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• Season in 3 stages: before cooking, during cooking, just before serving

• Taste food between seasoning stages and adjust as required

• Use fresh herbs whenever possible (better flavor but not as strong)

• Trash and replace dried herbs when aroma & flavor aren’t up to par (annually)

Organize your spice rack so you can find things quickly

• Diamond Crystal kosher salt is half as dense as table salt - use more

• Diamond Crystal kosher salt is hollow - dissolves faster

• For consistency, always use the same kind of salt

• Always grind pepper fresh; don’t even buy ground pepper

• Crush dried herbs between fingers to release flavor

• Crush whole dried spices with mortar & pestle (or rolling pin) to release flavor

• Know how 1 tsp and 1 TBS look in your palm; measure using your hand

• Only use measuring spoons for critical ingredients (e.g. yeast)


• Avoid knives made with Chinese steel

• German steel is best: Wusthof & Henckels

• Swiss knives also OK: Forschner (Victorinox)

• Some Japanese knives also OK: Global & Kershaw Shun

Use diamond stone for sharpening (2~4 times/year as necessary)

• Use butcher’s steel to “reset teeth” on knife edge (daily)

• Minimum kit: 7~10” chef or santuko, 3~4” paring, 5~6” utility/boning/fillet (flexible), 8~10” bread (serrated)

• Forged knifes cost 3X stamped knives but don’t cut any better

• Forged knife has bolster between handle and blade for balance, comfort and safety (stamped knife has no bolster)

• Always store knives with blades protected, never loose/unshielded in a drawer

• Do not store knives where small children have access

• Start kids with a lettuce knife (chef knife with serrated plastic edge)


• Pinch chef knife blade between thumb and index finger, wrap 3 remaining fingers around handle

• Never hold food with hand parallel to knife action; cut at right angle to holding hand

• Always protect thumb from knife injury

• Curl in fingers; expose only upper part of finger to potential danger

• Chop onion: cut in half, remove end but keep root, make divider cuts to near root, crosscut

• Peel garlic: place clove on cutting board, cover with flat side of chef knife or bench scraper, smash with heel of hand, remove paper, chop or mince as required for recipe

• Use a knife big enough for the task (e.g. do NOT halve acorn squash with 6” knife)

Pots & Pans:

• Heavy bottom (only) OK on electric stoves but NG on gas.

• Gas requires heavy bottom AND sides to prevent burning.

• All-Clad is nice but $$$ cookware (USA-made); shop for them at TJX stores: Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and HomeGoods.

• Calphalon makes tri-ply for less. Shop at Bed, Bath, & Beyond with a coupon to save up to 20%.

• Non-stick coating very handy for some tasks but NG for browning.

• Use a non-stick (NS) skillet for omelets.

• Use a non-stick sauce pan for sticky foods (e.g. peanut, alfredo, hollandaise sauces and rice).

• Use stainless-lined saute pan and stock/pot for browning meat & chicken.

• Don’t bother with a 1qt pan (too small); 2qt and/or 3qt are more useful.

• Avoid un-lined aluminum - reacts with acetic foods (e.g. tomato, citrus).

• Minimum kit: 8” NS omelet, 10” saute, 2~3 qt NS sauce, 6~8 qt stock pot/dutch oven.

• For more info on pots and pans read my treatise.

Kitchen Safety:

• Put lid on pan to extinguish stove-top fire; always have lid handy while frying

• Have Class A-B-C fire extinguisher near kitchen but away from stove; watch this video to learn how to use it

© 2012 D. K. Dickey - All Rights Reserved



Get some useful tips covering topics like how to season, knives and knife skills, and cookware.

Current tip with links to past tips.

Get a list of essential equipment, cookware, and supplies. If it's "essential" you need it, if not, you can probably live without it or substitute something else.

Get a list of essential fridge/freezer, pantry, herbs/spices, and mis.

Get a list of local markets and specialty shops with tips on what to buy where and how to save $s.

My treatise on how to organize your spice rack.

My treatise on cookware and what you really need.

What I've been reading: what I've liked and why.

Get class-specific notes covering each night's dishes in the order we cook them. This is updated regularly as we progress through the syllabus.

from Blue Apron