What makes a good cook? Check out these 50 indicators of culinary expertise and see if your kitchen confidence classes you as a ‘good cook’.
Sponsored by Circulon.
Are you a good cook?
Do you think of yourself as a good cook, or are you modest and brush off compliments with a nervous laugh?
Well, before you apply for Masterchef, research from cookware brand Circulon has revealed the top 50 indicators of culinary expertise. Read on and discover how many you can tick.
From being able to laugh if things go wrong in the kitchen to chopping onions quickly without drawing blood, there are loads of ways to determine if your kitchen confidence is merited.
Factors include being willing to experiment with foods (hello kale cake – tick!), being able to prepare a nice meal when there’s nothing in the cupboard (check out my post on using up pantry staples) and making a list before going to the shop (I’m OBSESSED with lists – tick!)
Understanding food combinations, knowing what every utensil in the kitchen does and being able to make your own sauces and condiments also feature on the list. Tick, tick, tick (well, actually I have a funny vintage whisk tool that I’m not quite sure what to do with – does that count against me?)
The Circulon Survey
The poll of 2,000 people revealed that cooks should be able to identify common herbs by both sight and appearance, have the confidence to add their own special ‘twist’ to classic dishes – and bake the perfect cake.
Proficient home cooks tend to be those who are confident about preparing food in front of others, and who are knowledgeable about their food, cookware and kitchen equipment.
Top quality cooks will also regularly reel off terms such as ’al dente’, ‘broil’ and ‘blanch’, and have a pantry stocked with unusual ingredients such as masala leaves, mustard seeds and truffle.
Does that sound like you? I must admit that my spice drawer is overflowing and yup, those terms aren’t alien to me. But still, can I consider myself to be a good cook?
It’s been fascinating to uncover just how many people class themselves as relatively good at cooking – the rise of cookery programmes and the increased popularity of sharing food on social media has influenced Britain’s love of food and desire to cook. – Circulon spokesperson
Study findings – the numbers
- 5% classed themselves as excellent cooks
- 2 in 3 Brits have been labelled a ‘good cook’
- 54% are happy to try attempt an extravagant new dish when friends are coming over
- 23% are inspired by cookbooks (how about my cookbook!)
- The average person cooks 11 dishes in rotation
- 2/3 are confident about throwing together random ingredients to make a meal
- 55% are confident in knowing which herbs to use
- 1/3 of people often try to replicate celebrity recipes
- 22% don’t bother weighing ingredients
TOP 50 SIGNS OF A GOOD COOK
1. Can rustle up anything from scratch
2. Loving to eat as well as cook
3. Willing to experiment and try all foods and ingredients when cooking at home
4. Being happy to prepare food in front of guests
5. Always being able to whip something up when there’s virtually nothing in the cupboard
6. When making a roast dinner everything finishes cooking at the same time
7. Can identify certain herbs from appearance
8. Can throw things together knowing that the different combinations (of various foods, herbs, spices) will go together
9. Experiments with dishes by adding a twist on classics
10. Experimenting with recipes more than once a week
11. Being able to laugh if things go wrong in the kitchen
12. Can identify herbs and spices by the taste
13. Knowing what herbs go in each dishes
14. Can chop things really finely without injury
15. Always have eggs and milk in the fridge
16. Home-makes all condiments and sauces
17. Owning a spice rack
18. Always the one people go to for cooking tips
19. Knows what every utensil in the kitchen does
20. Have a very well stocked pantry with all kinds of unusual ingredients including spices and oils
21. Doesn’t need a stock cube to make gravy
22. Will offer for extra people to stay to dinner at a moment’s notice
23. Rarely eat takeaways
24. Knows exactly how long to cook a perfectly poached egg
25. Knows how to peel fruit and veggies most efficiently
26. Knowing and practicing cooking terms like: ‘Al dente’, broil, blanch, clarify, deglaze, flambé, gratin, etc.
27. Always wanting to try a new dish when eating out
28. Being able to guess what is in a dish just from the taste
29. Never needing to use a cookbook
30. Always the designated cook for large family gatherings
31. Know when a cake is done without having to stick a cocktail stick in it a hundred times
32. Knowing measurements without having to actually measure
33. Owns good quality cook-ware
34. Writes a detailed list for the food shop
35. Knowing which wine to pair with certain meat or fish
36. Owning a full set of herbs/spices
37. Enjoying a messy kitchen
38. Don’t need a timer
39. Understanding what all the symbols on the oven mean
40. Can chop an onion in seconds
41. Being able to cook steaks perfectly using the thumb technique
42. Can always add in just the right
43. Knowing what ‘Bain Marie’ is and having the perfect pans for it
44. Knowing the correct pronunciation of unusual or exotic foods
45. Knowing which wine to drink with meat
46. Can flip a pancake perfectly
47. Knows how to prepare celeriac
48. Mum goes round for Sunday dinner rather than the other way round
49. Always read food magazines
50. Owns set of fancy knives
So, how did you do? Can you call yourself a good cook?
This post was commissioned by Circulon. All opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to write Veggie Desserts.