Have you seen the movie Ratatouille? It’s the story of a rat who dreams of being a chef and is inspired by a television chef whose tagline is, “Anyone can cook!”.
Every time I watch this movie (okay, so I admit I’ve watched it quite a few times!) I ‘m reminded of why I love to teach cooking classes. One of the reasons I love it (besides the food!) is watching students who, after years of telling themselves that they weren’t good cooks, transform into cooks with confidence.
Confidence is like a muscle that needs to be exercised to grow. You are getting better and better at cooking every time you try a new recipe, experiment with a new food or ingredient, or try something you never thought you would do.
One of my Natural Chef Students, Peggy (not her real name) was convinced that she would never be able to cook without a recipe. During one class assignment that required she and her cooking partner go “off-recipe”, she just about had a panic attack. Once she realized I wasn’t going to let her out of the assignment, she relaxed and started to implement some of the things she had learned in class. And her finished dish? Creative and delicious.
Here are three ways to start building your kitchen confidence:
1. Be curious. One of the suggestions I give my students is to go out to eat (yes!) and ask questions about a dish they enjoy. When you know the foods you love when eating out, you can cook that way more often at home.
A tip: When you are asking a question in a restaurant, be specific. For example, “What is the fresh herb in this salad dressing?” is likely to illicit a more informative response than asking “What’s in this?”
2. Get to Know Your Food: As they say, knowledge is power. It might sound simplistic, but when you know a lot about the foods you are cooking with, it is easier to prepare dishes that highlight that food and taste delicious. For example, when you’re knowledgeable about different varieties of leafy greens, you’ll know which get tender fastest and choose that type when making a quick dinner.
3. Taste It! Instead of waiting until the end of cooking a dish to taste it, start tasting throughout the cooking process. When you see how adding a simple ingredient, like a squeeze of lemon or a bit of cayenne can enhance the taste of a dish, you’ll be able to use that when you prepare other recipes.
If you could use a dose of kitchen confidence, consider joining my Natural Chef Training. In this 6-week class, you will:
- Explore healthy natural foods and learn how to prepare them in a delicious way that will have you and your family excited about eating healthy.
- Practice the art of tasting and cooking more intuitively, building your confidence in the kitchen.
- Learn knife skills and time-efficient cooking techniques so healthy cooking takes less time.
- Increase your knowledge about natural foods and ingredients–making shopping and meal planning easier and a lot more fun.
The spring session starts on May 3rd and meets for 6 consecutive weeks on Thursday nights from 5-8:30 pm in Santa Cruz, California. If you do not live locally, there is an intensive version of the class that meets from June 18-25th, everyday from 10 am-1:30 pm, leaving you lots of time to explore this beautiful area of the country. For more information, and to register, click here.