Anthony Bourdain was not your average chef, and he is fondly remembered for his several talents. For instance, he wrote his memoir, Kitchen Confidential, and made documentaries about his cooking skills.
He was also a professionally trained chef with a lot of advice to give. Here are some of the best tips Anthony Bourdain shared with the world.
1. Make A List Of Required Ingredients
As someone who loved to eat and drink with friends, Bourdain clearly had plenty of advice about hosting. He suggested that you start by creating a clear list of all the ingredients you need.
2. Setting UP Your Mise en Place
Mise en place is a French term for preparing ingredients, cutting them into the right sizes, and laying them out for when they are needed. You might not have heard of these words as they are often used by professional chefs.
Bourdain advised that you should do this before the guests even arrived. That's because your time in the kitchen will be limited, and the last thing you should do is leave your guests for several minutes at a time to work in the kitchen.
3. Cook What You Know When Hosting
If you want to impress your guests, make it easy on yourself by cooking something you are already good at preparing. The last thing you want is to experiment with something new and drive yourself insane with recipes you know very little about.
4. Give It A Couple Of Tries
You should never expect to make the perfect meal on your first try. There are chefs who make good hollandaise sauce only after three tries.
Bourdain insisted that the best way to master a recipe is to do it a couple of times.
5. For Parties, Beef Bourguignon Is Perfect
Beef bourguignon is a slow-cooked French stew, and Bourdain insisted that it is the perfect dish for a party. The best thing is that you can even make it a couple of days before the guests arrive.
Like wine, beef bourguignon gets better over time. Additionally, it won't cost you a fortune or need unbelievable cooking skills.
Once your guests arrive, all you have to do is warm it up, and your party guests can have a ball.
6. Make Simple Burgers
One thing Bourdain distinguished himself with was his love for simple and no-frills meals. For instance, he claimed that the perfect burger consisted of a squishy bun, well-ground and good quality beef, and processed meltable cheese.
That's it. So, don't think that adding more ingredients will make it better.
7. Don't Change Classic Recipes Unless You're Adding Improvements
Bourdain had a lot of respect for classic and original recipes. In fact, he insisted that everyone should master this recipe before trying to change it.
To Bourdain, it was not enough that you play around with classic recipes, but you should also purpose to improve on them. For instance, according to him, Caesar salad was better without the chicken and cream cheese.
He also claimed that Caesar salad should never be used with sushi.
8. We Should All Learn How To Make Omelets
Bourdain had a list of dishes he believed everyone should learn to make. Among them was an omelet.
He also thought everyone should know how to make steak, pasta, roast chicken, simple soup or stew, and vegetables.
As far as he was concerned, learning to make these dishes is very easy, and it does not take much effort to master them.
9. Scrambled Eggs Should Only Have Eggs
Here, Bourdain proved himself to be something of a purist. According to him, scrambled eggs should have nothing but fresh eggs, salt, and pepper prepared using nothing but hot butter.
In particular, he believed that scrambled eggs should not have water, milk, cream. "You're not making a quiche," he said.
10. Break Eggs Into A Cup
Eggshells have been known to end up in the dish you are making. Bourdain advised that eggs should be cracked into a cup so that any shell that ends up in the egg can be picked out with ease.
11. Scrambled Eggs Should Be Folded Into A Figure Of Eight
Bourdain claimed that after putting the eggs in the pan, you should let them firm up before folding them into a figure of eight. That will make them fluffy, airy, and rippled.
When you don't fold the eggs in that manner, they will end up as tiny, almost chopped-up fragments of cooked eggs.
12. Buy Rib Steak For Perfect Mix Of Fat And Lean
According to Bourdain, when you want the ideal combination of fat and lean, you should buy a rib steak. Examples include prime rib, cote de boeuf, and entrecote rib.
In fact, these are the steaks you get at top steakhouses.
13. Stay Away From Tenderloin
Tender and fatless meat from inside were, according to Bourdain, the most boring and uninteresting piece of meat ever. In fact, professional chefs have very little regard for this piece of meat.
The problem with tenderloin is that it has no deep flavor despite being expensive. The meat's tenderness does not make up for these shortcomings.
14. Salt The Meat Before Grilling It
You should not salt your meat until just before you cook it. Salt has the ability to pull the moisture out of the meat.
Bourdain advised that you use good quality, large grain sea salt in addition to freshly cracked black pepper.
15. Grill Your Steak On Medium Flare
According to Bourdain, one of the most common mistakes people made when grilling is using temperatures that were too high. He recommended using a "nice medium flame."
He further advised that the flame should be controlled before the meat is put on the grill. Bourdain also claimed that it should be taken off the grill a short while before it's done as it will continue to cook with the heat it already has.
16. As The Steak Rests, Leave It Alone
Once you get your steak off the heat, leave it so that it can rest for five to seven minutes. Bourdain said that during this time, the steak should not be touched, poked, or sliced as it is still cooking and the juices are still distributing themselves.
When you leave the steak alone, you get a gentle graduation of color pink from the center to the crust.
17. When Making Stew, Use Cheap, Fatty Meat
You might not have a lot of money to spend on food, and that's where stew comes in. For instance, when making beef bourguignon, you don't need expensive sirloin or mignon.
In fact, fatty necks and shoulder cuts are better for stew since the extended cooking times can break down the collagen and make the stew flavor-filled and buttery.
18. Cheap Wine Can Also Cook
This particular recommendation from Bourdain was a bit controversial. He argued that you don't have to use expensive Burgundy when cooking since box wine can also get the job done.
However, he had a reason for making this shocking recommendation: you will cook off most of the alcohol and infuse it with other flavors in the dish.
19. As You Sear, Make Sure There's Enough Room In The Pan
First of all, he recommended using a pan with a heavy bottom as it distributes heat better. Additionally, he advised against overcrowding the pan since that cools down the hot oil and keeps the meat from turning into perfect brown.
He also cautioned against letting the meat burn.
20. Stew, Soup, Or Stock Should Never Be Boiled
Slow cooking is not very engaging, and that's a huge benefit. However, Bourdain said you should stir the meal every now and then.
That will keep the scorching at the bottom from bubbling vigorously. His advice was that nothing should be boiled, regardless of whether it was stew, soup, or stock.
Simmering will get the job done.
21. As You Cut, Don't Let Your Hand Lie Flat
As you cut onions, Bourdain had some tips for preventing injuries. He said that you should hold the vegetable with all your fingers with your thumb tucked in instead of laying it flat.
Bourdain also claimed that you should cut the onion in half, make the slices top to bottom, rotate it, and slice it again. Using this procedure reduces your risk of cutting yourself.
22. Accept That Preparing Sauces Takes Time
You should not rush slow cooking, according to Bourdain. Although the sauce might taste raw at first, time will make it mature.
Also, the excess liquid or alcohol will evaporate over time so that you are left with a thick, rich sauce that tastes amazing.
23. Use Thick Pieces Of Fish To Make Ceviche
Ceviche is a Peruvian raw fish dish, and he featured it in an episode of Parts Unknown. Bourdain and his friend, chef Eric Ripert, recommended that you should use very fresh ingredients, cut the fish thick so that it can handle the spices and the acid, and then eat it as soon as it's ready.
24. It's Impossible To Overcook Octopus
It's difficult mastering Portuguese red wine and octopus stew. Bourdain advised that even though the octopus gets tougher as you cook, it reaches a point where the cooking makes it tender.
In other words, it's not easy to overcook octopus.
25. You Should Save Shellfish Heads, Abdomens And Shells For Stock
Bourdain recommended that you should keep the shells, heads, lobster, abdomens of shrimp, and crab for making flavor-filled stock.
You can save these parts in zip-top bags and then use them to make soup or risotto when necessary.
26. If The Shellfish Is Alive, It's Good For Cooking
Bourdain liked garlicky clam pasta, linguine alle vongole. Some people are not eager to cook shellfish, but Bourdain claimed that "if it's alive it's good."
You should buy the shellfish fresh from the fishmonger.
27. Add Some Butter At The End Of Linguine Alle Vongole
There is a traditional style of making this Italian dish, but Bourdain suggested a little change to this recipe. He added a knob of butter at the end of making linguine alle vongole to make the dish rich and silky.
28. Butter And Sugar Transforms Carrots
Bourdain did not disregard side dishes, and he gave them a lot of attention. He liked to use the classic French dish, Vichy carrots, to accompany turkey and stuffing.
The meal consists of chopped carrots cooked in water, butter, and sugar. That is a massive improvement from the steamed vegetables.
29. When Making Pastry, Use Precise Measurements
Bourdain was not known as a pastry chef, but he still had some advice for working with patisserie. He recommended using the exact measures in the recipe.
With sauces and stews, you can add and taste ingredients as you cook.
30. Chill The Dough, It's Important
Another piece of pastry wisdom Bourdain offered was the importance of chilling the dough before rolling it. According to Bourdain, the dough should be pliable but not soft so that it's easier to work with.
Bourdain was a true master of his craft. That means these bits of advice can really improve your cooking and impress everyone who gets to taste your meals.