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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Get the confidence to stop guessing and take the mystery out of cooking

 By: Chef Todd Mohr


My goal is to help make cooking easy for you. While understanding how to cook with a cooking method rather than following a recipe, it’s also important that you get cooking tips that help rather than confuse. One of the reasons cooking can be difficult or even a little intimidating is the result of guessing.

1. Guessing while cooking is bad.

Let me give you an example. In my early days of cooking for a living, I was working with a chef that told me, "Todd, you can’t put too much butter in the hollandaise." The problem is, I wasn’t sure if I was in trouble for putting too much butter in the hollandaise sauce or if I needed to load up the butter. In the end, I had no idea if I was going to be able to make the sauce to his liking.

Guessing and not knowing if you’ll be success is stressful! Stress can increase your fear of cooking which does not help to make cooking easy and it should be.
• Are you ever surprised by the results of your cooking?
• Does your meal with come out terribly wrong?
• Perhaps, once in a while, the meal that you’ve cooked comes out unexpectedly great?

These are the results of guessing. Maybe you’re guessing because:

• You’re not sure how your meal is going to be received.
• You lack experience or confidence with the presentation of your food.
• You feel such a responsibility when you cook that you feel you may let people down when you cook.

So, while you’re cooking, you’re constantly second guessing yourself. You may be guessing because you are cooking ingredients that you haven’t worked with before. What in the world does…

• A cooked brussel sprouts look like?
• Swordfish get cooked completely?
• A person do with eggplant?

It’s enough to make a person terrified!

2. Guessing leads to inconsistency and surprise results.

• Have you ever been cooking rice and while it’s boiling, you think it needs more rice? Were you surprised when the rice was done and some of the rice was crunchy?
• What about turning an item over and over again while you’re sauteing?
• Are you gashing your steaks or burgers to test to see if it’s done?

3. Guessing can’t be duplicated.

If you’ve cooked a great meal, do you know how you did it? What if you tried to duplicate it and it wasn’t as good the next time? Now, you have even less confidence and begin guessing even more!

I want to help you stop guessing at your cooking and gain the confidence to be able to depend on great results each time. I want to make cooking easy for you and give you tips that will make your cooking great every time your cook.

I want you to start with this cooking tip: In your cooking tonight, try to take notice of the things that you guess at, and start considering ways to quantify your cooking in the future.

Chef Todd Mohr is a classically trained chef, entrepreneur and educator. Chef Todd's simple philosophy - burn your recipes and learn how to really cook - has helped many home cooks and professionals alike finally achieve success in the kitchen. Learn his 1 Secret for Free and discover how online cooking classes can really teach you to cook!
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1 comment:

  1. While I never guess with desserts, strange cooking items, etc, part of the joy I get from cooking is NOT having to be exact. :) Most of the great chefs I know do not measure a thing in everyday cooking.
    I do agree however that a lot of recipes and ingredients need to be exact or you will be uncertain or it won't work.
    After you cook for long enough there is a familiarity and comfort with your ingredients that you gain that allows you to have some inner measuring cup just based on the feel of flour on your fingertips and how long you've poured the vinegar. :)
    Thanks for the great post!