Culinary Institute of America students swear these general guidelines will enhance your chances of success in the kitchen.
Always check your mise en place (setup). Have everything youll need out and within reach.
Keep your knives sharp. Dull knives are more dangerous than sharp knives.
Recipes are a guideline; focus on mastering techniques.
Read On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen by Harold McGee.
Learn to make a good stock and then reduce it into a sauce.
Flambé: Stand back, because hair is flammable.
If youre not sure which silver to use, start on the outside and work toward the center with each course.
Salt after, not during, sautéing for better browning -- salt draws out water.
Potatoes: Start them in cold water when boiling so that the outsides dont cook faster than the insides.
After you steam or boil vegetables, make sure to shock them in an ice-water bath to preserve the color and texture and to prevent overcooking. Then reheat veggies by sautéing them
Hold your nose to get the taste (salty, sweet, etc.); then release your nose to get the flavor (citrus, woody, etc.).
When you turn over a piece of meat or fish, set it down in a new spot. The previous part of the pan will not be as hot underneath and will cause the meat or fish to stick.
Make your own vinaigrette and mayonnaise.
Let meat come to room temperature before cooking or youll waste time cooking the cold out and lose moisture with it.