When time seems to be against you during service, there are a few things every chef should know to save time and make the cooking process easier without compromising safety or food quality.
Here are a few of our favourites…
Reinvent the use of your current equipment
Your current equipment is more than likely useful as it is, but learning how it can be manipulated to provide an even more useful shortcut to learn and share with your kitchen.
- Apple corers for potatoes – apple corers are useful pieces of equipment in themselves but using them to cut up potatoes can result in the perfect wedges being cut in half the time it would have taken with a knife and cutting board.
- Pizza cutter for herbs – even though they’re good for slicing everyone’s favourite Italian dish, pizza cutters have more than one use too. Use them on herbs on top of a cutting board to stop your herbs sliding all over the place and reducing the risk of knife injury – simple slice the pizza cutter over the herbs until they’re chopped to your desired size.
- Waffle irons – these don’t only need to cater for their namesake. Waffle irons can be used to make hash browns, cookies, omelettes and much more.
There are many hacks and shortcuts you can use to improve your prep time and make your kitchen life easier, for example:
- Cherry tomatoes – to chop a bunch of tomatoes quickly, find two similar size container lids or plates. Place the tomatoes between the two plates and apply a small amount of pressure to keep them in place. Slice all the way through with a knife and voila, you’ve perfectly halved cherry tomatoes without spending that much time doing so!
- Egg slicers – egg slicers are ideal for slicing both eggs and soft fruits and veg. Mushrooms, avocado, strawberries and more are all soft enough to be sliced in this way, and it certainly reduces the time taken to do so.
- Peeling a mango– instead of spending time peeling, simply grab a glass and cup the mango along the edge. Push down slowly ensuring the skin falls on the outside of the glass and the flesh falls into the glass. This quick and easy trick can work with a variety of soft fruits.
Don’t waste leftovers
Leftovers can be useful to complement future dishes and save time. A few ways they can be implemented include:
- Crisps for coating – have a tiny amount of crisp crumbs left in a bag – too much to waste but not enough for a portion? Crush these up and sprinkle on top of casseroles and pasta bakes – they will leave a lovely coating on top that will enhance your dish next time with a new flavour sensation.
- Save your stock – this method of preserving leftovers not only uses ingredients but again repurposes another piece of kitchen equipment. Freeze leftover stock, sauces or wines into ice cube trays. This will save you from making up or opening more next time and eliminates any wastage from the current batch.
A few more quick tips and shortcuts to help you and your cooking include keeping all main ingredients or equipment on hand at all times, and keeping a ‘garbage bowl’ on your work surface to save many a trip to the bin – simply just fill this and empty when necessary!
Putting all of these into practice can massively improve your cooking skills and quality. Be sure to try some soon – happy cooking!