Are there many secrets in a restaurant kitchen that can never be revealed?! Not at all. Just be inspired and take great care in flavouring the food, garnishing it properly and preparing it with great fervour.
One thing that sometimes stands out in a restaurant style dish is the amount of fat (cooking medium such as oil, vegetable fat, olive oil). Eating greasy food daily is not a healthy choice but it is that little dash of butter or olive oil that chefs use that makes all the difference in the taste. Check out the pav bhaji that you eat out and the pav bhaji that you would cook at home! Yes, generous amounts of butter in the former.
Also the spices used are sometimes used in various combinations and proportions that can be worked out at home once you taste and dissect the dish you eat in the restaurant. Sometimes a simple switch, like substituting sea salt for regular salt, can make a big difference in the taste of the food.
Always use fresh produce at home. Try and get the best quality of fruits and vegetables and dry ingredients and see the difference. In fact, it would be more accurate to state here that home cooking can always be more inclined toward fresher good quality food than any restaurant can provide!
Read or search the net for all types of cooking techniques that could help you cook better. Master the techniques that excite you the most – for example, grilling, by practicing various recipes that use it.
In order to prepare well, always chop your vegetables and prepare your garnishes before you start cooking. As a home cook you have the advantage of preparing just before mealtime unlike restaurant kitchens where food is cut hours before to adjust to the large outputs.
Have your pots and pans worked out – which pot is good for which dish and things like that. Appliances should be easily accessible. So should chopping boards, knives, peelers, kitchen towels and a well lined garbage tin.
Take a serious look at presenting the dish. Maximum appeal lies in pleasing the eye first. Set a proper table. Use your best dishes, cloth napkins and glassware. Your plate should be big enough so that the food does not seem crowded on it , but not so big that the portions look tiny! Mostly, neutral coloured or white-coloured plates allow the colours of the food to stand out.
Simple leaf of fresh coriander or nicely cut ginger strips are sometimes enough to lift the visual. Experiment with height and placement -- make a mound of rice instead of a pile. Lean the chicken pieces against it. Just an example. Try some artistic techniques, like artfully smearing sauce across the plate. Wipe the rim of the plate before serving to remove any stray drops of gravy or food.
Chef Sanjeev Kapoor is the most celebrated face of Indian cuisine. He is Chef extraordinaire, runs a successful TV Channel FoodFood, hosted Khana Khazana cookery show on television for more than 17 years, author of 150+ best selling cookbooks, restaurateur and winner of several culinary awards. He is living his dream of making Indian cuisine the number one in the world and empowering women through power of cooking to become self sufficient.
His recipe portal www.sanjeevkapoor.com is a complete cookery manual with a compendium of more than 10,000 tried & tested recipes, videos, articles, tips & trivia and a wealth of information on the art and craft of cooking in both English and Hindi.
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