Nine kitchen hacks from celebrity chefs

Knowledge and expertise shared by celebrity chefs is highly regarded. These culinary masters have spent years honing their skills, and their innovative techniques can revolutionise the way you approach cooking in your kitchen. Here are nine kitchen hacks from celebrity chefs.

Boil whole potatoes for a creamy mash

Guillaume Brahimi, a seasoned expert in the art of French cuisine, shares a valuable technique for achieving exquisitely creamy mashed potatoes. His secret? Boil the potatoes in their entirety, keeping the skins intact to minimise water absorption. Minimal water in the mash means a creamier outcome.

To elevate the texture further, Mr Brahimi suggests passing the potatoes through a fine sieve and generously incorporating butter, following the quintessential French tradition.

Don’t chop, blend

Adam Liaw refuses to painstakingly chop onions and garlic, instead, he pops them in a blender with a splash of water.

“In Malaysian cooking, it’s known as a ‘rempah’ and is used for curries and things, but it’s the same principle as an Italian soffritto or French mirepoix,” Mr Liaw told Delicious. “It saves heaps of effort and time so I use it for everything from spaghetti bolognese to curries to beef stew to give it a really rich flavour and texture.

“You don’t have to worry about extra washing up either because the mixture doesn’t contain oil or anything sticky, so it just rinses clean really easily,” he adds.

Have multiple oils on hand

When it comes to oils, Bobby Flay is here to tell you that you should have more than one in the pantry. “You need a couple of different oils,” says Mr Flay. “Extra virgin olive oil is best for topping dishes off, and oils such as canola or vegetable are better for cooking.

“I don’t really heat up extra virgin olive oil very often because it can get very bitter very quickly. I usually finish things with it,” he adds.

You should use extra virgin olive oil with caution for high-heat cooking due to its low smoke point, which can lead to flavour changes and potentially harmful compounds. It’s best suited for low to medium-heat cooking, drizzling over finished dishes and making salad dressings. For high-heat cooking, opt for oils with higher smoke points.

Whip up custard in your microwave

If you’re a fan of kaya (Malaysian coconut curd), you’ll be glad to know you can whip it up quickly. Making it in the microwave takes only about five minutes as opposed to the traditional two hours.

First, whisk the ingredients in a bowl. Then microwave in two-minute increments, whisking again between each. Once you’ve reached your desired consistency, it’s ready to eat. 

You can also cook custard this way, cutting the cooking time in half while eliminating the risk of stovetop burning. Just follow the recipe as usual and finish it off in the microwave once you get to the point where you combine the milk and eggs.

Cook stuffing unstuffed 

“Stuffing’s something that people think needs to be stuffed in the cavity of a bird – that’s the worst place to cook a stuffing. It’s not good in there. There’s a reason why you don’t put much in that cavity,” says Gordon Ramsay. 

Creating an exceptional stuffing is a distinct process. First, gather the ground meat you’re going to use. You can use ground sausage, beef or pork. Then add some smoked pancetta, roasted pistachios and chopped apricots and bake the mixture in a tray. Once it’s done, enhance the flavour by adding some juice from the roasted bird and let it sit and absorb. This method results in a deliciously rich and flavourful stuffing.

Use oil for fluffy couscous

Shane Delia’s top recommendation for achieving perfectly fluffy couscous every time is to coat the grains in oil before cooking. This ensures the grains remain separate, preventing clumping when you introduce the stock. Lightly toast the couscous before cooking to add a subtle nutty flavour. Mr Delia likes to add his vegetable offcuts to couscous while it’s cooking to impart extra flavour and minimise food waste.

Blanch Brussels sprouts 

“The great thing about sprouts is that you can cook them in lots of different ways,” says Lucy Brazier. “What you need to do is cook them at the last minute, just before you’re about to eat them – chuck them into boiling water and do a couple of minutes, so they start to soften but not go too soggy. And then if I’m doing them with chestnuts, I’ll stick them in a pan with the chestnuts, and fry them off for a couple of minutes as well, so you get some nice crispy edges.”

Zest your eggs

Maggie Beer’s secret to more flavourful scrambled eggs is to add cream, salt and orange zest to the mix. Make sure your pan is nice and hot, add a bit of butter and cook the mixture until your eggs are just set. The end result is a glossy, delicious scramble with just a hint of citrus flavour.

Use mayo for an easy poultry marinade

To quickly prep lean proteins such as chicken, restaurateur Shannon Bennett says to use mayonnaise. All you need to do is coat the meat in a few tablespoons of mayo before baking in the oven. Thanks to the condiment’s natural fats, the roast will be crispy yet tender.

Do you use any of these kitchen hacks? Do you have any others to add to the list? Let us know in the comments section below.

Also read: Innovative chef tips for saving money in the kitchen

Ellie Baxter
Ellie Baxter
Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.
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