8 Secret Weapons A Professional Chef Can’t Live Without
Published: 30 Apr 2014 By Sean Revell
Now, we all know that being a chef requires a lot of skill and patience – but it’s also about acquiring the right kind of knowledge. There are several things in the chef industry, that chefs would definitely call their secret weapons. Things the ordinary home-cook might not prioritise as much as they should – or even things the average Joe has never even heard of.
But these things, chefs that we have recently placed into new roles swear by – and they wouldn’t enter a kitchen or start a shift without them! So here we are, revealing the secrets!
1 – Sharp Knives Before you can start adding those magical ingredients to your recipes and creations, you actually need to prepare the food first! Any chef will tell you, sharp knives are more efficient, safer and quicker than old or blunt knives – why? Because they allow you to use them properly. High quality, sharp knives are more precise and will cut through food quicker and more accurately, without the unstable, slippery nature of their blunt counterparts.
2 – A Slow Cooker Ask a chef what their favourite way of cooking meat is, and most will say the slow cooker. If it is soft, melt in the mouth, fall off the bone meat you’re after – then the slow cooker is the only way to get that perfectly. It’s also a great appliance for infusing herbs, sauces and even making desserts.
3 – Muscavado Sugar When making desserts and homemade sauces such as BBQ, using a natural sugar is the best way to keep the quality of the taste high, and keep the quality of the food high too. Stay away from processed refined sugar.
4 – Natural Sea Salt The best flavouring to use when cooking meat and pasta and pretty much anything savoury is usually a touch of salt. You’d be surprised what adding a touch of salt can do, quite often, if you feel like something is missing from a dish – the answer is a tiny touch of salt. But don’t buy the generic stuff, try and buy natural sea salt if you can – and grind it yourself.
5 – Fennel Pollen This is perhaps a more obscure addition to the list, but many chefs claim that fennel pollen is magic dust – especially when serving up Italian food. It is potent and aromatic, and it’ll stick in people’s memories for being such an original, delicious taste.
6 – Anchovy Paste Not everyone feels comfortable adding salt to dishes – but still crave that yummy savory flavor. If you want to add a touch of salt to a dish, but want something a little more earthy and nutty – then Anchovy paste is a fantastic alternative. Just adding a drop to a recipe can utterly transform the taste and make it richer, tastier and all round better! It tastes fantastic mixed with a bit of chili and garlic paste too.
7 – Red Wine Vinegar To wake up flavours of a dish, and refresh the palette or add some acidity to a meal, then grab this and add a couple of glugs. It not only works fantastic in Asian dishes – but it’s great for salad dressings too. It’s similar to adding a dash of lime – but in a much more subtle and light way (without the instantly recognizable flavor, which is what Lime has).
8 – Passion Never enter the kitchen unless you’re passionate about what you’re going to cook. Keep the passion alive with your cooking whether you’re a sous chef or head chef by researching new recipes, developing new methods, trying out new appliances
And shopping for new exotic ingredients. All the chefs we asked said a love for the food you’re cooking is the most important ingredient to any meal. Cook it like it’s the most important thing right then, right there. Taste it, trial it, and then serve it up when you’re as happy as you can be. Trust us, you’ll feel the difference!