Useful Cooking Tips, Techniques and Chefs' Secrets

These Restaurant- Style Methods Work Well at Home

For most of my adult life, I have, in one capacity or another, worked in the restaurant business. From my start, as a busboy and dishwasher at the International House Of Pancakes, to cooking in four- star restaurants, I have made a point of absorbing, or remembering various kitchen tips, chefs' secrets and useful techniques that have been shown to me. Presented here, is a list of several useful cooking tips and techniques that I have learned through the years.

A) When boiling hard- boiled eggs, add a little bit of vinegar to the water. It will make peeling the eggshells much easier.

B) Place a 'weight', or heavy object like a brick on top of grilled sandwiches for faster, more even browning.

C) When carrying a piece of cut plastic- wrap across the room, place against your chest and hold it in place with your chin, to prevent clinging.

D) Add a touch of garlic powder to your tunafish salad. ( Many restaurants do it.)

E) For an unusual and elegant tomato soup, add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.

F) If a soup, sauce or stew is over- salted, add some sliced raw potato. It will absorb the excess salt.

G) When preparing mashed turnips, boil and mash a couple of potatoes along with the turnips. They will cut acidity and add mellowness.

H) "Pour High". When transfering a liquid from one container to another, always pour high.

I) Try adding a little bit of lemon juice to romaine leaves before preparing caesar salad.

J) Do not add oil to pasta water, it makes sauce 'slide' off of the pasta.

K) Check to make sure you have all needed ingredients, before starting a recipe.

L) To test the 'doneness' of grilling meat, don't cut into it, releasing the juices, use your gloved- finger to press down on the meat, and feel the amount of tenderness.

M) A quick and easy Alfredo sauce can be made by combining heavy cream with grated parmesan and / or romano cheese, and reducing.

N) When making potato salad, cool, or 'shock' the cut, boiled potatoes in the freezer.

O) When blanching, or steaming vegetables, have a pan, or bath of ice ready to place the vegetables in, to 'shock', or stop the internal cooking process and to preserve fresh, vivid color.

P) When preparing triple- decker, or club sandwiches, spread mayonnaise on all three slices of bread.

Q) When 'rare' pan- seared fresh tuna is called for, heat oil in pan until very hot. Add tuna, sear for 10- 20 seconds, turn over and sear for another 10- 20 seconds. Tuna will be rare.

R) To remove the skin from a tomato, plunge the tomato into boiling water for 10- 20 seconds.

S) To cleanly remove all of the meat, or flesh from an avocado, run a teaspoon between the flesh and the shell.

T) When preparing grilled reuben sandwiches, always grill the corned beef and sauerkraut before placing on grilling bread. Grill slices of bread open- faced with one slice of cheese on each slice of bread. Pour 1,000 Island dressing over assembled sandwich, cover and slice.

Published by Thomas J McCabe

I am a writer and illustrator from Hartford, CT. Being a culinary grad and an avid cook, my paintings that are exhibited regularly in the area are largely food-oriented. Newspaper cartooning and writing exp...  View profile

  • Presented here, are some useful kitchen tips and techniques.
  • These chefs' secrets have been learned over the course of many years.
  • These techniques are used in many different restaurants.
The best tips, techniques and chefs' secrets come from restaurant 'old- timers'.