Want to up your cooking game?
Even great cooks can miss a skill set or two if they haven’t had formal training. But we live in a time when celebrity chefs are just a click away, and they’re eager to share their wealth of knowledge with the world.
Practice these pro tips from chef Gordon Ramsey and you’ll look like you’ve mastered your culinary moves over years of training. Most importantly, you’ll reduce your food waste thereby helping the environment and saving yourself money.
How to finely chop and onion
The root, or the base of the onion is “absolutely crucial. Leave that on there. Cut that off, and the onion will start to bleed, and you’ll start crying rapidly,” he says.
Ramsey tells us to slice the onion going forward and let the weight of the knife do the work. Then your three middle fingers — one in front and two behind — let the front of your middle finger knuckle guide the knife.
“Fingers on top of the onion, with the knife pointing towards the root, try to get as close to the root as possible using nice long strokes.”
Then he advises to push the onion back together to cut a few horizontal passes. Then grip the onion “like a tennis ball, hold it together in place. And let the weight of the knife cut through the onion.”
How to cook rice perfectly
Starting with just shy of a pound of rice, rinse under cold water — always cold water — to remove the dust and starch. This stops the rice from becoming clumpy in the pan and makes it fluffier in the pot when cooked.
Ramsey uses cardamom, star anise, salt and pepper to season the rice, pointing out that it’s much easier to season rice before it’s cooked than after.
After adding about 20 ounces of cold water, he brings the pot up to a boil “as quick as possible” with the lid on, then turns it down and allows it to simmer.
“And that’s the secret to cooking great rice,” he says. “Allow it to steam as it’s cooking. Do not lift that lid up.”
The rice absorbs the water and doubles in size and is nice and fluffy.
How to skin and debone a fish
Ramsay advises us to use a broad, flexible filleting knife.
“Lift up the base of the tail and then just knick a little bit at the end. Twist the knife almost as though it was horizontally under the salmon,” he says. “Pull the skin as you slice the salmon underneath and let the knife do the work.”
Halfway through, check and make sure you’re not leaving too much salmon. Then resume cutting while keeping a good pull on the skin — it may help you get a better grip for pulling by wrapping the skin already removed around your hand.
Get your knife and run it down the filet to expose the bones.
Then with a pair of tweezers, pull the bones.
How to sharpen a knife
“The secret to keeping a sharp knife — sharpen it before and after every time you use it,” says Ramsay.
First grip the steel. Imaging you’re holding a tennis racket wit a confident grip. Always grip behind the handle to protect your fingers. Then take slow strokes over the top.
“It’s so much more dangerous working in the kitchen with a blunt knife.”
How to cook perfect pasta
Fill a large pan with water to make sure there is plenty of room for the pasta to cook evenly. Then, add seasoning like salt and olive oil, which will help the pasta from sticking to itself.
Bring to a rolling boil. Gently place pasta in to pan.
“As it hits the water, it starts to melt,” he says. Then with tongs, you turn it around to fully submerge the other end (if using a long pasta).
Bring it back up to a boil, and test it. You want it to “have a strong bite, but definitely not crunchy.”
Drain pasta in to a colander and add a light seasoning of salt, pepper and a tablespoon of olive oil — again to stop from sticking. Pasta will be perfectly al dente.