The fun thing about cooking (apart from when you get to eat the results) is that you can get creative with your dishes and experiment in the kitchen. That said, there are some things that you should simply never, ever do.
Cut and serve meat directly after cooking
You know you’ve sliced into your steak too soon when the plate pools with liquid. That liquid is much better off inside the cut of meat, where it creates a juicy and delicious meal- rather than a dry one.
Always leave smaller meats to rest for 5-10 minutes, and larger ones(such as roasts) for 15-20 minutes after cooking to allow the juices to settle.
Use metallic utensils on non-stick cookware
This is one of the reasons why you should always read the instructions when you purchase new cookware. Metal utensils can easily scratch your wonderful new non-stick pots and pans and quickly ruin the coating. Be sure to pick up wooden or plastic utensils for the specific purpose of preserving your quality cookware.
In cooking, there are very few ways to cut corners. You can purchase your produce pre-chopped or prepare sauces and gravies in advance, but generally speaking, cutting corners will only lead to a sub-par dish.
For example, you might cut a corner by using the same knife or chopping board for vegetables and meats, thus leaving the possibility for bacteria to transfer between the two. Another example is to speed up defrosting by popping a roast in the microwave, when a slower defrosting process in the sink is much more reliable and safer.
Cook everything on high heat
There are the occasional recipes that call for a high cooking temperature- such as the top of a brulee. In almost all cases, however, high heat is unnecessary and risky. The lower the heat, the more control you have over the cooking process. The higher the heat, the more likely it is that you’ll end up with a dish that looks perfectly cooked, but is actually raw – or even still cold – on the inside.
A little salt, pepper or seasoning can make a good dish a great one, but shaking too-generous proportions all over your meal can quickly rule a dish inedible. The trick is to add just a little at a time and do a taste test before adding any more. If in doubt, it’s better to serve a dish that’s under-seasoned, rather than confuse the tastebuds with an explosion of seasoning, or so much pepper that you sneeze with every bite.
Ignore the pan
When you’re preparing your food, it’s essential to also prepare your pan. Oil should be added to the pan prior to heating, or you risk burning the oil and potentially damaging your cookware. Similarly, most foods should be added to an already-hot pan, rather than adding the ingredients and warming the pan once they’re in.
Be afraid to try new dishes
Every chef cooked their signature dish for the first time at one point, and it’s likely that first try was far from their best. Never get stuck with the same recipes time and time again, because even the professionals are constantly trying out new ideas and meals. Even if it doesn’t work out, you’ll learn something from it and at least be able to say you tried!