Departures is published by Meredith Corp. and owned by American Express. While American Express Card Member benefits are highlighted in this publication, including through the links indicated below, the content of this article was independently written by the editorial staff at Meredith. Other Departures content paid for by American Express is explicitly marked as such.
With stay-at-home orders still firmly in place, most of us are finding ourselves cooking a whole lot more. But how about using this time to ramp up those amateur chef skills? Here, seven Michelin Star chefs from around the world share their top home cooking tips.
Clean as You Cook
"Work clean," said chef Gabe McMackin of Troutbeck Restaurant and The Finch. "I can't say it enough. If you clean as you go, the whole thing is easy, and you can spend more time enjoying it once you've finished cooking and less time on cleanup."
Use Your Stale Bread
We've all heard the saying, "when life hands you lemons, make lemonade." But in this cooking hack you will be able to turn stale bread into a Michelin-level soup recipe. "If there's any time to use every last ingredient or grocery item you bought at the store, it's now," said chef Stefanelli of Masseria and Officina in Washington, D.C. "In Pancotto (Italian Bread Soup), the key and main ingredient is—you guessed it—stale bread. Toss in other 'scraps' like carrots, celery onions, and tomatoes, and add some herbs and pecorino cheese. It's a delicious, cost-effective, and inventive recipe for the quarantine ages (and beyond)."
White Wine Vinegar Is the Key to the Perfect Poached Egg
"How do you make the perfect poached egg," asked Michael Tweedie, Head Chef at The Oak Room at Adare Manor, an American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. "Use fresh eggs, a tall pan filled with water, a good amount of white wine vinegar, and don't have it boiling rapidly."
Make Your Grill Do Double Duty
"To not let the fire I've built go to 'waste,' so to speak, I'll plan ahead and grill other ingredients to use at a later time," said Melissa Perello of San Francisco's Frances and Octavia and M. Georgina in Los Angeles. "For example, if I am grilling steak or pork chops, I'll often grill peppers, onions, and tomatoes to make salsa. Or I'll use the other side of the grill to char onions and save them for when I am cooking beans or making soup. I like to roast veggies that I'll use for a future meal - it allows the grill to do double duty and makes a midweek meal (especially after a long dinner service) that much easier."
Save Your Crust
"When making your breakfast/brunch toast, save the skin of the loaf (or whatever bread you use)," said chef Hiroki Odo of o.d.o by ODO. "Shred with a food processor and leave at room temperature for one hour and there you have the home-style panko base, which can be used for coating all kinds of poultry, vegetable, as well as for shrimp tempura. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb traditionally used as a coating for deep-fried foods such as tonkatsu."
Let Your Chicken Rest for 15 Minutes
"When roasting a chicken, you don't want to keep it in the oven until it's fully cooked," said Raymond Blanc OBE, the maître de Maison of Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons. "Let it rest in the oven with the door ajar for 15 minutes at the end. The bird will continue to cook to the perfect temperature. This is so much better than leaving it in the oven until it is cooked to perfection, but then, within 20 minutes, it is dry and horrible."
Opt for Cast Iron Cookware
"Forget beautiful tinned copper pots—instead, opt for cookware with thick bottoms," said chef Christophe Cussac of Restaurant Joël Robuchon at Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, another American Express Fine Hotels & Resorts property. "I have a preference for cast iron pans and skillets. Also, quality knives are a must—invest in a knife sharpening tool to ensure they don't get dull."