10 Cooking Secrets from Great Restaurant Chefs

10 Cooking Secrets from Great Restaurant Chefs
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10 Cooking Secrets from Great Restaurant Chefs

We’ve collected 10 of our favorite secrets that were given to us from restaurant chefs. Read on to discover tips from the professionals for you to use in your home kitchen.

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Chef Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen

Secret: Seeding a Pomegranate

Is it possible to seed a pomegranate without crushing the berries and becoming stained with red juice? Apparently not, for the stains, at least, according to chef Michael Ferraro of Delicatessen in New York City, but he has a pretty good trick for getting the seeds out whole.

Image Credit: Delicatessen

"Hold the pomegranate stem side up and cut horizontally, then take one half and hold it, with the cut side facing your palm. Take either a honing steel or a narrow rolling pin and hit the top of the pomegranate, so all the seeds fall into your hand. And wear an apron! Those things can stain."

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Chef Alex Ageneau of Paris Club

Secret: Seasoning a Sauce

According to chef Alex Ageneau of Chicago’s Paris Club, seasoning a sauce comes at the end, if at all, and never during the process of making it.

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"By reducing [a sauce], it will become saltier. You can always add more salt in the end when your sauce has reached the proper consistency."

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Chef Dale Talde of Talde

Secret: The Best Rice Ever

Every master of a craft has a particular tool that they favor, and for chef Dale Talde, it’s a rice cooker.

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"I find the best, and easiest, way to cook rice is by using a rice cooker. You’ll get perfect rice each time!"

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Chef Charlie Palmer of Charlie Palmer Group

Secret: An Efficient Oven

A lot of people know chef Charlie Palmer for his steaks, but when it comes to baking, he has a no-fail method for making sure his goods come out perfect, every time.

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"Before putting a cake or muffins in the oven to bake, use a thermometer, any one you’ve got on hand, to check that your oven is absolutely, without question, at the right temperature. It’s the only way to ensure perfecting baking."

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Chef Laurent Tourondel of Arlington Club

Secret: Lemon-Juicing

Image Credit: Arlington Club

"To juice a lemon, microwave it for 10 seconds, as this will break down the cells and allow the juice to flow a lot faster. This is a nice trick when trying to make the most out of a lemon when making vinaigrette."

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Chef Ed McFarland of Ed’s Lobster Bar

Secret: Keeping Your Eyes Dry While Chopping Onions

Before taking charge at The Daily Meal, executive editor Arthur Bovino used to work the stoves at Ed’s Lobster Bar in New York City under the direction of chef Ed McFarland. Along with specific orders as they pertained to service, McFarland often gave his crew instructions to stay tough in the kitchen.

"Whenever we chopped onions, we were told to do it under the vents to keep our eyes from tearing," says Bovino.

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Chef David Burke of David Burke Kitchen, David Burke Townhouse, and Fishtail (Among Others)

Secret: The Perfect Poached Egg

When he’s not dictating menus and running the show at one of his several restaurants in the New York area, chef Burke likes to make a nice poached egg for himself at home, and he’s got a secret for how to do it perfectly.

Image Credit: Jack Studios/Anthony Garito

"Bring a deep pot of water up to a rapid boil. I like to add a little lemon juice or vinegar to my water so that there’s some acid in the cooking liquid. Once it’s at a rolling boil, remove the pot about one-third from the flame so that the flame makes contact with the side of the pot, rather than the bottom of it. This does two things: it brings the temperature down so that the rolling boiling is now a hard simmer, and it also helps giving the simmer a flowing direction, which will make it easier for the water to catch your egg."

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Chef Jesse Schenker of Recette

Trick: Cooking Meat Perfectly

Eggs and milk aren’t the only things chef Jesse Schenker is tempering at his restaurant in New York City.

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Whenever he’s grilling, searing, or sautéeing meat, he always "tempers" the meat by leaving it out an hour or two before so that it comes to room temperature, ensuring a perfectly cooked piece of meat every time.

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Chef Mario Batali of Otto, Babbo, and Del Posto (Among Others)

Trick: De-Rusting a Skillet

As many of you probably very well know, Mario Batali is not only known for his restaurants, but for the great pieces of advice he doles out on his Twitter account. He shared a surefire way to get the rust off your cast-iron skillet this past year, and we’re going to remember it forever.

IMage Credit: Melanie D

"@Mariobatali: Put a cup of salt in, bake at 350 1 hr and then scrub w dry scrubby RT. @jparti523: HELP My Cast iron skillet has rust on it"

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Chef Tommy Mosera of Tommy’s Lasagna

Secret: Staple Pantry Ingredient: Roux

Most people who have cooked with a roux probably did it because it was a part of a recipe and they needed it right at that moment. Not chef Tommy Mosera of New York’s Tommy’s Lasagna. To Mosera, a roux is a pantry staple, waiting to thicken any sauce or liquid that needs a bit of help.

Image Credit: Thinkstock/Hemera

"I also always have cooked roux in the refrigerator to thicken a chicken pan sauce or a beef pan sauce if I am short on time and need to thicken a sauce quickly."

Image Credit: Getty Images


By Anne Dolce

If you met a florist, you'd probably ask them about flowers, and if a painter crossed your path, you'd want to know what kinds of brushes they use to paint with. If you ran into a lawyer, you might ask them what to do about a recent parking ticket, and you would probably ask a doctor what to take for a current cough.

Whenever you run into a professional from a specific trade, it's natural to ask them to share some tips to their success. Beyond being just generally talented in that specific field, these professionals practice their craft day in and day out, and so along with general pieces of knowledge, they also have tricks and secrets hiding up their sleeve for how to do that profession really well.

10 Secrets from Great Restaurant Chefs

Professional restaurant chefs are in the trade of cooking, and so naturally, we always want to know some of their secrets. It's not just that we want to know how to make their famous spaghetti and meatballs (because we do), or have them tell us what kind of knives to buy (because we will), but we want to know the small, seemingly insignificant things that make them so great at what they do — things that aren't included in a recipe, and don't come on a description of a box of knives.

Whether we've met these chefs at an event, interviewed them for a story, or read one of their tweets, we've come across some pretty valuable information over time from some great restaurant chefs. Ever struggle with that firm lemon and can't get the juice out of it? Chef Laurent Tourondel told us a trick for that once that we'll never forget, and we'll share it with you here. Can't figure out how to get the rust off your cast-iron skillet? Chef Mario Batali knows what to do. And for that person out there who is always trying to master their sauces, we've got some pros here who know how to make them perfectly.

Chefs aren't just great cooks, but they're resourceful ones, too, and we want them to impart some of that knowledge on us. So from chance meetings to scouring interviews, we've collected 10 of our favorite secrets that were given to us from restaurant chefs. These are tricks of the trade that live in our cooking tool belt, and we want you to add them to yours, too.

Check out the slideshow above to discover 10 cooking secrets from great restaurant chefs.

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