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By Chef Todd

You’ll Never Trust Another Recipe Again
When You Know This Secret To Great Meals

Home cooks learn to cook all wrong. They’re told to focus on the wrong things and must re-learn cooking every time they step into the kitchen.

It’s no wonder cooking is dreaded, feared or ignored by most people. If you learn to cook all wrong, it creates stress. Stress devours your confidence, and lack of confidence makes people want to avoid things.

If you are stressed by cooking, it’s not your fault.

I blame recipes and cookbook authors for making cooking seem so difficult when it really isn’t.

Recipes have inherent flaws and variables that make them difficult to recreate. If you follow the recipe exactly and your dish doesn’t look like the photo, you feel like a failure.

But you're not a failure. It’s the recipe that has set you up for failure. Recipes don’t understand your uniqueness, your kitchen’s uniqueness, even the different ingredients you use.

Written instructions for cooking always concentrate on the long list of ingredients. You need “one onion, chopped”. How big is this “one” onion?

Recipes always skip the most important part, HOW you cook that list of ingredients. “Cook under medium heat”. What exactly is “medium”?

Recipes assume every stove is the exact same temperature when they’re all different. “Cook for 3 to 5 minutes”. That can be raw or burned depending on the particular kitchen.

Now that you no longer trust a recipe to guide you toward a greater variety of interesting and healthy meals at home,

How will you learn to cook better?

Keep in mind there is a difference between following a recipe and feeding yourself for one meal, versus learning HOW to cook so you can create endless original meals.

Culinary college students are taught to cook MUCH differently than home cooks. We don’t focus on recipes in culinary school, we go a different route to add confidence, creativity and variety to our professionally cooked meals.

I reveal these differences in my Webinar Workshop, "The 5 Skills Only Taught In Culinary School That Are Essential In All Of Cooking" and you can view it for FREE.

During this FREE online class, I’ll share the 5 most important skills taught in culinary school that you can put into use in your home kitchen immediately to start cooking ANYTHING you want HOW you like it cooked.

Discover the difference between how professionals and home cooks are taught in my next
FREE Webinar Workshop

Claim your FREE Spot for the next webinar session by CLICKING HERE

By Chef Todd

This Kitchen Gadget May be Harming Your Cooking

A Common Kitchen Gadget to Avoid

What is this common kitchen gadget, which you are probably using a lot, that may be harming your cooking? The answer is going to surprise you... But if you are using a clock to determine how long to cook items, you are probably getting worse results than you would if you were using other means.

Cooking by TIME is the best way to cook if you like inconsistency. When you cook with a clock, you relinquish all control over your cooking. If you enjoy the excitement of being unsure whether your chicken breast is raw or burned, keep cooking with a clock. But, this can lead to great frustration in the kitchen.

Inconsistency cuts away at your confidence and you become unsure when to STOP cooking.  This is the “Unconfidence Zone” when you keep cooking and cooking because you’re unsure.


I fully understand this. It’s a lot more embarrassing to serve an undercooked piece of chicken than it is to serve a rubbery one. So, the clock says to keep cooking and you do.


In reality, cooking by TIME is the WORST way to cook because it doesn’t address all the variables involved in cooking something well and this is why the clock is one kitchen gadget upon which you should never rely.

What the clock doesn’t understand is that everyone’s stove is different

...pots and pans are different, chickens are different from each other, and your desired results from cooking can be different than what the recipe wants.


Every semester in culinary college, a student will ask me, “chef how long should I cook this?”  The answer is always the same. I reply, “until it’s done”.


That’s why you’ll never cook with a clock again when you take back control of your cooking and recognize when your food is “done”.


The real key to empowered cooking is to be able to cook with your EYES,

to observe reactions and quantify your application of heat so you know EXACTLY when your food is done and you can stop cooking at the perfect point.


All food items go through 4 temperature stages as they cook. You can WITNESS each of these “road markers” in cooking and make your own decisions based on what you know to be true.


Proteins like a chicken breast or steak “coagulate”, they stiffen and shrink as they cook. When you know what to look for and the temperature at which this happens, you can SEE that your steak is just the way you like it.


Any food filled with moisture will have dramatic changes when you subject them to heat. They start to sweat, moisture pools and evaporates. This is another observable cue that a clock can’t possibly anticipate. A clock might have hands, but it doesn’t have eyes!


These are just two of the empowering insights I reveal in my Free Webinar Workshop, “The 5 Skills Taught In Culinary College That Are Essential In All Cooking”.


This online cooking webinar exposes the fact that home cooks are taught differently than tomorrow’s professionals. I’ll be sharing the inside scoop on what is being kept from you when it comes to cooking like a pro and taking control of your cooking back from that clock!


Discover the difference between how professionals and home cooks are taught in my next
FREE Webinar Workshop

Claim your FREE Spot for the next webinar session by CLICKING HERE

By Chef Todd

In The Kitchen Size DOESN'T Matter

People are always waiving knives at me!  For years, people came to my cooking school brandishing blades, gesturing wildly, and imploring me, "Is this a good knife?"

A "good knife" has little to do with the size of the blade, the color of the handle, or the brand of the knife.

To consider whether you have a "good knife" versus a "bad knife", you have to examine two items more important than the logo or manufacturer.

First, you have to consider WHAT the knife is made from. There are three types of metals that all kitchen knives are made from and they each have advantages and disadvantages as I explain in this video:


Once you've decided on the features of which material your knife is made from, you should examine the construction.  HOW is this knife put together?

Again, there are advantages and limitations of knife construction that will give you options while shopping for a chef's knife as I'll show you here:



When you're thinking about buying a chefs knife or shopping for other kitchen knives, consider the best materials and construction your use necessitates and your budget can withstand.

Using the right tools is an important part of cooking, but there are other decisions you can make on your way to true Cooking Freedom. My guidebook will help you make the best choices and you can get it for FREE.


"The 5 Forks For Freestyle Cooking" will guide you toward empowering yourself to cook the way YOU want with the foods YOU desire.

Click  to get your FREE guide to Freestyle Cooking today!

By Chef Todd

Cooking Tailgate Food Just Got Easier With These Ideas

Cooking tailgate food can be challenging for the best cooks.

- You're cooking in a parking lot from the back of your car or truck.
- You're probably cooking for more people that you usually do.
- The wind is blowing, the air is cold.
- Your grill is tiny because it has to fit in your car.
- You've already got a good beer buzz on.

I've done all these things, both for friends and family as well as catering events. One particular corporate celebration that I was hired for had me grilling for 150 people before a football game. (I did NOT have a good beer buzz that day). It's difficult for the best cooks to create something delicious and appetizing under those tough conditions and a potential football food disaster for less experienced tailgaters.

I do my best to avoid as much actual cooking at the event as possible to limit the hazards and distractions of cooking in a parking lot.

1) Bring a HOT cooler - My caterer's best secret is how to keep food hot during transport. This is crucial to all off-site caterers who prepare food in a central kitchen and then bring it to location. Certainly, I'll have a cold cooler with me to bring the salads and cold cuts, but what if you wanted to bring HOT dishes that need to stay hot until eaten? Whenever I'm responsible for the tailgate food, I bring a cold cooler filled with the food items I want to keep cold, along with beverages that must stay frosty as well.

And there is a way to keep food hot without an open flame

This way, when I serve my famous New York Attitude Filet Mignon Chili, it doesn't need to be made quickly on-site. I can take the hours necessary to develop all the flavors in my chili at home and bring it HOT to the game. That's my second idea...

2) Bring hot food with you - It's a lot of pressure to prepare food on-site considering the hindrances I mentioned above. Plus, not everything has to be grilled! If you are to cook everything in the parking lot, make sure you know the 10 steps for grilling properly. However, a good variety of flavors and textures make for a better tailgate party.

3) Forget the grill altogether - If you’ve been following my videos over the past six years, you know how I feel about outdoor grilling. It’s the great male excuse. If you’re trying to learn to cook, and were to cook a steak on your indoor stove top to a black char, it would be unacceptable. However, if you cook a steak outdoors, on a barbeque grill, and it’s charred black, it’s “nicely blackened”. Burnt is burnt, indoors or out. I don’t know why men think it’s easier to cook outdoors than indoors. I believe the exact opposite.

I’d rather saute any day. Whether at home, indoors, or in the parking lot preparing my football food for the tailgate party, the direct heat of a saute pan is easier to control and gives me greater options than a barbeque grill can.

Bringing a portable camper stove and saute pan for your tailgate foods gives much greater variety in cooking. You can heat a saute pan more evenly, apply fats and compound flavors better than a barbeque grill, and deglaze the pan with liquids to make pan sauces. Your tailgate party saute will have more moisture and flavor than the 2 hour old grilled hot dog.

Ultimately, I'll give you the same advice I always gave mothers-of-the-bride who wanted to cook for their daughter's wedding. I'd ask them, "don't you want to be a guest at the party and not the caterer?" If you're cooking tailgate food this Fall, don't spend the entire time poking hot dogs with a fork and gashing hamburgers to see if they're done. Make it easy on yourself and follow the ideas above for a unique and fun tailgate party that you can enjoy as well as those you've cooked for.

By Chef Todd

The Recipe That Will Ruin Your Cooking

There's a recipe out there that will ruin your ability to cook. It's lurking in one of those many, many, many recipe books you've been collecting. It's not camouflaged, it's there in black and white with a nice color picture but you may not see it. That's because this particular recipe is hiding in plain sight, among hundreds of typed written instructions for cooking that are supposed to tell you what's for dinner.

You don't know which recipe is the land mine in your kitchen and which could make a great meal.

The internet is clogged with written instructions for cooking, but the photos of the results tell you that the recipe has let people down. Home cooks compare their efforts to the photo in the magazine and suffer a crushing blow of confidence in the kitchen. They had visions of the accolades they'd be receiving because of their beautiful creation and delicious food. If they were cooking to impress a date, the date is now over.

They blame themselves, but it's not their fault.

It's the recipe's fault. Cooking from a book is like trying to put together Ikea furniture. Instead of the nuts and bolts, wood and plastic scattered on your floor, the recipe provides a long list of ingredients and seasonings you must array on your counter. You begin to arrange these elements by referring to the manual over and over again. When your challenge is complete, you've arrived at a piece of furniture leaning to the left and extra parts in your hand. Similarly, your meal does NOT look like the photo. This is not the type of cooking that makes you happy.

But, you had all the instructions, why didn't it come out?

The piece of furniture wasn't assembled correctly because you're not a furniture builder. You don't know the methods behind putting stuff together even though you have a piece of paper that's meant to teach you immediately. The same danger exists for cooking by recipe. With a list of ingredients and stringent steps but no background in HOW to assemble the food, recipes can ruin your cooking. However, if you had the 7 skills of the kitchen, you could cook anything.

Recipes Set You Up For Failure -

The simple act of comparing your creation to a photo in a book makes you feel badly. That photo took hours of work from food stylists and food photographers using tricks to make it look best. Your dish was made in 30 minutes, there can be no comparison. When YOU create a meal without a recipe, there's NO comparison to anything else. If it's good to you...it's good.

Recipes Command You To Spend Money -
What's the first thing in a recipe? It's a list of food you need to go buy. Instead of shopping for the recipe, how about CREATING a recipe from the ingredients you have on hand? When you become a more confident cook, you can rummage through your pantry and make up dinners every night. Skip the recipes and you'll save on food like never before.

Recipes Make You Re-Learn Cooking Every Night -
When you cook blindly, going from line to line of the cookbook, you don't witness the changes in food that you can hope to repeat the next night. One recipe is cooked on the stove top, another in the oven, a third over simmering liquid, yet none tell you HOW to cook in this fashion. It's a treadmill of frustration.
Recipes Have Inherent Variables -
I don't think it's possible to duplicate a recipe exactly any more than it's possible to play a Beatles song JUST like the Beatles did. In music, there are variations in the WAY the instrument is played. In cooking, there are variables in the size and flavor of foods, the intensity of heat, and the interpretation of the cook. This is one of the three secrets to making your cooking a winner every single time.

Recipes Keep You From Really Cooking -
The more you depend on following someone else's opinion of what you should be eating, the less you're gaining the skills and confidence to create your own meals. When you concentrate on learning HOW to cook, you can use any combination of ingredients you want and cook it HOW you want to. The meal that YOU make is worth a thousand words.
I've seen the dramatic life changes people make when they start using the basic methods behind cooking and use recipes as a guideline. The students in my online cooking classes become confident, free-thinking cooks who can use the ingredients they already have on hand to create impressive meals every night of the week. This is because they use a repeatable process in cooking and just change the ingredients for a new flavor.

This one change in thought creates great home cooks.

FREE Online Cooking Class Makes Confident Cooks

By Chef Todd

The 7 Reasons Women LOVE a Man That Can Cook

"Thanks Chef Todd, your cooking lessons got me laid last night" is an actual comment I received from one of my students. It's not one of the promises I normally make when men become members of my online cooking classes, but I'm sure it happens all the time.

Women LOVE a man that can cook. It tells her a lot about what kind of man he is. Men think becoming a rock star gets all the girls, I'll tell you that a great cook IS a rock star in the kitchen, and learning to cook is much easier than playing guitar.

Whether you're new to the dating world, returning to it after a broken relationship, or want to demonstrate your years of admiration for your wife, being a maestro in the kitchen will have a greater impact on the opposite sex than dozens of roses ever will.

When you're a man who cooks, you tell women that you're:

1) Sensitive - Men that cook show they're in touch with the subtleties of the romance surrounding preparing a meal for someone else. It's a gift you give when you take the time and effort to offer someone else nourishment and fulfillment during one-on-one time together. If you've used the ingredients she loves, or cooked for her specific diet, you've shown you are already interested in the things important to her.

2) Creative - Women love artistic men, those that can express themselves through art, music, literature, or culinary endeavors. Whether it's the inspiration to plate interesting meals every night for your wife, or the second-date thrill she'll experience at seeing what you can improvise, you'll prove that you're a creative guy with an artistic streak.

3) Successful - The success of your cooking skills shows that you can bring a project and presentation to fruition. She'll be attracted to a man that can plan a menu, gather the best ingredients, coordinate the timing of the cooking, and present a visually appealing plate. This is a guy that's dependable, that sticks with something that makes the entire relationship more enjoyable for both of you.

4) Worldly - If your food habits consist entirely of Mac and Cheese, Chinese food and pizza, you haven't traveled very far from the middle school lunch room and she'll recognize this. When you learn to cook, you can gather ingredients from all over the world and speak articulately about why you chose them for your meal together. You're aware of the global food scene and that makes you well traveled, whether you leave the kitchen or not.

5) Generous - Women may complain that men don't "give of themselves". You can stop that thought immediately when you give of your time and cooking skills to make her happy. If you think picking up the $150 check at the restaurant makes a man generous, you're wrong. Most women expect that you'll be paying for dinner. But, MAKE dinner and you've really given something that can jump start a relationship.

6) Multi-Dimensional - A man that can cook is interesting to women. "How did he do that, where did he learn that, how does he know?" And perhaps even more impactful to a relationship is the question in her head that remains, "what else does he know how to do?" Men can create a curiosity about themselves in her mind which leads to wanting to get to know them better.

7) Skilled With Your Hands - When you cook for a date, she'll definitely be impressed when dinner is all laid out for her upon arrival for the reasons stated above. However, if part of your romantic time together included the ACT of cooking she can see how dexterous you. Flash those knife skills, deglaze that pan with flambe' because each kitchen skill you show just makes her wonder what else you can accomplish.

The man that can cook instantly demonstrates sentiments that many can't vocalize. Men aren't good with words and poetic sentences, but they ARE good at cooking. I've had hundreds of men in my online cooking courses and they are always the best students. I find that men want to know the HOWs and WHYs of cooking, they want to figure it out.

Male cooks don't like following recipes. Have you ever known a man that WANTS to ask for directions? No, they want to solve the problem for themselves, not just follow a list of tasks. That's why the best approach for them to learn to cook is concentrating on the basic methods behind cooking, experimenting with what works and repeating successes to arrive at the basic cooking skills everyone should have.

A few basic cooking skills will attract more women than all the flowers and greeting cards a man can gather, it says so much more about them.

Join my FREE online Web Class to discover my exact process for creating a "soup to nuts" romantic meal at home using Aphrodisiac foods (and I promise, it's easier than you ever imagined) Click Here now.

Get started toward better food, better nutrition, and better relationships TODAY

By Chef Todd

5 Child Kitchen Wonders To Grow A Better Adult

If you were a child before the mid 1970s, your Mom probably cooked dinner just about every night of the week. In your home, the kitchen was the center of activity. That's where the ONE telephone was bolted to the wall, tangled chord dangling below the handset. That rotary dial phone was the conduit to the outside world, but not the only type of communication going on in your kitchen.

Your Mother or Grandmother was passing on more knowledge than the phone in that room. And you, as a child, witnessed all that was occurring before you. There was fresh food from the grocery store, meat from the town butcher, and even ingredients from your own backyard garden. You knew what food was because it passed before you every day and every night.

That ONE room in your home generated the excitement of dinner time together, family gatherings, visitors from the neighborhood or across the country, holiday cooking, and smells of food cooking that I'm sure you can remember to this day. You probably did your homework on the kitchen table as Mom prepared the classic "meat and two sides" every night.

But, if you were a child growing up after the mid 1970's, you most probably stayed in the living room watching "the boob tube" as Mom heated the Swanson TV Dinner or mixed some ground beef with Hamburger Helper. If you were a kid in the 1980s or 90s, you probably saw your Mother pick up the phone and call for take out or pizza delivery.

Where has all the love gone? Where has the love of cooking, the enjoyment of talking to the local butcher, the exhilaration of growing your own tomatoes disappeared to? With the decline of the household kitchen as a center of body and soul nutrition in the home, there can be none of that anymore.

I came to this realization when I tried to convince High School students they could use food as fuel and make a healthier Chicken McNugget. With all the passion and culinary knowledge I could muster up, I told them of the benefits of good wholesome foods. I demonstrated without a doubt that my method was better...and they didn't care because a chicken puck that comes from the drive through IS chicken now. A fresh chicken breast "don't look right", as they said to me.

Let's stop this trend right now! To create healthy adults, we have to be sure kids know what good food is, how to identify it, how to get it, and what to do with it. Based on what I've witnessed in food culture over these past decades, I believe there are 5 wonderful things that happen surrounding food and the kitchen that should be MANDATORY for making tomorrow's adults better people.

5 Child Kitchen Wonders To Grow A Better Adult:

1) Grow Something!

- A child of any age can be shown how seeds turn into plants and it's thrilling for them to watch something grow, it teaches many lessons. You don't need a backyard garden like Grandma had. Even if you live in the city, a few flower pots with herbs are exciting when you use them together in a meal.

2) Share The Truth About Where Meat Comes From

- Beef comes from cows. Pork comes from pigs, chicken comes from chickens, it's just a fact. Our main sources of protein don't start at the grocery store. The object is not to inflict any political agenda on your young child, but make them aware that food is a natural item and we're on the top of the food chain.

3) Fast Food Is NOT More Exciting

- Going to McDonalds should NOT be a "special night out". Don't make fast food out to be more than it is, cheap and convenient. You can take your child to the drive through but make it apparent that this is not the best way to eat.

4) Mega-mart Grocery Stores Aren't The Only People That Sell Food

- Take your child or grandchildren to the farmers market, farm or roadside stand. Show them that there are people whose lives are dedicated to providing food to the community beyond the faceless corporation.

5) Bring Them Into The Kitchen At An Early Age

- Don't tell your kids that cooking is difficult and dangerous. Don't tell them all the ways they can hurt themselves or ruin dinner. No matter what the age, they can help with cleaning string beans, stirring something, placing cooked items on the plate, or anything that gets them involved in good food and starting to learn to cook.

The pressures are great on kids today. The "exciting" food is cheap, it's readily available and comes with a LOT of marketing. Home cooked meals are not, unless you make them preferable to lesser foods by including your children in the entire cycle of good food and how it impacts their enjoyment, nutrition, health, and ultimately their entire adulthood.

Create an adult palate early on in life by sharing all the things that should be occurring in, and around, the kitchen. It should be the heart of the home where children become great adults by respecting food and learning basic cooking skills.

By Chef Todd

The Creamiest Cheese Sauce Starts With Bechamel

I'm asked a LOT of cooking questions, many of them about failed cheese sauce. Every day I'm reminded of the confusion that abounds about cooking when I open my email, chat with my WebCookingClasses members, go to my Facebook page, or contribute to a forum. Many people are baffled about WHY things happen the way they do in their kitchens.

There's never a stupid question and I never blame the questioner for asking. Most people are not taught HOW food cooks, they're just told to follow a set of written instructions. I have a compassion for people that send me their cooking challenges like they were trying to assemble a piece of Scandinavian furniture from the box. I know how frustrating trying to follow someone else's written directions can be, that's why I often say "Recipes Don't Work"!

One of the queries I get most often is about making white sauces. Home cooks often want to know how to make a cheese sauce for Macaroni and Cheese or an Alfredo Sauce for pasta. Their question often begins with, "the recipe said to ......"

Before anyone else spends their valuable time looking for a cheese sauce recipe or an Alfredo sauce recipe and trying to follow confusing instructions, I'd like to make it simple for you by demonstrating what professional chefs know. If you can make a Bechamel sauce, you can make ANY and EVERY homemade sauce like the pros.

Bechamel sauce is one of the 5 Mother Sauces I teach in culinary college, but it's not difficult nor complicated, and anyone can master the few simple steps. It's most simply defined as milk thickened with roux.

Basic White Sauce calls for equal amounts of butter and flour to create a roux. Then, milk is added to the hot roux in small increments to observe the thickening power of the roux. This is a No-Recipe method to making all great sauces that start with roux. I don't measure the roux, I don't measure the milk, but I DO watch closely for the changes in my sauce.

The science behind thickening liquids with a flour and fat mixture is called Gelatinization of Starches. At 150F (65C), starches absorb liquids and swell. This process turns milk or any other liquid into a thickened sauce that will stick to food. It's the best way to make a high quality sauce quickly.

However, it's the PROCESS that's most important in making a basic white sauce. You cannot combine flour and liquid because starch molecules will gelatinize on the outside of a group of them stuck together. That's how Grandma got her lumpy gravy.

Starch molecules must be separated with the introduction of fat. That's why the ability to make a good roux is important. The roux is the thickening agent for the milk, and a weak thickener will mean a weak sauce.

Adding milk in small increments not only allows for the starches to absorb the liquid, but it doesn't overwhelm the starch nor drop the temperature of the roux so quickly that the whole thing turns to mush. The most important part of slowly adding milk is your ability to WATCH the changes going on in the pan. When you rely on a recipe, you spend time looking at the clock because they teach you to cook by TIME.

Cook with your EYES instead, armed with confidence in the basic methods behind cooking and you'll be able to make dozens of improvised sauces because you know the secrets behind making a great bechamel sauce like I teach in culinary school.


By Chef Todd

The Top Food Topics Of The Year So Far

Today is day 183 of the year. Look over your shoulder at a calendar and you'll discover that the half-way point occurred yesterday. It's the day where you ask, "Where did it go"? "What have I accomplished in this time"? "Exactly what WERE those New Year's resolutions I made?"

The one thing I'm sure of after day 182 is that this year has been no different from any other. My passion for finding and sharing the best food news, instruction and information hasn't changed at all, nor will it, no matter what month it is.

So, let's look back at the food topics that have caught our attention, given new information, inspired us, or angered us over the past 6 months.

January - The Best Hangover Breakfast - BaltiMohr Benedict
It was a wild New Year's Eve in my beloved Baltimore. Brightly lit ships cruised the Inner Harbor as fireworks could be seen from three different locations down the Chesapeake Bay.

However, all those explosions remained in my head the next day, and could only be cured by my favorite brunch and hangover remedy, the BaltiMohr Benedict. If you're ready for the amazing combination of crab cakes and poached eggs, you should start drinking now so that you can enjoy the true value in this star of the first day of the year.



February - Stay Home Or Go Out For Valentines Day?
I wondered the same thing that many people do when it comes to the most romantic day of the year, should I make restaurant reservations or start planning my own dinner? It's an easy decision for me, but one that might not be as simple for others.

I know I've helped thousands of people LEARN how to cook, but the email response I got from this blog post made me realize I'm helping a few people find great success in rooms other than the kitchen. I can't make you any promises, but the act of preparing a romantic dinner for the one you love may bring extra rewards when you answer the question for yourself. Should you stay home or go out for the best romantic dinners?


March - Maximize Your Limited Time For Cooking And Fitness

I partnered with local fitness icon Donavon Israel to combine our expertise and motivate people to eat well AND exercise well. The most effective way to reach your health and fitness goals are to concentrate on both simultaneously.

Eating great food but being sedentary won't bring you closer to health any more than exercising constantly but eating poorly will. However, most people are pressed for time in their busy schedules and need usable tips for healthy eating and exercise.

April - These 11 Facts Prove Why The Farmers Market Is Better

I wait all Winter long for the Farmers Market to open so I can start practicing my craft and art on the freshest ingredients available. It might as well be the start of a new year because all cooking starts when the local market re opens.

For all those people who had written me to say that shopping the way I do is more expensive or less convenient, or just a bother to actually talk to other people, I had to remind them that there are 11 reasons, (one more than 10) that farmers market shopping is better.

May - The 3 Grill Issues That Could Ruin Your Cooking This Summer

Boy, the year does go by quickly and it seems I've gone from New Years Day to Memorial Day in about a week's time. I'm already getting ready for the grilling season and helping others toward the best outdoor cooking of the year but only if they're ready for it.

Having the skills to control the most intense heat available to the home cook is only part of being ready for grilling season. Preparing your grill for Summer means the cooking equipment won't screw up your great grilling this year.

June - The 5 Best Reasons Cooking Makes Me Happy

I might be a bit solemn that the year is half past, but it doesn't change my appreciation and excitement about cooking, something I hope to transfer to everyone that has ever seen one of my videos or taken my online cooking classes.

There are many reasons that cooking makes me happy. My reasons might be different from yours, or you might hate cooking entirely. If you do hate to cook, review my reasons for being a joyful cook and it might be contagious.

Cheer up and don't think of the calendar as half-empty, think of it as half-full of things yet to happen, excitement to come, and new cooking techniques, foods, farmers, and travel yet to come.

Burn Your Recipes DVDs are like culinary college in your home

But, at your convenience in your own time. Don't let the next 183 days go by without knowing what chefs know.

By Chef Todd

The 5 Best Reasons Why Cooking Makes Me Happy

Some people see cooking as a chore and they dread having to do it. Others may have magierocophobia, the fear of cooking that keeps the out of the kitchen. Many people have given up all together and just eat take-out and convenience foods. To these people cooking is difficult, it's time consuming and the results aren't worth it.

But, that's not me. I love cooking, it makes me happy. I get great enjoyment from finding new ingredients, combining flavors, making sauces, and accepting the accolades that come with a meal so good that it rivals any restaurant in town.

Why do so many people hate and fear cooking while I love it? What could the difference be? Yes, I'm a professional Chef and Certified Culinary Educator, but since it's my job you'd think I'd need a break once in a while. When I go on vacation from my "job", I cook even MORE. How can that be? Why would I cook while on vacation?

The answer is obvious to me, and can become obvious to you as well. Cooking is not a chore, and it's not feared when it becomes fun and easy. How do you make cooking a stress-free, fun and easy hobby?

First, you forget about written recipes. Stop trying to cook line-by-line. They'll just confuse you with their variables and photography that can never be duplicated. Don't concentrate on WHAT to cook, focus on HOW to cook.

The next step is to think of cooking as a standard, repeatable method. Whether you will saute, roast, steam, grill, or broil, there are steps that can be duplicated again and again no matter what the item you're cooking is.

This removes the chore and fear in cooking. If you are cooking by recipes, you have to re-learn cooking every night. You have to figure out what the author's opinion of what you should be eating tonight should be. This creates the stress of whether "the recipe will come out or not". Evidently, some recipes work and others don't. The fact is that NO recipes work correctly and you shouldn't depend on them.

Once you start to look at cooking the same as driving your car, working at your career, or practicing your hobby, the things you do without thought every day, you will enjoy the same benefits of cooking that make me happy.

1) Freedom - I have the freedom to cook ANY ingredients I can find, even if I don't exactly know what they are. I can create fantastic meals from the items I have on-hand and don't have to run to the grocery store for food that the recipe commands. I make recipes from what I already have.

2) Confidence - I have the confidence to know that my meals will be a winner every single time because I repeat a standard process on a wide variety of foods. I can saute many different ingredients, or I can cook one ingredient in many different ways. Confidence makes you happy.

3) Health - I'm happy because I know I'm improving my health with wholesome foods that I cook myself. I love the farmers market and the nutrient rich fresh foods they have there. I've experienced more energy, more brain power, and better sleep patterns because of good food. I know how to cook fresh foods!

4) Family - Cooking is a social skill. My family is excited when I cook because they know it will be exciting and interesting. I attend more parties because of my cooking skills, and I can talk about food topics because I've been behind the stove and seen what happens when I apply heat. Being around friends and family with a good meal makes me very happy.

5) Money - I save money because I can cook. The meals I make at home would cost me $20 a plate or more at my local restaurant. Plus, I save money on the BEST ingredients by purchasing at the farmers market. I'm happy because I know that cooking at home saves me empty calories, bad ingredients, and lots of money over restaurant and convenience foods.

If you're watching Food TV, buying cookbooks, or searching the internet for recipes from bloggers, you're not learning HOW to cook. You're being exposed to entertainment about WHAT to cook. (They often leave out the HOW when it comes to recipes).

However, if you're a curious person who wants to know the HOWs and WHYs behind things, you'll seek out the best information about cooking METHODS over recipes. When you know the 10 steps in grilling, or the 9 steps in a basic saute procedure then you can create meals from the ingredients you have and the creative inspiration in your head. Then, you'll be happy like me.

Does cooking worry you or make you happy?
What do you love about cooking, or what do you hate?
Please "vent" to me with a comment below:

Start Cooking Happiness Today!

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