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Columbia’s Culinary Arts Centre: Tips for culinary students

The internet may offer you a wide array of suggestions on how to improve your cooking but none of them would ever compare to tips from actual experts who have worked in the field for decades. That is exactly what we want to impart to you right here at Columbia’s Culinary Arts Centre. 

Our experts collected the tips that they can only recommend through years of experience abroad and in the United States. Every piece of advice that we are going to share with you today is something that you would only hear in your culinary classes so pay close attention and bring out your notepads as we list down the most effective ways to create good food! 

How to grill a perfect steak 

Creating the perfect steak might sound simple, but it is harder than you think. You might capture the right consistency, but the flavour may not be up to standard. To create the perfect steak all you need to prepare is salt. 

That’s right, a little salt is all you need and you have to lather it on the steak at least two hours before you put the meat on the grill. Make sure that you sprinkle salt on both sides of the steak. Once you are done, place it on a wire rack on a rimmed baking sheet. 

By doing this method, you allow the meat to keep its juicy texture. After two or three hours, you can pat your steak dry with a paper towel then season it again with salt and pepper. We recommend using kosher salt for that crispier look on the crust of the meat. 

Making fluffy scrambled eggs 

Have you ever wondered how chefs manage to make their scrambled eggs extra fluffy? Well, we’re here to let you in on a little culinary secret. It’s simple, all you have to do is to cook your scrambled egg the same way you usually do. 

Make sure you don’t overcook it and turn off the heat when ¾ of the egg is already cooked. Continue cooking the egg with the remaining heat from the pan and season it with salt after you are done. We recommend using kosher salt to keep the eggs moist and fluffed up. 

Peeling garlic easily 

According to professional chefs in our culinary school, you can peel a bunch of garlic cloves all at once by placing the cloves in a bowl and covering the bowl with another bowl to create a dome-like shape. Once you are done, you need to shake your dome vigorously for a few minutes and voila! All your garlic cloves are peeled from their shells. 

Keep the cutting board steady 

Keeping your cutting board steady is one of the requirements in keeping your cuts fast-paced and preventing accidents in the kitchen. One trick that you can do to keep the board steady is to place a wet paper towel at the bottom of the chopping board. It will keep it in place no matter what you are chopping up. 

De-stem herbs fast 

De-stemming takes a lot of time and time is not a luxury in a fast-paced kitchen. Instead of plucking the leaves of thyme and cilantro one by one, you can take the stalk of the herb in your hand and pull it in the direction opposite of the stem. This will allow all the usable leaves to come off in an instant. 

Get a rasp grater on your kitchen 

A rasp grater is every cook’s best friend in the kitchen. You might think that it is only usable in zesting lemons, but that is completely wrong. You can use it in a variety of ways including grating garlic, nutmeg, shallots and cheese. You can even use it on chocolate so it is better to have one in your kitchen at all times. 

How to make the perfectly crispy bacon 

Bacon might be a staple food in the United States, but that doesn’t make it any easier to use. To create the perfect bacon that has a crispy exterior but is juicy inside, you need to ditch the frying pan and trade it for an oven.

Place your bacon strips on a baking sheet lined with a metal rack and let it cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes. This method is perfect for allowing the fat to drip down on your bacon while the heat works all around the meat creating a juicy and crispy bacon. 

Always stack up on cornstarch 

Cornstarch has a variety of uses in the kitchen. You can use it as your breading to give your dish a crispy shell or you can use it to thicken the consistency of your soup or sauce. The best way to use cornstarch is by diluting it first in equal parts water. Never put the cornstarch directly on your soup or sauce since it would clump up and your dish would appear lumpy. 

Have a homemade spice mill 

Homemade spice mills are a treat to have. It’s every chef’s dream and you can have it right at home by using your old coffee grinder. Put all of the spices that you want on the grinder and mill away!

Keep your herbs fresh for months 

It can be troublesome to keep herbs fresh all the time. Not to mention that it is also expensive. This is why our chefs decided to share their tips on keeping your herbs fresh for months on end. What you can do is to keep your herbs in an ice cube tray and pour olive oil or melted butter over them. Once you are done, freeze it and use one cub for a quick flavour boost every time you need it.

Ripen your avocados faster or slower 

If you are cooking meals with avocado but it isn’t quite ripe yet, we recommend placing your avocados in a brown paper bag along with a banana. This will ripen your avocados within 24 hours! If you want to slow down the ripening of your avocado, you can put it in the fridge. This will keep your avocados fresh for a longer period of time as well. 

Zero waste sauce preservation  

If you have leftover sauce and don’t want to waste it by throwing it away. You can use an ice cube tray and pour your sauce on the tray. You can then freeze the sauce and use a cube or two when you need it! 

Don’t waste leftover coffee

Wasting food is a cardinal sin in the kitchen. It doesn’t just call on pests, but it also affects the environment. For that reason, you can use this trick to cut down on your coffee waste. Pour over your leftover coffee on an ice cube tray and let it freeze. You can use the cubes on your morning coffee and pour hot milk over it! Not only is it a delicious treat but it also saves you money and prevents excessive food waste.

Creating frothy coffee

If you are a fan of frothy coffee, there is an easy way that you can create this delicious meal and that is by adding your coffee and milk to a blender and whirling it around for thirty seconds. Be sure that the coffee is piping hot to create the perfect froth. 

Cracking the egg perfectly 

Nobody likes shells on their eggs and that is something you should avoid as a cook. According to our professional chef, one way to perfectly crack an egg with no stray shells is by cracking it on a flat surface instead of in a corner of the bowl. This method will prevent the egg from breaking into small pieces. 

Clean your counter all the time

Never leave your counter dirty. It is tempting to leave it up to the assigned personnel, but keeping your counter clean allows you to move more freely and gives you a sense of control in handling your dish. You don’t have to wash the dishes right away. You only need to organise the stuff that you used and pile them up properly. You not only make the dishwasher’s job easier but you also keep your counter clean.

Use stock instead of water 

Beef or chicken stock can add an instant flavour boost to your dish if you use it instead of water. We recommend always stacking up on your broths and avoid watering it down to keep the flavours full.

Frozen vegetables are the best! 

It is often overlooked, but frozen vegetables are actually better since it has the same refreshing flavour as fresh vegetables, but it is easier to have in a pinch. Moreover, it allows you to keep your veggie for a longer time.

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