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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Quick Pan-Cleaning Trick


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Jenny Bierman, Culinary Producer, Food Network Kitchens
School: Institute of Culinary Education, 2009

Confession: Scraping pans with burned food was such a pain — until I realized if I just added water to the bottom of the pan while it was still hot on the stove, I could then use a spatula or a paper towel and tongs to clean it immediately. It makes cleaning quick and easy, and it is just like deglazing your pan for a sauce!

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET.

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Relying On Your Senses


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Rick Martinez
School: French Culinary Institute, 2011

Confession: A big moment for me was learning to cook with all my senses. Becoming hyper-aware of what is happening in the pan or in the oven — relying on sight, smell, touch, taste and sound rather than a suggested cooking time or temperature — was a big step in my cooking journey. Recognizing these sensory cues allowed me to understand what was happening to the food as it cooked and enabled me to take action based on my instincts.

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET.

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: How to Get the Crispiest Skin


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Jenny Bierman, Culinary Producer, Food Network Kitchens
School: Institute of Culinary Education, 2009

Confession: I love crispy skin on anything. The three things I learned for perfect crisp skin: Dry the skin, salt it well and place it skin-side down in a wicked-hot pan. For chicken, I put a cast-iron skillet on top of it so the all skin is pressed into the pan, making it crisp up fast! For fish, I take the skin off and crisp it up separately over high heat after the fish is cooked and removed. This way the fish doesn’t overcook and the skin gets almost a cracker-like consistency.

(**Psst: Want the above fried chicken recipe? It’s Chuck’s. Get it here.)

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET.

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Confidence Trumps Skill


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Rupa Bhattacharya, Food and Beverage Editor
School: French Culinary Institute, 2004

Confession: Never apologize for your food. I learned very quickly that no one but the chef ever notices any but the most egregious errors. So when everyone’s enjoying the dinner you made, there’s no need to list out the various ways you think you messed up, or how the dish could have been better. When someone compliments your cooking, all you have to say is “thank you.”

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Efficiency in the Kitchen


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Rick Martinez, Culinary New Business Intern
School: French Culinary Institute, 2011

Confession: Working the line in a kitchen requires a physical dexterity and speed that I neither understood nor possessed when I started. After about 6 months of getting yelled at by my chef, I finally got it. I learned what it means to be efficient in thought and efficient in action by budgeting my day to the minute, knowing times to the second for every action. I always planned 5 actions/steps/tasks ahead, organized my station to minimize movement (thus speeding up prep and plating times) and timed myself daily to see how I had improved over the day before, aiming to shave 60 seconds off of every day so that I would gain an extra 5 minutes of prep time by the end of the week.

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET

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Confessions of a Culinary Student: Breading for the Perfect Fried Crust


Curious about cooking? High-pressure culinary school requires a lot of time and money. We asked present and former culinary students for their No. 1 “ah-ha!” moment or takeaway from class so you can benefit from what they learned — without enrolling.

Culinary Student: Jenny Bierman, Culinary Producer, Food Network Kitchens
School: Institute of Culinary Education, 2009

Confession: When I started breading things for frying, I always wound up with a weird pasty mush all over everything because my wet and dry ingredients were mixing with each other, resulting in a terrible fried crust. When I learned to keep one hand for the wet ingredients and one hand for the dry ingredients, I was introduced to a whole new world of breading. No more goopy, floury egg everywhere —just a crispy nice crust and clean(er) hands.

For more on the high-pressure ups and downs of culinary school, tune in to The Freshman Class every Monday at 10:30pm ET

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Top 3 Essential Tools for Cooking During Colder Months

One of the aspects of cooking that I love the most is that the seasons always seem to breathe new life into my kitchen every couple of months. As much as I love being inspired by the fruits and veggies that pop up in the spring and summer months, I have a serious soft spot for home cooking in the fall and winter months. I tend to hibernate a bit this time of year and find that cooking a hearty meal in my kitchen makes me happiest. These are a few essential tools that I find myself reaching for regularly throughout the winter.

1. Dutch Oven

I love my Dutch Oven so much that I never put it away. It happily rests on top of my stove all winter because I think it looks pretty and it’s a good reminder that something in my refrigerator is begging to be braised. Everyone should own one of these lovely pots. It’s worth it’s weight in gold.

Recipes:

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