Chefs secrets


Who knows if I’m going to regret sharing all of the trade secrets but I’m a giver, so here’s a bit of an insight into the ingredients, equipment and tips and tricks that a Michelin-trained chef uses to make delicious dishes. Some will be super cheap and simple but there are few things that are worth saving up for if you’re a bit of a foodie! 

Kitchen staples

You all know how much I love cooking with salt. There are 2 different types that everyone should have in their kitchen at all times, fine table salt and beautiful flaky salt. Table salt dissolves and disperses better through your dishes so I always use this when cooking, especially when you’re salting water to cook pasta or potatoes. Don’t waste the good stuff on the water! Use the flaky stuff to finish off your food for that final crunch and salty hit. But use fine table salt on freshly cooked chunky chips because it sticks to them beautifully! 

One thing I always have in my cupboard is tinned fish. I KNOW, RIGHT? It can be a bit scary using tinned meat and fish, but tinned anchovies are a cheap, incredible source of flavour, oiliness and umami. They dissolve easily into slow-cooked tomato sauces for a bit of oomph, or mash them into a paste with a fork then mix with mayo, mustard, parmesan and lemon for a cheats Caesar dressing for the ultimate girl dinner. I have a slight obsession with tins of mackerel in spicy tomato sauce, they’ve got this hold on me where I could eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. They’re great on toast with some cream cheese and chives, in a leafy salad or topping a spicy tomato pasta for a quick midweek meal.

If you want to be reaaaaaaaal fancy I always recommend the odd splurge on some special ingredients. If you have a look online, there’s some fantastic butchers that can post out quality meat to all over the UK and it does taste better, but it’s not cheap!

Equipment faves

This is where things get a biiiiiit more expensive, but trust me, it’s worth it. My air fryer and slow cooker are 2 of my favourite gadgets as everyone knows but there are a few other bits of kitchen kit I use all the time. Although, if you want some ideas on what to do with your airfryer or slow cooker, I can recommend some great cookbooks… Shameless, I know.

Most chefs will have a bench/pastry scraper in their knife roll at all times. They look like plastic cards with rounded edges and I always use them when making doughs or pastry, and even for picking chopped ingredients up off the board so I don’t scrape my knives and make them blunt!

Cheffy tips and tricks

This one is a little boring but safety first – wet a paper towel or microfibre cloth under the tap and use this to pop under your chopping boards when doing any chopping. This will save a lot of sliding around and rearranging! Another thing to mention is always make sure your knives are SHARP! Like razor sharp. If you’ve ever slipped and cut your finger with a blunt knife, you’ll get why. Cuts from blunt knives are a lot more painful, tend to bleed more and take longer to heal. Buy yourself a good chef’s knife and use a knife sharpening steel to keep it sharp, little and often.

Seasoning is the most important thing that separates normal home cooking and professional chefs. The three parts to seasoning are salt, acid and sugar. Once you understand how to balance flavours then you can really have some fun creating some incredible restaurant quality dishes at home for your next big dinner party. If you’re making a tomato sauce, it’s important to know that if your sauce is quite acidic from tomato then a pinch of sugar and salt will bring it back. When you’re more confident, try branching out to using other ingredients for seasoning that fit with the type of dishes you’re making, like soy sauce and rice wine vinegar in Asian dishes, or balsamic vinegar which can cover both sweet and acid together. Citrus juice like lemon or lime is a great alternative to vinegars if you want to freshen things up!

Use some of these tips to make your food Actually Delicious. (Did I really just say that? Oh well)