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Updated on Jun 3, 2020. Posted on May 29, 2020

16 Pro Chefs Share Restaurant-Level Cooking Tricks You Can Use At Home

Learn from the pros.

1. Don't throw away herb stems. Instead, add them to stews, broths, and soups for more flavor.

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Pro chefs don't waste any produce. Herb stems, like parsley and cilantro, can actually be used in many different ways. Add them to slow-simmering stews and soups while cooking to infuse more flavor. (Just make sure to take them out before serving.) You can also use them to infuse oils and vinegars or purée them and add them to butter.

2. For more flavor, finish up your dishes with a splash of acid.

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French chef Daniel Boulud's number one tip for home cooks is to finish your dish "with a splash of acidity". It's just as important as salt — but it's often forgotten. Try using lemon juice, lime juice, or even a bit of vinegar as a last step to round out pastas, stews, stir-fries, or grilled meats and fishes.

3. And don't forget to salt along the way — *not* just at the beginning and end.

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“Most people put too much salt in the beginning and too much in the end of cooking. If you put a little bit throughout the entire process it’s going to be so much better,” chef Jamie Bissonnette told BuzzFeed. He also recommends sprinkling salt from up high so it distributes as evenly as possible.

4. Double-fry your chicken to make it extra crispy.

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Chef and restauranteur Marcus Samuelsson recommends frying your chicken once, taking it out and letting it rest for about 10 minutes, then frying it a second time for three minutes. The end product, he says, will be gloriously crispy.

5. Swap out brown sugar for unrefined muscovado sugar in your baked goods.

6. The secret ingredient for incredibly flavorful grilled meats? Fish sauce.

7. Add a pinch of salt to your coffee grounds to make them less bitter.

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It might sound weird at first — but Alton Brown swears by this trick. He says it helps "take the bitterness out of your brew."

8. Freeze homemade stock to use in future dishes.

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In his cookbook Appetites, Anthony Bourdain recommends stockpiling stock in the freezer — and using it to boost soups, stews, and risottos. Freeze the stock in muffin trays so it's already portioned, or use ice cube trays for smaller doses when you just need a splash of liquid to finish a dish.

9. Have some herbs that are about to go bad? Steep them in honey.

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Fresh herbs can go bad so quickly that you're often left throwing away a ton of it. To avoid this waste, chef Alex Guarnaschelli has a solution: She heats up the honey in a pan until it's bubbling and then adds the herbs in and lets them steep in there a few days. Drizzle that herbed honey on cheeses, toasts, or tomatoes — or use it in a vinaigrette or a marinade.

10. If you're out of oil or butter to cook your steak, use mayo.

11. For perfect boiled potatoes, start them off in cold water, not boiling water.

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"This way, by the time the centers of the potatoes are cooked, the outside won't be falling apart," explains Gordon Ramsay.

12. Secure your cutting board with a wet towel.

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To avoid hurting yourself while chopping, it's crucial to ensure your cutting board won't move around. To do that, Jamie Oliver recommends placing a wet tea towel (or a wet paper towel) underneath the board to stabilize it.

13. For super creamy and decadent scrambled eggs, cook them in a double boiler.

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British chef Heston Blumenthal recommends scrambling your eggs in a double boiler for slow, gentle cooking. All you have to do is pour beaten eggs into a heatproof bowl, place it over a pot of simmering water (making sure the water doesn't actually touch the bowl), and stir regularly until your eggs are ready. This process does take a while but it's a sure-fire way to avoid overcooking.

14. Rinse your rice before you cook it.

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Rinsing your rice with cold water before you cook it helps get rid of excess starch. "That stops the rice from becoming clumpy in the pan and allows it to become really light and fluffy once it's cooked," explains Gordon Ramsay.

15. Use toasted nuts and seeds as a garnish on your dishes.

16. To make perfect poached eggs, pre-boil the eggs in their shell for a few seconds.

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Poaching eggs can be tricky, especially if your eggs aren't extra fresh. To make the whole process a little easier, Julia Child recommends boiling the eggs in their shell for 8 to 10 seconds before poaching.

"This will often firm up the white just enough so it will hold its shape around the yolk when the egg is broken into the water,"
she says. Once you've done that, you can poach the eggs the traditional way, cracking them in a bowl and placing them in simmering water spiked with vinegar.