Pan space
1. Pan space

"Don't overcrowd the pan. Always cook meat one at a time in a small pan. My husband wonders why mine always turn out better than his that he makes all together in one bigger pan."

Re-taste your food
2. Re-taste your food

"Unless you're cooking eggs, don't use a non-stick skillet. Season the god damn pan properly and use it how you like. DON'T BE AFRAID OF THE MICROWAVE. Those cooking shows only show the highlights of cooking. Think of the food network as the Facebook of cooking. You don't see the bad sh_t that happens, only the highlights. Under-season your food, taste it, then re-season to what you think tastes good. THEN RE-TASTE IT AGAIN. There's a reason there aren't salt and pepper shakers in higher end restaurants. The plate put on your table is what it SHOULD taste like."

Boost the acidity
3. Boost the acidity

"Not a professional chef, but If you've put enough salt in your dish and feel that putting anymore would over-season it, but you still feel it's lacking in taste, add some sort of acid. Lemon juice/zest, lime juice/zest, balsamic/red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar--you'll be surprised at how much this lifts the dish! When I was getting interested in cooking, I would skip the acid completely because I honestly couldn't be bothered. I would always chuckle and joke at how much lemon/lime/vinegar chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Alton Brown put in their cooking. Then I tried it once. Now, every dish I make has some sort of acidity in it because it's just not the same without!"

4. Salt

"Too much or too little salt. Salt is one of the most magical ingredients known to mankind. It can make all of the ingredients of the dish shine like stars. It can also f_ck up all your hard work by overpowering the other ingredients. Cooking, like every other thing in the world, is about balance. It is the art of balancing flavors that compliment each other."

Knife safety
5. Knife safety

"The most dangerous piece of equipment in a kitchen is a dull knife. You're way more likely to cut yourself with a dull knife because it's less precise and more prone to slipping. A good way to avoid this with any knife is to keep your digits curled and your thumb tucked in on your hand holding the knife."

Five simple rules
6. Five simple rules

"1. Taste as you cook. Continually adjust seasoning (salt level) as needed. Acidity is also a very overlooked aspect of seasoning. Tons of dishes light up with a little lemon juice or vinegar. 2. Clean as you cook. Most dishes have some downtime while cooking them, use that time to clean up the mess you made. 3. Plan your meal ahead of time. Know when you're going to be busy doing things and when you have time. Prep ingredients ahead of time as needed, newbies in the kitchen should do all the ingredient cleaning and chopping before they start cooking. 4. If you don't have a good feel for how done meat should be, use a thermometer. Ignore any recipe that gives precise cooking times, because they're rarely going to be correct. 5. Speed is the byproduct of accuracy. This isn't flair bartending, you don't get bonus points for smashing things around like Jamie Oliver on his stupid TV shows. Gordon Ramsay got that fast by practicing doing thingscorrectly, not by rushing and fucking it up. Focus on dicing the onion properly and evenly, not on doing it fast. The speed will come on its own."

7. Substitutions

"Pastry cook here. On the sweet side of things, my biggest piece of advice is to follow the recipe exactly if you don't know exactly what you're doing. Baking is basically a science and if you don't calculate substitutions right, it's never going to come out right. Also make sure you have good ingredients. That box of baking soda from 5 years ago is not going to work that well anymore."

Pressing burgers
8. Pressing burgers

"Pressing burgers to make them cook faster--don't you ever do that again. People do it because burgers plump in the center. To counteract that, make an indentation in the center kind of like a donut but only thumb depth. When it cooks, the center will still plump out, but that will make it even with the rest. Seriously, don't you ever press that f_cking burger again you bastard."

Cold tomatoes
9. Cold tomatoes

"Don't put your tomatoes in the fridge. My pro chef and former chemist friend gave me an earful about putting my tomatoes in there. He explained how the cold temperature changes the chemical composition and makes them taste sh_ttier. I no longer put my tomatoes in the fridge and they are tastier."

Mise en place
10. Mise en place

"MISE EN PLACE. You will hear this term in every professional kitchen. It means roughly 'things in place.' Get EVERYTHING ready before starting to cook, have all ingredients prepped, tools handy (knives, cutting boards, spoons, whisk etc.) ovens heated and pans ready to go. Work organized and orderly, this will come along with practice. It goes a long way and takes a lot of stress out of cooking."

11. Steak

"Cooking your steaks low and slow. You should set your oven on its highest setting, put a cast iron pan on high until it's smoking, sear your room temp steaks 3-4 minutes per side. Finish in the oven to your desired temp, just a couple minutes to get a nice med-rare. Remove from oven, tent with foil, allow to rest for 15 minutes."

Cold pans
12. Cold pans

"One really common mistake people make is putting food on a cold pan. You should let the pan heat up a bit before you put anything on it. The only time you should put food on a cold pan is with bacon and duck breast, where this does not apply because you need a cold pan to render the [fat][1]."

[1]: http://One really common mistake people make is putting food on a cold pan. You should let the pan heat up a bit before you put anything on it. Edit: Some people are making good points that there are certain cases, such as with bacon and duck breast, where this does not apply because you need a cold pan to render the fat.

Eat everywhere
13. Eat everywhere

"I am the chef at a 5 diamond hotel in San Francisco. The biggest thing to learn in the kitchen is safety. I once had a cook with 25 years experience get complacent and splash hot oil on his face. Now we call him two-face. Cooking is a creative release when done outside of a professional kitchen, so take your time and don't hurt yourself. The second biggest thing to learn, and I tell all my cooks this everyday, is taste, season, taste. Taste your food, season it, and taste it again. Most people (whether they believe it or not) have the same taste thresholds, so what tastes good for you will taste good for someone else. Last thing I can add if you want to improve your cooking, is to cook more! Cook everyday, because practice makes perfect. Eat. Eat everywhere and anything."

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