Celebrity Chefs Reveal Their Essiential Tips For The Kitchen

It’s safe to say that I eat like I’m on a mission to forget my new years resolution. Unfortunately, my cooking skills match up to somewhere near a toddler with an easy bake oven. Hitting two birds with one stone, here are some do’s and most definite don’ts from the world’s top chefs when it comes to cooking.

Thomas Keller is all about proper salting.


It’s one thing for a chef to have one Michelin star restaurant under their belt, but chef Thomas Keller has two. The man behind Per Se and French Laundry is just shy of deity status in the culinary world where what he says is adhered to as if it were the gospel. It might seem like a no-brainer, but salt isn’t something Keller takes lightly and neither should any cook who wants to impress their guests.

“Salt enhances flavor,” says Keller. “We say, ‘Wow, that dish was bland.’ It was bland because it wasn’t seasoned properly. Season your food properly — not by seasoning a piece of meat with salt when you’re really close to it, but by actually holding your hand up rather high, having the salt between your fingers and letting it fall. As it falls through the air, it’s dispersed out evenly over the piece of meat, the vegetables or whatever you’re using.”

Bobby Flay knows the importance of prepping.


In chef will tell you that preparation is key in the kitchen, and Bobby Flay says that this is where many fall short. Flay isn’t about to sear a piece of meat on a skillet that’s not hot, and nor should you. “Home cooks never let their pans get hot enough, says Flay. “If you don’t see a wisp of smoke coming from the oil in your skillet, you’ll never get a proper sear on that steak or fish.”

And just as it’s important to properly season a piece of meat or fish, the same holds true for drawing out the flavor in vegetables. Like Thomas Keller, Flay knows the importance of seasoning before adding any sort of dressing. “Season the greens and vegetables with salt and pepper before dressing them,” adds Flay. “Never pour the vinaigrette right on the greens—that destroys them. The pours the dressing around the sides of the bowl then uses his hands to move them around so that the greens glisten, rather than soak in the dressing.

Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito spill the sugar on their baked masterpieces.


To put it in the simplest of terms, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito are rock stars in the world of baking. Book deals, TV spots and a Red Hook, Brooklyn bakery that has a near constant line out the door have made them New York’s go-to men when it comes to whipping up the sweet stuff. You don’t run a successful bakery like Baked without picking up a few tips along the way, either. In terms of must-have kitchen appliances for any serious baker, the KitchenAid mixer is essential.

I think it’s almost essential if you are going to do more than five or six recipes a year,” says Poliafito. “It’s so multi-purpose. “You want to have at least two measuring cups, too: one dry and one liquid. And, finally, a thermometer for your oven, because almost everyone’s oven is off.”

Consider the state of your ingredients before you start dumping everything into the mixing bowl, too. Grabbing everything out of the fridge and dumping them all in the bowl is a mistake Matt Lewis has seen far too many novice bakers make. “Nine times out of 10 you want your ingredients to be room temperature, particularly your eggs and butter,” advises Lewis.

Giada de Laurentiis keeps it healthy.


With the last name de Laurentiis and a show called Everyday Italian, Giada knows a thing or two about good olive oil. The key in her book, is finding out what kind of olive oil you like. “Choosing olive oil is like choosing wine” according to de Laurentiis. “Some olive oil is sweet. Some olive oil is very citrusy. There are so many different varieties that unless you sample a few different ones, you’re never going to find the one you really like.”

And if you’re looking to make a recipe a little healthier, simply cut out some of those fats and carbs and add in a few more veggies. “Italian cooking relies on fresh vegetables, but I like to use even more than a recipe might call for,” says de Laurentiis. “Roasted vegetables give off so much flavor, and they can keep a dish interesting.”

Ben Sargent is serious about seafood done right.


If you’re looking to whip up a really good seafood dish, say the perfect bowl of clam chowder, Ben Sargent is your man. The filmmaker, chef and host of Hook, Line & Dinner knows a thing or two about how to make the perfect clam chowder and where most people go wrong.

“I was taught how to make chowder at a young age by my grandfather in Cape Cod,” recalls Sargent. “When I came to live in Brooklyn, NY, two things happened – I discovered surfing in Far Rockaway Queens and I realized there was no good chowder in NYC.”

If you’re making clam chowder with Sargent, don’t you dare think about dumping buckets of flour and keep stirring!

“Add lots of butter and things will taste good for sure,” says Sargent. “Not too much salt because the ocean will provide plenty if you are using fresh clams. Keep stirring. If you burn even one spec of chowder on the bottom of the pot the entire thing will taste singed. I have dumped gallons of chowder down the toilet because I let it sit for a second too long.”

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