Tag: cuisine

Bjorn Koch - 5 Tips for Cooking Like a Pro

5 Tips for Cooking Like a Pro

Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your family or somebody you want to impress, it’s always nice to feel confident in your culinary abilities — no matter how much experience you have. Here are 5 tips that will help you cook like a pro:

1. Always Prepare Before You Cook

No matter how simple your dish, it’s important to take the time to lay out all of the necessary tools and ingredients before you even flip on the stove. Otherwise, you could run the risk of burning something while you turn away to retrieve that bulb of garlic you forgot to pull out of the fridge.

2. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Your Hands Dirty

It may sound taboo, but using your hands in the kitchen is entirely natural and acceptable — after all, they’re the best tools you have. Use your hands in measuring portions, applying marinades and seasoning to meat, and even toss salads. These methods not only save you time during preparation, but in the clean-up department as well.

3. Don’t Waste Food

…Unless it’s moldy and entirely unsafe for consumption, of course. According to head chef Abra Berens, however, there are several ways you could use to get rid of the older food in your fridge without being wasteful, including: turning your wilting lettuce into a delectable soup, making chicken or another form of stock from your leftover bones, and zesting your oranges before eating them.

4. Shop Smarter

It may be tempting to just go to your local grocery store and pick up your necessary ingredients in one fell swoop, but many chefs recommend you hold out on purchasing your fruits and vegetables until you get to a farmer’s market. More often than not, the produce sold at farmer’s markets are fresher and have been exposed to fewer pesticides and other toxic substances than their supermarket counterparts.

5. Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

Sometimes, it’s good to branch out from rigid recipes and test out a few ingredients of your own choosing — though this isn’t recommended when you’re cooking for somebody other than yourself.

Or, if you feel comfortable in your ability to choose complementary seasonings and garnishes, try a new cooking technique. Many master chefs recommend testing out methods like sautéing, French frying, and poaching, as these are some of the easiest to learn. Please don’t experiment with methods that incorporate an open flame, like flambéing, as these take a decent amount of professional training to safely perform.

Bjorn Koch - 4 of the Most Famous European Restaurants

4 of the Most Famous European Restaurants

50 different countries make up the European continent, and each country features a rich history and fascinating culture. When it comes to restaurants, critics agree that Europe is home to some of the finest establishments on the planet. Below is a list of some of the best restaurants found in Europe.

Noma

Not only is Noma one of the best restaurants in Europe—it is also one of the most famous restaurants in the world. The restaurant is located in Copenhagen, Denmark. Chef René Redzepi runs the two-Michelin-star restaurant. Since its opening in 2003, the restaurant has received numerous awards. On four different occasions, Noma has appeared at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The word Noma is actually a play on two Danish words which mean Nordic food. When most people think of Europe’s best food offerings, Nordic and Scandinavian food usually don’t appear at the top of the list, but Noma has changed that.

The restaurant has appeared in the media many times including on Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown. As a result of the restaurant’s popularity, securing a reservation is very difficult. At the moment, securing a reservation is actually impossible since the restaurant closed at the end of 2016. Chef Redzepi plans to open Noma at a new location during the summer of 2017. The new location will have a farm next to it that the staff will use to source ingredients. If you want to know when Noma will reopen its doors, visit their website.

Osteria Francescana

In 2016 Osteria Francescana became the first ever Italian restaurant to appear at the top of the Best Restaurant in the World list. The three-Michelin-star restaurant opened its doors in 1995, and over the past 20 years, its dishes have been wowing diner after diner. Massimo Bottura is the man behind Osteria Francescana. Before Massimo Bottura opened Osteria Francescana he was studying law. However, he decided to leave law behind, open a restaurant, and learn to be a chef. Bottura apprenticed under chef Georges Coigny for a time before opening Osteria Francescana.

Lunch and dinner reservations at Osteria Francescana are difficult to come by. If you plan to visit, make sure you book your reservation months in advance. Osteria Francescana offers diners a 9-course or 12-course tasting menu. When you visit make sure you are prepared to spend at least three hours enjoying each course. The experience should definitely not be rushed. In a 2014 interview, Bottura spoke about the idea of closing Osteria Francescana and relocating to another city. So far Bottura is staying put in Modena, Italy. Still, if you want to dine at this fantastic Italian establish, make sure you do it soon.

El Celler de Can Roca

Joan, Josep, and Jordi Roca opened El Celler de Can Roca in 1986 in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Over the years the three brothers have earned three Michelin stars, and in 2013 and 2015 Restaurant magazine named it the best restaurant in the world. The restaurant’s wine cellar holds nearly 60,000 bottles, so come prepared to drink when you visit. El Celler de Can Roca can only hold 45 diners so booking a reservation is required. The Roca brothers focus on serving Catalan cuisine with some creative twists. For example, some of the dishes take inspiration from popular perfumes. Another dish includes a Bonsai tree on the plate.

Each of the brothers has different responsibilities when it comes to running the restaurant. The youngest brother, Jordi, is the pastry chef; the middle brother, Josep, focuses on wine, and the oldest brother, Joan, has head chef duty. Before you are seated you get a glimpse at the restaurant’s 40 cooks at work in the kitchen. Last year FoodBarcelona reviewed El Celler de Can Roca. The reviewer noted that the current wait for a reservation is 11 months (Source). Read the review, look at the pictures of the dishes, and you might decide that 11 months isn’t that long of a wait.

The Ledbury

The Ledbury is the youngest restaurant on this list. It opened its doors in 2005 and has gone on to earn two Michelin stars. While the restaurant hasn’t appeared at the very top of Restaurant’s Best Restaurant in the World list, this year it appears as the highest-ranking UK restaurant on the list. Brett Graham, who is originally from Newcastle, Australia, is the chef behind The Ledbury. He made his way to London in 2000 when he was 21 years old.

Last year the Telegraph reviewed The Ledbury and concluded that its dishes are just as delectable as they were when the restaurant first opened. It concludes the review by saying that even though The Ledbury has a world-class reputation it feels down-to-earth and friendly. There likely won’t be any leftovers when you’re done your meal. Food this delicious tends to be eaten quickly. However, the restaurant does offer guests the opportunity to take compost bags of kitchen scraps when they leave. So not only will you get a good meal, your plants will too.

4 of the Best Mexican Restaurants in the US

Bjorn Koch - 4 of the Best Mexican Restaurantsin the US

This Friday is Cinco de Mayo. In honor of the holiday, this post looks at some of the best Mexican restaurants in the US.

Cosme – New York City, NY

Cosme serves Mexican food, but maybe not the type of Mexican food that most people think of when they picture Mexican food. For example, you won’t find fare like tacos and burritos on Cosme’s menu. What you will find, though, is good food with Mexican flourishes. The restaurant serves brunch, lunch, and dinner. On the dinner menu, you’ll find dishes like octopus and duck carnitas. The restaurant has an extensive mezcal list as well as tequila selection. The mezcals are served in glasses with worm salt around the rims. Plus, you get orange slices on the side.

Topolobampo – Chicago, IL

Since 1989 Topolobampo has been serving delightful Mexican cuisine. Rick Bayless is the man behind Topolobampo. Before opening his first restaurant Bayless published Authentic Mexican: Regional Cooking from the Heart of Mexico and hosted the PBS series Cooking Mexican. Topolobampo is the upscale sister of Bayless’ first restaurant, Frontera Grill. Topolobampo’s current dinner menu features dishes with names like Betrayal and Euphoria. The “Art Menu,” as it’s called, is designed to evoke feelings in diners similarly to how a piece of art would evoke feelings. Bayless is an expert in Mexican cuisine, so when you eat at Topolobampo you are guaranteed to have an unforgettable dining experience.

Guelaguetza – Los Angeles, CA

Guelaguetza opened in 1994. The restaurant often receives credit for popularizing Oaxacan cuisine in the United States. Since first opening its doors the restaurant has received praise in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, and has received a James Beard Award. The restaurant is best-known for its moles—so much so that it sells mole on its online store. Guelaguetza serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The desserts, in particular, should not be skipped. According to Guelaguetza’s website, Pulitzer Prize-winning food critic Jonathan Gold once said: “Guelaguetza Is The Best Oaxacan Restaurant In The Country” (Source). When it comes to the best Mexican restaurants in the United States, there is no question that Guelaguetza should appear on the list.

La Condesa – Austin, TX

Guacamole, mezcal, tacos—La Condesa has it all and does not disappoint.  According to La Condesa’s website, the restaurants “features the largest selection of 100% blue agave tequila and mezcal in Austin” (Source). The dinner menu features ceviches, small dishes that are perfect for sharing, and food prepared on a wood-fired grill. When you visit make sure that you make a reservation. When planning your visit make sure that you make a reservation. The restaurant tends to fill up quickly and waiting for delicious Mexican cuisine on an empty stomach is never fun.

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