10 Easy Ways to Go Gourmet

By Guest Blogger: Jessica Nan
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If you have seen Ratatouille you’ll remember the common phrase of “Everyone can Cook!”  I too am a firm believer in this phrase, but maybe with a little twist. “Everyone can cook, but not everyone can cook well.” Secret is, Everyone CAN cook well, it just takes a little refining and some patience. Lucky for you, I’ve picked my 10 favorite tips and tricks to dress up almost anything in the kitchen!

  1. Be fearless: "The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-[heck] attitude."  Julia Child You can do this, people do it all the time.

  2. Mise en Place: This is French for ‘everything in place.’ You watch those cooking shows where everything is just measured out and they throw it all together in 30mins. This will simplify your recipes, and make them quicker. Running back to the pantry for that extra cup of flour is just annoying.

  3. Discover your talents: What is that one dish you want to perfect? What do you love? I love to make cinnamon rolls, I’ve made them so many times I probably have 10 different variations. Take a basic recipe and change it up. I love to put a little orange juice in my frosting, it complements the cinnamon just like Christmas Morning.

  4. Cute tools: It’s always more fun to make something cute if you feel cute. I love my cupcake apron, lime green zester, and cherry red bowl scrape. I have an apron for just about every month.

  5. Never underestimate a pastry bag: taking an extra five minutes to pipe your mashed potatoes into rosettes with make you look like a five star Chef. I pipe everything!

  6. Always let your dough rest and rise: The key to a light fluffy dough is to not over work it and let the yeast have time to develop. The more you rush it, the tougher your bread will be.

  7. Colors: I was told the first day of class you, “Eat with your eyes first.” If it doesn’t look appealing, you aren’t going to want to put it in your body. With butter creams and frostings, avoid over-the-top colors. Purples, Blues, and Greens are very unnatural. Opt for the pastels, spring colors.

  8. Good working music: Singing into my Whisk to Michael Jackson’s ABC 123 is just about standard in making a good product.

  9. Read the instructions on what the dish is supposed to look like finished: Golden, Brown, and Delicious works well. (GBD) Use cooking times as a ball park figure.

  10. Make mistakes: the best thing you can do is make a mistake. That’s the only way you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Who knows maybe adding parsley instead of thyme will make the dish better?

Jessica Nan is currently attending Johnson and Wales University pursuing degrees in Baking and Pastry, Culinary Arts, and Culinary Nutrition. She plays for the University’s basketball team, and hopes to graduate with honors.

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