Expert tips for home chefs
No matter how well you can cook, it's great idea to get advice and tips from the experts every once in a while. These expert tips for home chefs will have you cooking like a pro.
Executive Chef Mark Beaupre of JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes was kind enough to share with us his top 10 tips for home chefs.
1. Buy produce from farmers markets or farmers directly as much as possible for freshness and all natural and organic reasons.
2. Use sea salt instead of iodized salt. Kosher salt works as well, but iodized salt takes longer to dissolve and affect the food's flavor, plus sea salt has a much more refined flavor and mineral benefits.
3. Invest in bone china. It is amazing what a nice table set can do for your meals. Stay away from plates with colors and decorated rims. Plain and simple is the best to let your food show through.
4. Check out cooking classes. Many local schools offer continuing educational courses.
5. Taste often. This will help you proper seasoning of food and understanding depth of flavor. Know what your spices do after being cooked vs. their raw flavors.
6. Establish relationships with your local purveyors. If you can, befriend your local butcher, grocer, fish and/or cheese monger, etc. when applicable.
7. Make fresh stocks. This is another way your local butcher's friendship can come in handy. Get bones and make fresh stock for your soups, sauces and gravies.
8. Note the importance of kitchen ergonomics. Layout of your spices, utensils, storage, and work space. Make sure pots, pans, dishes are within reach, spices are right at stove side, plenty of clean dishrags handy for spills and splatters, and that table is set BEFORE you start cooking so you're not scrambling at the last minute, etc.
9. Cook according to the seasons. Don't make a peach cobbler in the winter! You can certainly find peaches in the winter but they are usually not good. Food tastes better when it is in season.
10. Use cook books often, all chefs do! There are some great cook books out there, in particular "Culinary Artistry" by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page. This book emphasizes cooking with the seasons as well as simplicity. It has great recipes as well as diagrams for the seasonality of products and great flavor combinations that are easy to comprehend.
Lobster rollsChef Mark Beaupre also shares with us this recipe for a delicious summer lobster roll that is great for an outdoor dinner. It is currently offered at the Citron Brasserie at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes.
- 7 oz. fresh lobster meat (diced)
- 2 oz. lemon aioli (recipe below)
- 1/4 cup celery (diced)
- 2 ea. mini lobster roll (soft rolls)
- kosher salt
- white pepper
DirectionsFollow the procedure below to cook lobster. Once lobster is cooked and cooled, cut it into chunks and reserve cold until needed. On a griddle or in a pan on medium high toast the sides of the soft rolls in butter. Combine lobster, celery and aioli and season to taste. Place lobster mix in a toasted roll and serve alone or with your favorite side.
Cooking lobsterIn a large heavy bottom pot bring enough water to cover all the lobster to a simmer. Blanch lobster for 7-8 minutes and place immediately into ice bath to stop further cooking. Do not leave lobster to soak in ice bath any longer than it takes to cool down the lobster or it will make the meat soggy and water logged.
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- kosher salt
- white pepper
DirectionsCombine all ingredients and mix well until very smooth. Adjust seasoning as needed.
More lobster rollsHeather Johnston of SoGood.TV demonstrates on how to make these warm lobster rolls.