Whether you’re an at-home gourmet chef looking to perfect your skills or a dinner-out-of-the-box bachelor who barely knows how to boil a pot of water, there’s always room for improvement. If you’re looking to take your skills to the next level, try these five cooking techniques helping millennial men up their cooking game.
1. Buy prepared meals
Although not exactly a technique that helps you with actual cooking, stocking prepared meals, or using parts of pre-packaged meals (think sides, frozen veggies that add to a stew, etc.) can definitely help in the overall picture. “There are tons of freshly prepared meals that the grocery store offers, where you can simply decorate with a place setting,” says Richie Frieman, world renowned etiquette writer, coach, and author of REPLY ALL… And Other Ways To Tank Your Career. “All the work is done and you look like a champ!” Take advantage of what your grocery store has to offer and add it into your meal to really top things off.
2. Focus on presentation
It doesn’t take an upscale foodie to appreciate the presentation of a beautiful meal, and when that’s your focus, it’s easy to ensure you’ll pay more attention to everything that goes into your meal while actually cooking it. “One thing restaurants do great is presentation,” Frieman said. “I mean, a breast of chicken on the plate is one thing, but when creatively presented or organized with sides, it can totally up the game of any simple meal.”
3. Invest in proper appliances
While you don’t need to drop thousands on the newest, shiniest, so-called best gadgets and appliances, having the right supplies in the kitchen will definitely be to your advantage. “A nice blender, pans that can hold up, and a nice set of knives will last you years,” Frieman said. “These are the foundation of a kitchen and will cost you less than a pair of jeans…and last you much longer.”
And don’t forget to also keep in mind proper temperatures while cooking, either. “Using cookware that responds quickly to heat makes cooking easier and food taste better — because it’s cooked properly,” said Jenna Edwards, cooking companion and health coach. “When using stainless steel, most people use too much heat, which burns the food. Never use more than medium heat on stainless steel cookware, unless you’re boiling.”
4. Focus on your go-to meals
Instead of having a slew of recipes and complicated dishes that require lots of time and a great deal of effort on your part, keep a handful of your best go-to recipes in your back pocket. “You don’t have to be the master of all in the kitchen,” said Frieman. “Instead, focus on the meals (or meal) that you do really well. Even if it’s just soup! Make the best damn soup you can and mix it up.” Mastering just one dish will help you in becoming better at others down the road, too.
There’s no substitute for quality beef, poultry, or seafood, and there’s no doubt you’ll regret having had purchased that mystery meat simply based on price. “You’ll likely have to look past the grocery freezer section for these, but boutique stores can advise you on some really delicious dishes that will totally rock your palette,” Freiman said. “Use this for special occasions, to impress a date, or simply just to expand your standard meal.”