3 Reasons Recipes Fail You

It's not only Martha Stewart Recipes that don't work. Unless you have a understanding of Basic Cooking Methods, very few recipes will work perfectly every time. Whether Food Network recipes, or the best cookbook recipes, there are inherent variables that make following recipes difficult for the home cook. Chef Todd Mohr will examine some of the shortcomings in Martha Stewart Recipes in today's blog.

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About Chef Todd

Chef Todd Mohr is a Certified Culinary Educator who has empowered home cooks all over the world with the reliable, dependable, repeatable METHODS behind cooking that build confidence, generate creativity and enable anyone to cook with the ingredients THEY desire.


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  • Chiquita Bush
    9:48 PM - 23 June, 2015

    I totally agree. However, I've made some successful dishes using reciepes

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      9:58 PM - 23 June, 2015

      Hi Chiquita!
      Recipes are best used for inspiration or combination of ingredients, but don't ever trust them for cooking methods. They can tell you WHAT to cook, but you apply HOW to cook.

      Thanks for your comment.

  • Cindy Jason
    1:06 AM - 6 June, 2015

    Love your enthusiasm. I totally agree that recipes leave a lot of information out. I'm looking forward to watching your other videos.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      3:10 PM - 8 June, 2015

      Hi Cindy!
      Thank you for your kind comment. It's easy to be passionate about something that brings so much joy to so many people.

  • Jonathan
    3:39 AM - 28 April, 2015

    I can't wait for ur classes I've always went with receipies but I can't wait for ur classes

  • Lee Soarez
    11:30 PM - 14 February, 2015

    Much obliged for the warm encouragement, chef. Rest assured there’s lots of latino passion involved here, and with each new discovery, especially the most simple ones, I get out of my chair and do a little dance and jump for joy. 😛
    Like I’ve already told in one of your YouTube video's comment thread, you’ve turned my life around… for the (much) better, sir!
    Thanks again for all you do for us beginners. Here’s to you and to your recipeless cooking methods! Cheers!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      6:17 PM - 15 February, 2015

      Hi Lee!
      Thank you for the very kind comments, you're making me blush. Each time you gain new skills and thus greater confidence, I do a dance also. I'm proud of you for seeking out the information that will help you develop a hobby, skill, and art form that will stay with you for the rest of your life.

  • Lee Soarez
    5:41 PM - 14 February, 2015

    Much obliged for the warm encouragement, chef. Rest assured there's lots of latino passion involved here, and with each new discovery, especially the most simple ones, I get out of my chair and do a littler dance and jump for joy. 😛
    Like I've already told in one of your YouTube video comment thread, you've turned my life around... for the (much) better, sir! Thanks again for all you do for us beginners. Here's to you and to your recipeless cooking methods! Cheers!

  • Lee Soarez
    10:58 AM - 11 February, 2015

    Hi chef Todd 😀

    Lee Soarez from Brazil here. I am so glad that, thanks to my very late start (I'm 48), I have never even opened a recipe book in my life. I'm startint out 100% fresh with YOUR methods for recipeless cooking, therefore I won't have to burn recipe books cause I don't have any... haha... I have though just bought myself a semi-industrial two-burner (+ oven) stove (my kitchen is a tiny one), and I'm getting the gear you suggest on your YouTube video on kitchen utensils, plus my 4 only-needed kitchen knives so I can start practicing my knife skills. I'm then saving money to try and - hope to - get the US$199,00 course/lifetime membership special discount offer you mention in the 2 awesome webinar hangouts you've recently put out. So happy that I've found you, chef!!! You have turned this new passion of mine into a very joyful ride indeed. Thanks again!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      3:05 PM - 11 February, 2015

      Hi Lee!
      I'm so glad we found each other! YOU are exactly the type of person that benefits from my approach to cooking, someone who is curious and wants to know the HOWs and WHYs behind cooking. I'm glad you have no recipe experience, it will help you even more. One of the most difficult challenges for me is breaking people's reliance on written instructions. I won't have that challenge with you and you'll probably progress quickly.

      If you have passion, there is nothing that can stop you. I look forward to sharing your successes.

  • Steven Armstrong
    11:02 PM - 20 September, 2014

    I often refer to recipes when I have a dish in mind that I'd like to cook, and want to find out the proportions of the ingredients. Once I get that, I close the cook book, and proceed on my own.

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      2:55 PM - 23 September, 2014

      Hi Steven!
      YOU are one of the best cooks out there! If you are cooking with basic methods plus your inspiration, cookbooks are only for ideas and not the ONLY way to cook something.
      You're cooking exactly the way I teach others to.

  • Roger Bowser
    12:45 AM - 10 May, 2014

    I agree with you, Todd! Tonight was a perfect example. I thought I had thawed a cut of beef, and had the recipe ready.
    Turns out it was pork, so I had to "ad lib" the whole dinner.
    My wife said it was absolutely delicious (and I certainly can't disagree!)
    I learned to cook by watching my mom and my second wife, and cooking shows on TV for many years.
    I think you're on the right track. No recipe....just the concept!

    • Chef Todd Mohr
      1:36 PM - 11 May, 2014

      Hi Roger!
      YOU are in control when you have basic cooking methods. THEY are in control if you follow recipes strictly.

  • LE
    4:19 AM - 21 June, 2012

    Yes Chef,
    I have recipes that leave out an ingredient but tell you to add it, others have left out when to add a certain ingredient. Terrific!!

    • Chef Todd
      3:22 PM - 21 June, 2012

      Hi LE!
      Don't trust recipes. They are one person's opinion of how something should be cooked. The problem for most people in the kitchen is not cooking, it's following a written recipe that has too many variables to duplicate. This causes fear and frustration.

  • Nnanke
    2:28 PM - 8 February, 2012

    Ok hear what i tried out yesterday and today. Because of the instability of electricity around where i am i discovered a new way i could revive frozen deiry which is almost i.e turkey and make taste better i scrub with lots of salt and rinse out under runnin water and i soak in lime and wine for some hours, to further give it a better taste i roast it then season well with a lot of onion paste others then steam under low heat or poach and it ready to be used to whatever meal you plan.

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  • Dave
    7:42 PM - 10 January, 2011

    Chef Todd, you couldn't be more right - some recipes assume that the cook inherently knows the things to do, and how to do them. I've seen some recipes that leave out fundamental steps - which if not done, would ruin the food.

    Some recipes in the New York Times recipe archive, are a good example of that.

    Not to mention, recipes that call for ingredients that are not generally available...

    • cheftodd
      2:23 PM - 12 January, 2011

      Yes! Dave, that's exactly what I think about cooking by written instructions. It's not really learning how to cook.

      A written recipe won't teach you to cook any more than having sheet music will teach you to play piano. You might be able to figure out that one song, but you really haven't learned HOW to play. You've just learned to mimic someone else's OPINION of the way the song (or recipe) should be played.

      Ohhhhhh! You're right, when the recipe commands going to the grocery store for a specific ingredient that will sit on your shelf for 2 years, you really are under its spell.

  • Dmitriy
    4:58 AM - 30 September, 2010

    Is there any way to get your Cooking Coarse videos? Some are uploaded on youtube and other video sites, but only a few, is there a way to get the rest of them?

    • cheftodd
      10:26 AM - 30 September, 2010

      The 200 "Cooking Coarse" episodes that aired from August 2008 - June 2009 were part of the beta-test for what became WebCookingClasses.com.
      A few were left on YouTube for promotion, but the rest were re-edited and put into a more logical progression to create the best online cooking classes on the internet!

      You can become a member of WebCookingClasses by getting my DVD "5 Chef Secrets for Creating Amazing Meals at Home" for only $7.95 AND you'll get a FREE 14 day trial in WebCookingClasses.com. You can cancel at any time and not be billed.

  • Justin
    4:00 PM - 16 October, 2009

    I am confused where are all the people talking to one another? Is this not a blog?

    • cheftodd
      4:14 PM - 16 October, 2009

      Yes, this is my blog associated with WebCookingClasses.com
      We also have a discussion forum on the website available to current students of WebCookingClasses.com.

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