Chef tips
Image: Taylor Cullen

18 Tips From A Seasoned Chef To Instantly Elevate Your Dishes

Chef Taylor Cullen from Bondi Harvest gives us his baseline for an incredible home-cooked meal.

One of our go-to spots for dining in both Los Angeles and Sydney, Bondi Harvest, is a gem for healthy, wholesome meals. Chef Taylor Cullen is one that ensures that health stays delicious in every meal. It might seem hard to make a lovely meal from scratch, but when you have the foundation for it, everything is possible. It starts with passion and a little bit of salt! We asked Chef Taylor Cullen from Bondi Harvest to give us some pointers on how to elevate our in-home cooking skills not that we’re not dining out as much. Keep reading for more on his tips to elevate your home cooking.

bondi harvest
Image: Courtesy of Taylor Cullen

18 Tips From Bondi Harvest to Elevate Your In-Home Cooking

  1. Motivation/Passion: You have to want to cook, passion is everything! Without motivation, it will be a chore rather than a fun experience.
  2. A Good Recipe/Shopping List: The market and the internet is saturated with recipes! Pick a good source that works for you and stick with it. Take your time to curate your shopping list so you don’t forget anything.
  3. Produce is Everything: That doesn’t mean the most expensive is the best, shop in season and you will get the food with the best flavor, texture, and aroma. Good quality is key.
  4. Time Management and Flow: Cooking is a process, nothing works if you rush it.
  5. Music: For me, a good playlist, upbeat that has you dancing makes cooking that much more fun.
  6. Someone to Cook For: My father always told me, put out each dish as though it was for someone you loved! This has never failed me.
  7. Fresh is Best: Reiterating point 3, shop for the freshest ingredients, if you have herbs in your garden, use those, local farmers markets are the best place, talk to the purveyors, they have so much good information about seasons and produce.
  8. Spice It Up: In all my home cooking, I use an array of spices, on meats and vegetables, they caramelize when cooking and carry so much flavor. The best thing is to do a little research on what works with what, then practice.  Store these in glass jars for freshness afterwards.
  9. Treat All Produce with the Respect It Deserves: It’s come a long way to end up on your plate, a little time and care will complete that journey in the right way.
  10. Taste, Taste, Taste: Through every step of cooking I taste my food. This way, you get a better understanding of seasoning and how different things react with heat.
  11. Salt: Good quality salt is one of the most important things. I use Maldon, it has less salty flakes so while you use more, it’s easier to balance that seasoning.
  12. Simplicity is Key: If you have good produce, it’s already perfect! You should try to do as little as possible through the cooking process.
  13. Fat Is Your Friend: There are good fats and bad fats. Once again quality is key, cook with oils that can handle high heat. Season with good olive oils, a little butter goes a long way to carry flavor.
  14. Presentation: If the presentation is important to you, have a think about it before you are ready to plate the food, I draw a little picture in my sketchbook, so there’s no rush.
  15. “Mese en plus”: A term in cooking that means, get all your prep out of the way! Then start cooking, this will give you more time to focus on flavor.
  16. Rest Your Meat and Fish. Proteins tense up when there is heat you need to give them time to relax before you eat. Otherwise, it’s tough and bleeds, keep it in a warm place for 5-10 minutes while you finish everything else.
  17. Practice: You don’t do anything else perfectly the first time, what makes you think cooking is any different.
  18. Don’t Be Afraid: Get your hands dirty, enjoy it, and have a good time!

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