Insider Chef Secrets Wow Your Favorite Dishes

Using techniques honed by restaurant chefs, you can make dinners that will wow your family and friends.

Cutting vegetables

Cutting vegetables for a delicious stir-fry.

iStockphoto.com/Rich Legg

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Falls Church, Virginia – Most people in the United States eat 21 meals per week. Even when focusing just on dinner, it can be quite difficult to come up with seven tasty meals, each and every week. If you know some of the insider chef secrets, however, many of the standby meals that you create regularly can become tastier and more interesting. While these secrets may seem like small things you can do, they can make a big difference in the final dish.

“There is a reason why a dish you make at home seems to taste so much better in a restaurant,” says Rahman “Chef Rock” Harper, celebrity chef and adjunct culinary instructor at Stratford University. “Chefs prepare things in a manner that can make a regular dish seem more like a gourmet one. But you can easily do these same things right at home.”

And Chef Rock should know – he was the Season Three winner of the popular show “Hell’s Kitchen.” It was his cooking methods that landed him the winning spot on the show and the prizes that came along with it. If you want to take your food skills to the next level, keep some of these insider chef secrets in mind:

● When it comes to chopping, start by folding up a slightly damp towel and placing it under the cutting board. This will keep the board from moving around, and will help reduce the risk of injury to your fingers.

● If you are cutting items like carrots, first cut them in half lengthwise, then put the flat edge onto the cutting board to start chopping. This will make the process easier and safer.

● When using salt, many chefs opt for sea salt, which is believed to be healthier. If you happen to over-salt something, add a dash of vinegar to balance it out.

● If you have vegetables that are beginning to wilt, you can give them life by dropping them into ice water for a couple of minutes. This will help replenish the water in them, the lack of which causes the wilting.

● Pay attention to plate temperature, making an effort to serve hot foods on slightly warmed plates and cold foods on plates that have been chilled in the freezer.

● Store food correctly to retain the best flavor. For example, things that should not be stored in the refrigerator include onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes and garlic.

● Don’t forget quality control. It is important to taste-test the food a couple of times as you are preparing it. That is the best way to keep up with what needs seasoning and how well the dish is turning out.

“One of the most important things to remember, as a chef or cook in the kitchen, is that you don’t have to be perfect,” Chef Rock says. “The more you practice, the better your cooking will become. So just get in the kitchen and get cooking!”

Stratford University offers an advanced culinary arts professional program. They also have a variety of degree and non-degree culinary arts and hospitality courses. The culinary degrees at Stratford University include advanced culinary arts, as well as baking and pastry arts. The school also offers one-day culinary workshops that are open to the general public. The topics of those workshops include beginner cooking, sweets, sushi, cupcakes, bread making, Easter dinner made easy, vegetarian, fish, homemade pasta, cuisines of the world, and much more.

The degree programs are offered both on campus, as well as online. For more information on Stratford University, visit the website.