagnole Brown Stock French Onion Soup
Tomato Tomatoes Pizza, Pasta
Hollandaise Egg Yolks and Butter Eggs Benedict

Technique #5: Plating and Presentation

Finally, remember that we eat with our eyes first. This is why plating and presentation are given so much importance in culinary school. An organized and appealing plate can make the difference between a good meal and a great one. Take the time to arrange your food and add garnishes – it'll make your meals feel gourmet even at home!

By integrating these techniques into your own kitchen, you can cook like a pro and maybe even impress yourself with the results.

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