June 18, 2018

4 lessons from culinary school you’ll use every day

You’ll learn a lot from your culinary arts education about cuisines from around the world and advanced techniques for creating remarkable dishes. Studying how to make classic recipes and understanding some of the chemistry that makes amazing pastry possible are crucial for anyone who plans to build a career in cooking. However, there also more everyday skills that you’ll build by completing your assignments.

Students in culinary school develop a number of techniques that come in handy for almost any cooking task. You can put these essential concepts and methods to good use whether you are a sous chef in a fine-dining restaurant, the owner of a catering company or a home cook whipping up quick weekday dinner. Here are some of the most important culinary arts lessons you can take away from Austin cooking classes:

1. Cut meat and vegetables the right way

“Cooks should be able to cut ingredients quickly and precisely.”

Anyone who cooks regularly should be able to cut ingredients quickly and precisely. Expanding your knife skills is a way to speed up preparation while staying safe in the kitchen. As part of your culinary training, you’ll learn to grip your blade properly and perform cuts such as a dice, mince, julienne and chiffonade.

At a moment’s notice, you’ll be able to grab a chef’s knife and separate a chicken into quarters. An experienced cook knows to remove the legs by slicing through the joints, take out the backbone and split the breast in half. After performing these steps repeatedly, you can get poultry ready for the roasting pan far more efficiently.

Perhaps the most important thing you’ll learn from chopping up ingredients, is that you should always take good care of your tools. A sharp, well-honed knife is more effective and also safer, since you need to apply less force. Always use a quality cutting board or butcher block to avoid dulling the blade or doing damage to surfaces.

2. Prepare your station

Carefully planning ahead is wise in any line of work, but it’s absolutely necessary in a professional kitchen. Every culinary arts student comes to understand the impact that comes from scrupulous attention to mise en place, meaning having everything at the ready when they start work. They learn to study each recipe intensively before getting started so they never have to scramble at the last minute to find an ingredient or wash a tool they forgot about.

3. Taste and taste again

A good chef never waits until a dish is finished to find out how it tastes. Trying a spoonful at various stages of the cooking process lets you know if you need to make an adjustment to the balance of ingredients or seasoning well before the food goes on a plate. After you’ve successfully made an item several times, you know exactly what the flavor should be like at different points and can detect any issues that might detract from the final results, making corrections as you go.

4. Complete every step with confidence

One of the most valuable lessons a culinary student can learn has nothing to do with the perfect saute or ensuring a souffle will rise. It’s about having the confidence to try new things and trust your inspiration. When you have the fundamentals of cooking down pat and have made your own renditions of some of the most complex dishes out there on multiple occasions, you have the freedom to experiment.

A culinary education unlocks your creativity, letting you venture into various cuisines and put your personal spin on traditional meals. With training from experienced chefs and countless hours of practice, you’ll know when a recipe needs a little something extra and when you can simply let it cook in the pan for another five minutes.