This post contains cooking tips from a French chef.
Hello, everyone. I am actually typing this post while I wait for my flight from Charlotte home to Lexington. I had such a good visit with Jordan, and she had a great birthday. Today’s topic is a fun one for me. When I took a cooking class in Paris in November, the chef had lots of little tips to share with us, and I thought it would be nice to share them with you. So, get ready for some cooking tips from a French chef.
Share Your Tastes With Others
Chef Fredric said that when you cook for others, you are sharing your tastes with them. You are cooking for yourself and then sharing. He said to cook food so that it tastes good to you. Then hopefully, others will think it tastes good, too. That makes sense, doesn’t it? For instance, if we didn’t want to experience new tastes, we would never go to a restaurant. It’s the same thing when we cook for others. It’s new tastes for them.
Slice – Don’t Chop
When you are dicing or cutting up food, slice it rather than chop it. It is safer for your fingers, and that’s what a knife is meant to do. This was the first thing he showed us, and I learned that I have been doing it wrong all of these years.
Bring the Food to You
When you are preparing food, bring the food to you rather than taking your knife or other equipment to it. It’s safer and more comfortable for you.
Have all of your ingredients, utensils, measuring cups and spoons, pots and pans out and ready when you begin preparing to cook. Organizing before you begin makes everything go faster.
Use the Freshest Ingredients
Chef Fredric goes to the market every day. Lucky for him, there’s a market outside of his apartment two days a week, and on the other days, he hops on the metro, which is also right outside his apartment, and goes to a market in another neighborhood. He only buys what looks good to him. On the day we were there, he purchased just one zucchini and one carrot because they were the only veggies that looked good to him. Ha!!! We julienned the carrot and zucchini, sauteed them, and spooned a coconut/cilantro sauce that we made over them. Sooooo good. A similar julienned vegetable peeler is available here. We also cooked fresh scallops and fresh passion fruit soufflé. He lives near a bakery and knows exactly when their baguettes come out of the oven. He stopped our cooking lesson for 10 minutes while he went to the bakery and bought a hot baguette.
Have the Right Equipment
This one is self explanatory. If you do a lot of baking, have a good mixer, good pans, and a good oven, etc. We loved the metal trivets that he used. Similar ones are available here.
Use Sharp Knives
Make sure you sharpen your knives regularly because it is easier to slice and dice when the knives are sharp.
Enhance Your Food
Lemon or lime zest added to a salad brings out the flavor. I used a zester just like this one. A touch of nutmeg added to mashed potatoes is a good thing.
Instead of using flour on a cake pan to prevent sticking, Chef Fredric recommends dusting the pan with sugar. Specifically, he used vanilla sugar which he made by putting a vanilla bean in a jar of sugar to let the sugar take in a hint of vanilla flavor. You can buy vanilla beans here.
If you are a lover of French mustard, Chef recommends Maille, which is available in certain U. S. supermarkets and specialty shops. It’s available here.
Heat the Plates
Always heat your plates in the oven before you put food on them. It’s an easy way to keep the food warm.
Chef Fredric is not a fan of the way Americans eat. He does not trust all of the additives that are in our food. Did you know that GMOs and certain pesticides and insecticides that we use are not allowed in the European Union? That’s one to think about.
We booked our French cooking class through a company called “Meeting the French.” It offers several experiences, and we were very happy with ours. Our class consisted of just my friend and me, but sometimes the class will be larger. We hope you enjoyed our cooking tips from a French chef.
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