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8 Simple Ways You Can Become a Better Cook

Most of us would like to eat as well at home as we would expect to eat at a fine restaurant. Unfortunately, most of us are not professional chefs. But don't dismay. We've compiled a list of simple things you can do to elevate your cooking skills and start enjoying more scrumptious meals at home.

1.   Sharpen your knives.

Well-kept knives are vital for efficient and safe meal prep. Use a knife sharpener to keep your knives in tip-top shape, and you’ll already be ahead of the cooking game. If you’re unsure of what knives you should own, there are three considered to be crucial; a serrated knife, a chef’s knife, and a paring knife.

2.   Use more spices and herbs.

There's so much more flavor potential out there beyond salt & pepper. Fresh herbs and dried spices can add delicious depth and transformative flavor to any meal. You can turn your plain chicken into an Indian, Italian, or Mexican experience with the right herbs and spices. Get adventurous and add flavor without adding calories.

bowl of fresh herbs

Herbs for Cooking and Wellness

Learn the art of using herbs to enhance your cooking and improve your health.
Wasatch, 9/23

3.   Add a splash of acid at the end.

A splash of citrus or vinegar can bring bland dishes to life. It’s about balance; if acidity is lacking from your dish, it may taste fine, but it will lack that special wow factor. It’s generally best to add acidity as the last step.

4.   Check the temperature.

Woman learning to cook in kitchen

Beginning Chef

Whether you are a new or experienced chef, come learn the underlying techniques of making great food.
Lehi, 9/28 - 10/19

Cutting into your meat to check the insides makes your meat lose flavor and dry out. Use a digital meat thermometer instead to ensure your proteins are fully cooked without losing yummy flavor. A quick google search will tell you that chicken should be 165ºF, a medium steak should be 145ºF, ground beef should be 160ºF, and fish should be 145ºF.

5.   Taste as you go and layer your salt.

Flavors can change as you cook and add more ingredients. So taste as you go and add salt (or seasoning) when the flavor seems off or lacking. If you wait till the end, it just won't taste as good. Pro tip: use ground, flakey salt for adding texture right before serving. Use regular table salt while cooking.

6.   Pamper your protein.

Temper your protein by letting it sit out for 10-15 minutes before cooking. Putting chilled protein directly onto a hot surface can result in tougher, dryer meat.

Dry your protein for a good, crispy sear. Use a clean towel or paper towel to blot the surface moisture from your meat before cooking so the meat sears instead of steams. This helps seal in tasty juices!

Rest your protein. It’s bubbling and brewing inside after all that cooking and needs a minute to calm down and distribute the flavorful juices throughout the meat. Cutting directly into the meat when it’s piping hot will cause all that flavor to pour out.

Skillet full of vegetables and chicken

Fun & Delicious Meals

Learn to make island pork and chicken with a mushroom shallot sherry cream sauce.
Wasatch, 10/20 - 10/27

7.   Shred your own cheese and chop your own chocolate chips.

Pre-shredded cheese may seem convenient, but because it's coated with starches to prevent clumping, it doesn’t melt as well (and doesn't taste as good either). So roll up your sleeves and start shredding! Same goes for chocolate chips; if a recipe calls for them, get a chocolate bar and start chopping. They'll melt better and taste fantastic.

8.   Have the right tools on hand.

Cooking utensils

Tools and Techniques

Learn how to stock your kitchen with the right tools, learn how to use them, and produce amazing results.
Lehi, 9/7 - 9/21

Kitchen gadgets and tools can save you time and drastically improve your results. Not sure what to get? A few chef favorites are mandolines, herb scissors, a spice grinder, a wooden cutting board, a hand-held immersion blender, a microplaner, and metal measuring cups (because they don't warp and are more precise.)