The extra skills that every good cook needs

Many people will have different ideas about what makes a good cook, but most would agree there are extra skills which every good cook should have.

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Making stock

Stocks are used widely in many dishes, such as soup or stew, and although there are commercially available stock cubes, every good cook should know and understand how to make a good stock from scratch.

Cooking rice

Rice may seem like an everyday staple food which is simple and easy to cook, but the ability to cook it to perfection, making light fluffy grains without resorting to using a rice cooker, can really lift a dish.

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Separating an egg

Many recipes require just the white or just the yolk of an egg, so it important to be able to effectively separate them. Recipes such as meringue can be ruined if yolk gets into the egg white, preventing it from whisking up correctly. A good cook should be able to crack an egg and tip out the white, while transferring the yolk from one half of the shell to the other.

Staying safe in the kitchen

Regardless of how great the food might taste, first and foremost, it is important to be safe in the kitchen. This means making sure all food is prepared hygienically in a suitable environment. Bacteria such as salmonella are commonly found in raw meat, eggs and dairy produce, so these foods need to be handled carefully to avoid cross contamination and infection.

Good cooks appreciate the importance of setting up the kitchen correctly to make sure it is a safe environment for food preparation and that wastes are handled appropriately. For example, good cooks understand why stainless steel grease traps, as offered by, are important.

Kneading dough

Bread is a staple food for many people, but these days, it is most often bought from a shop, rather than made freshly at home. The taste of a shop-bought loaf cannot compare, however, to that of a loaf straight from the oven. Good cooks know how to knead the dough to best activate the gluten and make the dough elastic and stretchy. It is best to use your fists to first knock back the dough and then use the heel of one hand to stretch the dough away from you, elongating the gluten strands.


Author: Richard Brown

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