Curious Bites: Confidence in the Kitchen

Erin Nicholson, writer

Happy New Year! To kick off 2022, I decided to share my best tips to help you be comfortable and confident in your cooking skills. The countless tools and techniques can be overwhelming, but with my five tips, you’ll surely be able to carry yourself in the kitchen without a problem. Let’s begin!

  1. Have a clean cooking area

Similar to how you can’t study with a messy desk, you can’t cook well unless you have an organized kitchen area. If your recipe calls for chopped vegetables, different spices, or certain measurements of flour, all of those ingredients need to be properly added. A messy kitchen will lead to unnecessary accidents, and it will make it harder for you to finish other tasks in a timely manner. 

  1. Print out your recipe and tape it to a cabinet

If you’re someone who enjoys following recipes, or you like to have them as a reference, printing out the recipe and taping it on a cabinet will make it easier to read, and you won’t have to worry about getting your phone or other device dirty while you’re cooking. Having it taped above you will also ensure it doesn’t get in your way!

  1. Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty

This is an obvious tip, but it’s often ignored! Especially if you’re new to the kitchen, or a messy cook in general, you should always be prepared to get some stains or marks while you’re working hard. I’m personally not a fan of aprons, but they’re great if you feel more comfortable wearing that extra layer of protection. Usually an old t-shirt and sweatpants are enough, but do whatever works for you! It’s a terrible feeling when you realize your brand new shirt is stained from oil, which is almost impossible to get out.

  1. Be strong and pay attention

If you’re making something that relies heavily on cutting or sautéing, you have to be confident when using knives and hot pans. Remember that you don’t need to be an Iron Chef to dice onions in record time – even if it takes you ten minutes to chop a carrot, being safe is the most important goal. With practice, you’ll get faster and more efficient, so start slow! Always be mindful and conscientious of hot equipment and the food you’re cooking. You want to prevent any accidents from happening, and it starts with keeping an eye on your surroundings. 

  1. Take a picture of your finished work!

If you’re planning on improving your skills as a chef, plating your finished product and taking a photo will be a great way to track your progress and train you to explore unique ways to present your dish! Not only will you feel more professional, your friends and family will think you’re the next top chef. 

Overall, cooking is a skill that requires patience and practice. You won’t get everything right the first time, but that’s the beauty of it! Other ways you could immerse yourself in the kitchen are by cooking with an experienced cook or watching Youtube tutorials. With time you’ll find what techniques work best for you, and you’ll be able to experiment with more ingredients as your knowledge of food grows. Have fun in the kitchen!