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How to Cook like a Pro: 5 Pitfalls Home Cooks Face, Expert Guidance from a 10-Year Culinary Veteran

🍽️📚 A Decade in the Kitchen: 5 Mistakes to Avoid for Culinary Excellence

Celebrating 10 years as a seasoned chef and passionate teacher has granted me a front-row seat to numerous culinary adventures. Along the way, I’ve witnessed some common pitfalls that many aspiring cooks stumble upon. Today, let’s delve into the five most frequent cooking mistakes and how to conquer them.

1. Not holding the knife right Precision is the heartbeat of every chef’s artistry. A misgrip on your knife could lead to inconsistent cuts and even potential accidents. To wield your blade like a pro, place your index finger and thumb on the blade’s base, creating a pinch grip. This technique provides control and finesse for flawless slicing and dicing.

2. Not seasoning while cooking The layers of flavors in a dish relies on the harmony of seasoning. A sprinkle of salt and a dash of herbs throughout the preparation can elevate your creation from mundane to extraordinary. Remember, season as you go—this ensures every bite is infused with taste.

3. Not getting the pan hot enough The sizzle when ingredients meet the pan is music to a chef’s ears. A common misstep is underestimating the importance of a hot pan. Preheat your pan until it’s gently smoking; this is the key to achieving that golden sear that tantalizes taste buds. Also, make sure to pat you proteins dry with a paper towel. The drier the protein is before you put it in the pan, the better color you’ll get.

4. Not giving ingredients space to cook so stuff gets overcooked Learn to work within the limits of your pan. Do two batches if you need to- it’s worth it! Overcrowding your pan with ingredients hinders proper heat distribution and can lead to uneven cooking. Give your ingredients the space they deserve for a harmonious culinary dance.

5. Overcooking proteins in the pan (instead of using the oven) Bid adieu to dry and tough proteins! A shift from the pan to the oven is a game-changer. It’s how restaurants get juicy, tender proteins every time. They sear it in a pan just for color, then finish it in the oven. This prevents it from overcooking and drying out in a pan. It allows your proteins to cook evenly and retain moisture, giving you a succulent outcome that’s a feast for the senses.

In these 10 fruitful years, I’ve seen these mistakes turn novices into masters. Remember, cooking is an adventure, and blunders are merely stepping stones towards perfection.

Embrace the process, learn from missteps, and let your passion for cooking flourish. Here’s to the learning process and your future tasty discoveries! 🍳👨‍🍳🎉

Chef Joanna is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and a private chef for the stars. She also hosts pop up dinners and cooking classes inspired by her travels around the world. You can find more of her work at

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