The Taste Looks Ahead to Spring

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The Taste Looks Ahead to Spring
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The Taste Looks Ahead to Spring

Lauren Scott, Jeff Mahin and Paul Caravelli from ABC's The Taste share their cooking insights and tips.

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Try Your Food Along the Way

"Taste, taste, taste every step of the way, and balance what tastes good," Scott remembers learning from her team mentor Nigella Lawson.

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Cook for Yourself

Lawson, who Scott calls a "kitchen goddess," taught Scott to cook what she likes eating. "If I hate grapefruit, I should probably not cook something with grapefruit in it," Scott explains. "If it brings pleasure to you, it will probably bring pleasure to somebody else."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Watch an Instructional Video

Scott, who has no professional training, taught herself many cooking techniques just from doing a little Googling. "I would watch people on cooking shows [and] on YouTube videos," she explains. "I’d look up how to cut an onion. I would go home and grab and onion and learn to cut it. I wanted to learn how to do it right."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Cook An Octopus Tonight!

"I embrace food as something that’s fun to experiment with," Scott shares. "I would encourage home cooks to go outside of their comfort zone; buy some octopus this weekend and cook it up. If you hate it, that's fine, but if you love it, you’ve just discovered something new and exciting. I'm willing to try and experiment with anything, and I think that’s how I’ve grown the most."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Don't Take On Too Much

According to Scott, one of the biggest mistakes people make in the kitchen is trying to multitask. "People get really overwhelmed in the kitchen if they have four pots on the stove and something burning in the oven," she says. "I try to stay away from pressure in the kitchen, especially at home. When I don’t feel pressured, my food turns out the best."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Bring Great Foods Together

Mahin considers how to make each individual part of his dish good by itself. "My theory is if you can put three or four really great things individually together, it is the best you can do."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Try and Let Yourself Fail

"[Professional chefs] have a chance to fail many times before a dish goes on the menu," Mahin shares. "You are always going to have a miss; you aren’t going to please people all the time. It's really trial, error and practice."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Buy Different Salts

"I think everyone should have a really good salt," advises Mahin. "Different textures in different types of salt change things so much."

The chef uses five different salts in his restaurants. He recommends a fine salt for salads so it dissolves easily and Murray River salt when you want to "get a nice crunch." The Murray River salt is flaked and larger than your average piece of salt but still delicate.

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Anyone Can Cook

There is no such thing as a bad cook. "Cooking is not easy," admits Mahin. "It's about how much energy you want to put into it."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Bok Choy is the New Pasta

"Baby bok choy is something I always have a drawer full of," admits Caravelli. "It cooks really fast, and it can take on a whole lot of flavors; it's almost like a pasta."

Caravelli loves that the grooves in the vegetables help hold sauce, even when you pick it up with a fork or chop sticks. He also recommends preparing them with a spicy Thai chili paste.

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC

Step Away from the Pan

"When you are sautéing something, you don’t have to constantly shake the pan," explains Caravelli.

If you are sautéing mushrooms, for instance, they won't get brown if you keep moving them. "If you keep moving it, you'll release all the water and have stew. Let it go for two more minutes [than you'd expect] and then move it, and you'll see why."

Image Credit: Adam Taylor/ABC


"Spring is when nature realizes it's [come] back [to life], and everything is sprouting and budding and sweeter flavors are coming in," explains Jeff Mahin of Stella Rossa, M Street Kitchen and Do-Rite Donuts, one of three contestants to depart ABC's The Taste this week. Mahin, who plans to open three more restaurants this year, adores pea tendrils for the season. He advises letting them speak for themselves in cuisine rather than manipulating them or overpowering them with other flavors. "You don't really want to change too much about vegetables and produce in the spring because it's so delicate," explains the chef. "You could put something with pea tendrils, but then you [wouldn't be able to] taste them."

Paul Caravelli, executive chef at 545 North Bar & Grill, similarly cannot wait for the new season. He looks forward to "lightening up the food" he makes and venturing away from plates of steak and potatoes that are so popular in the wintertime. Caravelli is thrilled to be "getting back to fresh vegetables rather than unripe tomatoes from a box," he explains. "Winter food is so boring; there is no color."

For the season, the chef loves to make seafood accompanied by a light, interesting salad "like an heirloom tomato salad or citrus salad," says Caravelli. "It livens up food, and it just pops off the plate."

Home cook Lauren Scott, who also left the show on Tuesday, looks forward to the fresh berries the spring offers. "I grew up in Fresno, California, and we always had fresh berries in the spring," she reminisces. She loves making pie crust from scratch and filling it with an abundance of fresh berries. As the last chef in Nigella Lawson's "Kitchen" on the show, Scott worked very closely with her and left the show full of the food personality's wise words and philosophies.

Check out the slideshow above to find out exactly what Scott learned from Lawson, why she recommends making octopus and for other cooking insights and tips from the contestants.

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