Top culinary tips and tricks from our chef

Posted: 18/04/2019 By: Cheryl Webber

This week, we’ve asked our Executive Head Chef, Richard, for some expert tips that you can use at home to enhance your cooking experience. Cooking up a storm of delicious sweet and savoury dishes for our guests, Richard takes pride in combining a wealth of complementary flavours to create delicious recipes – such as spiced duck breast and a unique caramel panna cotta.

What are your top ingredient staples for at-home cooking?

This isn’t necessarily an obvious one, but I would always suggest keeping a gem lettuce in the fridge. It acts as a great base for salads, and can be grilled for optimum flavour and texture. I’d also suggest keeping a box of eggs in your cupboard, since they’re versatile and can be used in a variety of sweet and savoury dishes. Be sure to also keep a pot of good quality dried pasta at all times. This can make a huge difference to your recipes, and provides the foundation for so many different recipes.

How do you create a dish with a limited supply of ingredients at home?

I would always suggest using strong flavours in your dish, so you don’t have to compromise in this department. Your taste buds don’t have to suffer just because you’re lacking in ingredients! I would also recommend making good use of herbs and spices that you have tucked away.

Do you have any easy at-home cooking tips that will impress dinner guests?

If you’ve planned to cook for dinner guests, I would recommend starting your food preparation one or two days in advance. This way, you won’t be stressing on the day – and you can enjoy the cooking experience!

What are your food preparation tips for beginners?

For those who are trying their hand at cooking for the first time, make sure to ease yourself into it – don’t try too hard and pretend that you’re a MasterChef contestant. Keep it as simple and as neat as you can.

Do you use any unusual flavour combinations?

Yes, I certainly do! When cooking with a rolled pork belly, try using a mix of basil, mint and parsley rather than the classic sage and onion stuffing – this makes a huge difference.

Do you have any simple tricks for faster food preparation?

I would always recommend keeping your work space clean and tidy, and being sure to clean up as you go along. This will prevent the cooking process from becoming unnecessarily stressful. I would also suggest making sure that you have a good idea of what you want to cook a day in advance, rather than simply opening the fridge door at the time of cooking and pondering what you’re going to make.

What are your top 3 equipment essentials for fast and efficient cooking every time?

It seems obvious, but it’s so important to use a sharp knife; you will be surprised at how much this speeds up the overall cooking time. I’d also recommend working with an oven that gives you an even cooking temperature, as this ensures great results every time. Thirdly, just give yourself enough room to work with. Take a little bit of time to clear your workspace beforehand so that you can prepare food and manoeuvre around the space with ease.

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