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Daily Mail | Food

Top chef reveals the common mistakes home cooks make – and the SIX ingredients everyone should have in the kitchen

You may think you’re a pro in the kitchen – but even the most seasoned cooks can make some very obvious culinary mistakes.

From using dried herbs to following recipes using cups, teaspoons or tablespoons, it’s just some of the kitchen errors professional chefs would never make.

Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, Sydney’s top Italian chef Davide Incardona has revealed the common cooking mistakes home cooks make – and the six ingredients every household should own.

The executive chef of Barangaroo’s fine dining restaurant Corso Brio said one of the biggest mistakes was buying processed foods.

‘For tasty dishes and the best results, I always recommend starting from scratch – selecting fresh, local ingredients is always the way to go,’ Davide told Daily Mail Australia.

‘Your dishes are guaranteed to taste better and it’s that much more satisfying when you’ve created a meal that is made from the best, real ingredients that don’t have any artificial flavours.’

2. Using dried instead of fresh herbs 

If you want to enhance the flavours in the dish, Davide said always use fresh herbs instead of dried ones.

‘There’s simply nothing better than the beautiful aroma of freshly chopped herbs. Using fresh herbs not only enhances the flavour but is also key to helping you understand better which herb complements other ingredients,’ he said.

‘Take the time to smell and taste the herbs to appreciate the flavour and experiment with it to find out what you like and how it can be added to home-cooked meals. Fresh herbs can truly take any home-cooked meal to the next level.’

3. Not adding salt to boiling water when cooking pasta

Most foodies already know that adding salt to boiling water will enhance the flavour of pasta noodles – yet many home cooks still skip this step.

‘When cooking pasta, it is essential to add salt to the pot as soon as the water starts boiling. Allowing the salt to completely dissolve in the boiling water before adding in your pasta will leave you with an enhanced flavour in the pasta,’ Davide said.

‘Adding salt also helps to cook your pasta more thoroughly so don’t forget to add in the salt if you want a more flavoursome pasta dish.’

4. Following recipes using cups, teaspoons or tablespoons

Davide said another cooking error was following recipes by using cups, teaspoons or tablespoons instead of metric measurements. 

‘I find that home-cooked meals always turn out better when the recipe asks for measurements in grams, kilograms, litres and so on,’ Davide said. 

‘When it comes to experimenting with new recipes, you want to be as precise as possible, especially with dessert recipes. Sometimes, all it takes is a little too much of an ingredient to put the dish off balance.

‘A kitchen scale can be your best friend when you’re trying out new recipes. Knowing why a specific measurement is needed in a recipe helps you to understand taste levels, and from there, you can adjust it to how you like it.’

5. Cooking too fast

With many time poor people turning to fast meal options, Davide said home cooks should always take the time to appreciate the food they’re cooking with.

‘These days, most of us don’t have the time to cook and when we do, it’s usually late, we’re starving and all we want is to get food in our stomach as quickly as possible,’ he said.

‘Food is such a wonderful part of life that if we can, we should take the time to really appreciate the food we cook. Remember: cooking is an art form combined with science.

‘Rushing when cooking can sometimes mean you “cut corners” and that can often lead to overcooked or burnt food, tasteless food you don’t enjoy or simply food that might not be making you feel that great afterwards. 

‘So when you can, start from scratch, use fresh ingredients you love and with a little bit of creativity, you can whip up an incredible dish you’ll love and want more of.


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