Culinary art: cook like a chef by adopting the proper reflexes
The art of cooking like a pro: avoid incorrect techniques
Like many disciplines, culinary art has its share of preconceived ideas that have become ingrained in our lexicon of cooking techniques over generations. Gastronomy is much more than an inheritance passed down to us by our grandmothers who are oblivious to the fact that they have woven several erroneous cooking techniques into the very fabric of our memories. As chefs we have become victim to the concept of Proust’s famous Madeleine instead of concentrating on a dish’s true flavor.
Tips from Raphaël Haumont
Culinary art takes on an entirely new dimension when one takes into account the reactions certain ingredients have upon each other rather than relying on preconceived ideas and erroneous cooking theories. We can transform our kitchens into true laboratories by paying attention to the chemistry of food. Raphaël Haumont, a specialist in molecular cooking, teacher and researcher, explores the cooking world’s preconceived ideas and its most widely used faux pas. If you want to cook like a Michelin star chef, read on for information about several cooking techniques that you should stop using!
Top preconceived cooking techniques
Oil in pasta water
The fact of the matter is, however hard you try water and oil will never mix. Yet the collective imagination still holds onto the idea that we will transform into a true chef by adding a drizzle of oil to our pasta water while it comes to a boil. However, this cooking technique is useless due to the fact that water and oil do not mix together!
A much more effective way to flavor your pasta with olive oil is to add a touch of olive oil to your pasta after you have strained out the water.
Adding vinegar to water when cooking eggs
Grandmothers hold fast to, and still teach their grandchildren, the secret to making the perfect boiled egg, in which they add a drop of vinegar to the boiling water. They claim that it helps keep the shell from breaking. This technique is completely useless as the vinegar’s acidic qualities weakens the eggshell.
Beating mayonnaise using a figure 8 motion
In order to make the perfect mayonnaise you must add the oil gradually. There is no specific whipping motion that works best; drawing a figure 8 with your whisk will not affect the quality of your mayonnaise. Learning to cook using simple techniques is also a very important part of a chef’s savoir-faire!
Ice cold water for greener vegetables
After cooking green beans or peas certain individuals believe that it is good to soak them in ice cold water. This technique is thought to preserve their green color. This technique has been proven to be false. However, it should be noted that professional chefs do use this technique to shock vegetables after removing them from boiling water in order to halt the cooking process completely.
Culinary art and cooking meat
Meat is one of the most poorly cooked foods. Many modern recipes provide incorrect cooking temperatures and times for heating meat.
Temperatures that are too high have a negative impact on its texture, quality and flavor. Temperatures above 100°C/212°F will make meat rubbery and inedible. Raphael Haumont highly recommends not cooking meat above this temperature as it can be thoroughly cooked at much lower temperatures - approximately 55°C/131°F.
Cooking meat at lower temperatures prevents it from being overcooked. It is best to cook meat below 100°C/212°F, whether you are planning on pan-searing or slow cooking it.
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Cooking like a professional chef: the dilemma surrounding aromatic herbs
Culinary enthusiasts who aspire to become true chefs know that preparing a delectable meal also depends on its aroma. Every chef has their own secrets for enhancing a dish’s scent.
Knowing each aromatic herb and its virtues is an integral part of cooking and is imperative when it comes to creating the perfect dish. Your knowledge about fresh herbs can be easily put into action by using either a multipurpose kitchen knife or a small chef’s knife. Both of these kitchen utensils are very efficient at slicing, mincing and chopping all types of culinary herbs.
A few quick tips on how to use culinary herbs: bay leaves, rosemary and thyme can be added to stews before leaving them to simmer so that the dish has time to absorb all of the herb’s flavor.
On the other hand, once the cooking temperature exceeds 45°C/113°F, fresh aromatic herbs such as parsley, basil, cilantro or chives lose all of their aromatic benefits. It is very important to add them to your dish just before serving it.