Cook Like a Restaurant Chef


Away from the stream of servers through a swinging door and the never-ending call of new orders in a restaurant kitchen, chefs are home cooks too — albeit with a little more experience. Adam Roberts, the writer behind The Amateur Gourmet blog and book, entered the home kitchens of 50 legendary chefs to learn their secrets and adapt their recipes for foodies without a culinary degree.

In his new book, “Secrets of the Best Chefs,” Adam shares the insights he learned while cooking with the likes of Alice Waters, Top Chef Harold Dieterle, Jonathan Waxman, and José Andrés. Here, a few of our favorite takeaways.

Taste as you go.

“If there’s one lesson to take away from this entire book, this is it. Cooking is not about blindly adding this and that and hoping that what you’re making comes out okay. Engage with the food you’re making and taste it every step of the way.”

Use your internal timer.

“Chefs were often amused as we cooked together because I’d nervously remind them that they had something in the oven. I’d fret when a timer wasn’t set. But all good chefs have a well-developed sense of everything that is happening in the kitchen at all times. It’s encoded in their DNA. With practice, you can learn to have this internal timer too.”

Control the heat.

“Very rarely do recipes talk about that knob on your stove that controls the heat, but  great cooks know that knob very well. Seldom do they set the heat to ‘high’ or ‘medium’ or ‘low’ and leave it alone. As they cook, they monitor what’s happening and adjust the heat accordingly.”

Get cooking with this recipe for Olive Oil-Fried Eggs with a Crown of Herbs, which Adam cooked with Alice Waters.

Excerpted from Secrets of the Best Chefs by Adam Roberts (Artisan Books). Copyright © 2012.

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