Top 15 Cooking Tips We Learned From Chefs This Year


Much like 2020, 2021 has been a year of continuous exploration of home cooking. While some of us (me) experienced severe banana bread depletion and others (me too) gave up sourdough, we continued to try new recipes, take virtual cooking classes and to improve our home cooking equipment. And, like every year, we continued to learn culinary tips from the chefs.

At Food and wine Classic in Aspen this September, we were joined by some of the biggest names in food, who demystified everything from veggie burgers to birria.

So here’s a recap you can actually use – the best cooking tips we’ve learned from chefs this year.

Immersion blenders make great whipped cream

Who knew? Well, Paola Velez did it. In an episode of Pastries with Paola where she makes the Maria Cookie Icebox Cake, the pastry chef has demonstrated that you can easily use a hand blender, the same type you would use to puree soup. “You’re never going to make whipped cream any other way, because it’s just a * kiss from the chef *,” she said.

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Sourdough belongs to bread pudding

We learned another culinary tip in an episode of Pastries with Paola, where Velez makes her Guava Cheese Bread Pudding, inspired by her husband’s 101-year-old grandmother’s recipe. And the bread she uses is sourdough. “The layers of sourdough give it spice. “

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The best cookies have butter and shortening

Cooking tips
Image: Courtesy Photo by Jennifer Causey / Food Styling by Torie Cox

Carla Hall makes her chewy, flaky, and out of the ordinary cookies using a combination of grated cold butter and vegetable shortening.

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Bake your pie longer

“People are often afraid of baking their pies, cakes and pies for too long,” Martha Stewart told the Food and wine Classic in Aspen. But pies in particular “should be baked until they are really a nice golden brown color.” It might seem like a very long time as it will definitely be worth it in the final product. It should be golden brown underneath.

Stewart shared another cooking tip and revealed that a crucial step in achieving that perfect golden brown exterior is topping your crust with sugar: “The sugar on the crust not only helps make it look pretty, but it gives it a good crunch. “

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Cilantro stems are for saving

Claudette Zepeda was also at the Classique this year, where she demonstrated her famous birria recipe. Zepeda urged the audience to never, ever throw away their cilantro stems because they are full of flavor. To garnish the tacos, she includes the chopped stems along with the leaves to get the most flavor from the weed.

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Barista-style oat milk makes a great base for sorbet

Cooking tips
Image: Courtesy Photo by Adam Friedlander / Food Styling by Pearl Jones

Salt & Straw co-founder (and ice cream maker) Tyler Malek demonstrated how to make Boysen Berry Oat Milk Sorbet, using the same type of oat milk you would use for a latte. (like Oatly) for a rich creaminess.

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You can use Goldfish to make an ice cream cone

The chef, activist and founder of Studio ATAO, Jenny Dorsey, made banana and rum ice cream in cheddar and cracker cones, and our lives will never be the same again.

Garlic should come last

At Food and wine Classic in Aspen, Guy Fieri shared a life changing cooking tip and said that when he sweats vegetables in a pan he always puts garlic last and advises you to do the same. “If you want to go wrong, make the garlic first. Always the onion first, ”he said. “Garlic goes in last, as soon as it becomes nutty caramel, add liquid.”

Parsnips belong to dessert

Image: Courtesy photo © Anya Kassoff

Krystle Swenson, the pastry chef at Social Haus at Green O in Montana, told us that she likes baking cakes with grated parsnips instead of carrots. She then garnishes her cake with whipped cream cheese frosting, crispy parsnip crisps and fried sage toppings.

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Everyone deserves a great vacuum sealer

It’s pricey, but Chef Barbara Lynch said the Avid Armor Vacuum Sealer was a game-changer for her. “It’s so handy to help me organize leftovers, and I don’t have to find the matching Tupperware lids,” she told Food & Wine. “It also has a marinade button that seals in liquids without the vacuum, and I love using it to preserve the abundance of vegetables in my garden, as well as my tomato sauce and homemade jams.”

Caesar salad is best served grilled

“One of my favorite things to grill is romaine and use it as a base for a Caesar salad,” Chef Danny Grant told Food & Wine. “It elevates the dish by giving it a smoky, almost forgiving flavor profile, which makes it incredibly satisfying. Lightly brush the halved romaine hearts with oil and grill, cut side down, for 1 to 3 minutes, until the leaves are lightly charred. Top with all your favorite Caesar salad accessories, olive oil, lemon, and lots of black pepper.

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Instant coffee is a game-changer in baking

Cooking tips
Picture; Courtesy of Quentin Bacon

This tip is not new in itself, but it is new to me. Ina Garten’s double chocolate cake gets much of its richness from instant coffee in the icing and a cup of hot coffee in the batter. My friend and colleague, Visual Editor Sarah Crowder, said she always has instant coffee on hand now, thanks to this Garten cake recipe. After doing it and devouring it, I will too.

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Reduce the wine before cooking with it for more flavor

At Food and wine Classic in Aspen, Ludo Lefebvre said that before making coq au vin, he likes to reduce the wine (ideally a burgundy) to concentrate the flavor.

Shallow poaching is the perfect way to cook salmon

Food editor Mary-Frances Heck demonstrated how to poach shallow salmon under a cartouche, a circle of parchment paper, for tender, super tasty fish in minutes. (The method works with any soft fish, such as plaice, rockfish, or grouper.)

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Harness the power of mushroom juice

At this year’s Classic, Fieri had a great culinary tip for making a tasty broth from mushrooms, which you can use in tasty recipes that require water to amplify the flavor. Simply wrap the mushrooms in plastic and put them in the microwave until they are cooked to your liking (and have released a tasty broth.)

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(Main and feature image credit: Photo by Victor Protasio / Food styling by Margaret Monroe Dickey / Accessories styling by Christine Keely)

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