Culinary Grads Share Tips They Didn't Learn In School But Found Helpful

Oct 14, 2021 by apost team

Cooking at home can be a peaceful and fun activity that provides for you and your family. However, not everyone chooses to go to culinary school and still manages to learn valuable information from working in their own kitchens. Some culinary graduates also have tips that they find extremely useful but weren't taught in their classes. In a post to the Reddit forum r/Cooking, one person asked former culinary students for some "golden tips" that they did not learn in school.  

From the discussion that ensued, it seems like large restaurant kitchens can be a fast-paced and stressful place to work with a lot that can go wrong. One common piece of advice was for chefs to make friends with the serving staff and vice versa to ensure things go smoothly. The interpersonal relationships that take place in restaurants play a large part in day-to-day operations and people need to get along to work together.

Another common tip was to seek out knowledge beyond what was taught in culinary school. It is popular for culinary schools to focus on one type of cuisine, and many graduates agreed that this limits how much you can learn about cooking. Exposure to different cooking styles and techniques will make you a better chef, even at home. 

A lot of the advice was more practical, with suggestions on how to cut properly and tips on staying safe in the kitchen. The entire post is filled with helpful knowledge for anyone looking to expand their culinary skills in their own kitchen. Keep reading to learn eight tips that these culinary graduates offered up.

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1. "Clean while you cook."

This suggestion came up multiple times in the comments and will probably save you the most time while cooking. One person wrote: "The last thing I want to do is clean a bunch of piled-up pans after I eat a big meal. CLEAN AS YOU GO!" Another user added, "If you can lean, you can clean."


2. "Salt in the hand, not in the pan." 

This is helpful advice for avoiding accidents while seasoning your food at home. A commenter said, "When adding salt to a dish, try not to hang a 5-pound box over it."

A different user shared: "I actually have a small circular dish I keep on my counter filled with kosher salt for pinching and easy measuring."


3. "Baking is science, cooking is Jazz."

Measuring out every ingredient is crucial in baking but can be improvised while cooking. One person explained, "Recipes are a road map. You don't have to follow them exactly, it's ok to deviate. Unless you are baking, follow that all the way."


4. "Pay attention to all your senses."

Cooking is a sensory experience. A user commented, "Sauteing things like onions sound different at different stages. More of a hiss at the start as the steam escapes settling down to a crackle once all that's left is vegetable and fat. Similarly, everything you cook will have subtle changes to the way they smell as they cook."

They continued, "There have been many times when I have been multitasking and my nose has alerted me to check on whatever I have in the oven. I'm not talking about smelling burning but just the subtle changes as certain stages of cooking are reached. Eventually, it becomes second nature."

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5. "There's literally no point, and even a health hazard, to 'rinse' pre-cut chicken and salmon."

Many culinary graduates agreed that rinsing raw chicken and salmon can spread germs instead of getting rid of them. "By rinsing chicken under a faucet/tap you are splashing any potential germs/bacteria all over the shop (or kitchen)," a user explained


6. "The secret that I was never taught growing up but has made such a huge difference in my cooking is thoroughly drying meat, fish, and veg with a paper towel before cooking."

While rinsing is not suggested, other commenters agreed that drying meat, chicken and fish ahead of time will improve the meal. A commenter shared, "My mom's cooking was always too watery, not crispy or caramelized, because she missed this step, and to be fair, it isn't mentioned in most recipes."


7. "Prepare all the ingredients before you start cooking."

Doing the prep work ahead of time will save you the trouble later on. One person commented, "Taking my time cutting/chopping/etc and putting everything in neat little bowls and plates really streamlines the cooking process and leaves me more time to clean as I go, without having to worry about garlic already almost burning while onions aren't chopped yet."


8. "Use scissors to cut things."

This is another helpful tip for saving time in the kitchen. "Cherry tomatoes, dough, pizza, some cuts of meat, veggies... So much faster, less to clean up and way cleaner cuts," suggested a commenter.

Another person added, "Mint and cilantro and small chilis... way easier with scissors."

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What do you think of these tips? What would you suggest? Let us know and be sure to send this along to your friends and family.

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