10 Cooking Secrets From Great Restaurant Chefs Slideshow
July 24, 2013
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.
"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."
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.
"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."
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.
"I find the best, and easiest, way to cook rice is by using a rice cooker. You’ll get perfect rice each time!"
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.
"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."
Chef Laurent Tourondel of 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."
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.
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.
"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."
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. Whenever he’s grilling, searing, or sautéing 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.
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.
"@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"
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.
"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."