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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

The Chef Test Reveals The 7 Skills You Must Have
If You Want To Learn To Cook

Over the years, I’ve had to hire dozens of chefs and cooks. During their interview process, I don't have them cook their signature dish. Just like the handful of dishes you can cook at home without a recipe, a chef has practiced their signature dish many times and that doesn't help me to determine their overall cooking abilities. Instead, I want to see some basic skills.

This is my chef-test and it highlights the skills everyone should possess if they want to learn to cook anything at any time and be confident it will always come out great.

I'm going to share with you the seven basic skills that I think everyone should have to cook food consistently in the kitchen and be proud of the results. If you already have all seven of these skills and cooking techniques, you can work for me. On the other hand, if you have only one of these skills, that's fantastic! Why? Because I know you'll want to add other skills and learn to cook based on the methods behind all recipes and Make Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

Here are my 7 chef tests to reveal their knowledge of basic cooking methods:
1. Use a chefs knife correctly and cut vegetables into three sizes
2. Anticipate when oil is about to reach the smoke point
3. Develop color during sauté
4. Thicken a liquid to make a sauce
5. Softly poach an egg
6. Roast a delicate item like fish
7. Tell when a grilled steak is done

I’ve blogged about fear of cooking, about doubts in cooking, about guessing in cooking, and now inconsistency in cooking. I'm sharing all of this with you because they all stem from the same basic root. Fears, doubts, and guessing come from a lack of knowledge about underlying cooking methods. In order to cook food like a chef, you need an understanding of the techniques that chefs use to cook food.

Think about watching a magician. Magic is always amazing when you watch the magician’s hands like he wants you to. However, once you’ve been shown how the trick works, you start looking for the re-direction. You now know his method, you can anticipate when he’ll repeat it and the mystery and wonder is gone.

The mysterious magic and wonder in cooking is destroyed by repetitive cooking method. These are certain basic skills that you can duplicate again and again. Just as a magician can make a playing card, coin, dollar bill, credit card, all disappear in the same slight of hand, you can cook chicken, fish, steak, vegetables, pork, in the same repetitive method and the magic will appear for you.

Here are the answers to my chef test:

1. Using a Chefs knife correctly
The first indicator of an experienced cook from a novice is the way they handle the most used tool in the kitchen, a chef’s knife. In culinary college, my students have to cut carrots into three sizes: Brunoise, Batonette and Small Dice. Brunoise (“broon-wah”) is the French word for an eighth-inch cube. It’s a tiny little cut that you’d find in chicken salad or soup. Batonette (“Bat-ton-et”) is a 2 inch stick that’s a quarter-inch on all sides. Small Dice is a quarter-inch cube. Small Dice comes from Batonette as cubes are always cut from sticks.

Pass: The result of this chef test should be three items that are precisely twice or half the size of the others. Consistency of cut is consistency of cook, so knife skills are very important for excellent results.

Fail: Items are cut into a wide variety of shapes and sizes, or items all cut to the same size.
If you’re using two hands on the chefs knife in a “mezzaluna” motion, you’ll create inconsistent cuts.

2. Anticipate when oil is about to smoke
The skill here is understanding the convective cooking process. When liquid in a pan begins to move as it heats up, it rises to the top of the pan and cools again. You can actually see this movement in hot oil. Soon after this convection begins, the oil will begin to smoke. You know you've got this skill down when someone can put 3 oils in front of you and you can tell them which has the highest smoking point by observing their reaction to heat.

Pass: The chef notices the oil changing from being perfectly smooth to beginning a convection process and adds the protein product to the pan just before there is visible smoke.

Fail: The oil smokes and you have to start again.

3. Develop color during sauté
Nicely browned foods are attractive foods. To develop a golden color in the sauté’ pan, you have to get the sugars to caramelize at 320 degrees Fahrenheit. The key is getting the pan hot enough to start. You can observe this and quantify the temperature in a pan by sprinkling a few drops of water and witness the reaction.

Pass: A chicken breast with a beautiful brown plate-appeal shows the ability to control heat so that the item develops color but doesn’t lose moisture or burn.

Fail: A chicken breast that is pale, that has shrunken, stiffened and lost moisture. This shows a lack of involvement with the preliminary steps in sauté.

4. Thicken a liquid to make a sauce
There are different thickening agents that can be used to make a sauce. For me, I would want my chef to be able to make a blonde, brown, or brick roux. Flour and cornstarch are wonderful thickening agents but you need to have an understanding of how much to use and this can only happen with controlling the process of gelatinization of starches.

Pass: A cup of milk turns into a thickened sauce that is shiny, velvety and without lumps. This sauce should be pourable, not plop-able.

Fail: A cup of milk that looks like mashed potatoes or cottage cheese. Without an understanding of how starches thicken liquids, it’s difficult to make consistently great sauces.

5. Softly poach an egg
This is a moist convective process and means that the chef would need to have an understanding of the difference between boil, simmer and poach. A common mistake of home cooks and chefs alike is always boiling items. Boiling is NOT a cooking method. Once you understand how to control the reaction of liquid in a pan, you will be able to perfectly poach a very delicate item like eggs without making Egg Drop Soup.

Pass: A nicely poached egg that looks like it should be in a magazine. The egg should have a bright yolk that sits high on the albumen and should be fully in tact.

Fail: An egg that has been busted up into pieces because of simmering or rapidly boiling liquid. This egg is dull, the yolk cannot be identified and won’t be in a magazine.

6. Roast a delicate item like fish
This is the ability to control dry convective heat. In controlling dry heat, there is a fine line between the coagulation of proteins at 165 degrees Fahrenheit (when the food would stiffen and shrink) and 212 degrees Fahrenheit when moisture starts evaporating. The key to cooking in dry heat is being able to cook in that temperature zone where the food cooks before it dries out.

Pass: A piece of fish that is fully cooked and retains its moisture without drying out. With delicate items, convective heat will dry the item before sugars caramelize, so I don’t expect the fish to be brown.

Fail: A piece of fish that is brown and dry, it’s much smaller that its raw state because of the drying effect of the oven. This chef doesn’t know how to retain moisture in a dry cooking process.

7. Tell when a grilled steak is done
The best test that I can think of for this is to hand my chef three steaks and ask the chef to cook them to order: one rare, one medium, and one well done. So how do you do that? Use a thermometer. Cooking with a recipe and without a thermometer is like driving down the road with a map while you're blindfolded. You've got all of the directions, but you'll never know when you've gotten to your destination....if you can even get close!

Pass: Finished steaks that have attractive grill marks and are equally browned, but cooked to different internal temperatures. The cook that uses a thermometer passes this test.

Fail: Three steaks all cooked to the same doneness, or the inability to tell which steak should be rare, medium, or well done. This chef can’t control direct source conductive heat and would create waste rather than sales for the steaks being sent back to the kitchen.

This is what’s going on in my kitchen! But if you want to cook great food more consistently and learn to cook in your own home, then you will want to pay attention to cooking techniques and have repeatable methods. These are the same methods I reveal in my webinar, Discover the 3 Secrets to Making Your Cooking A Winner Every Single Time.

Understanding these methods will allow you to make sense out of any recipe or to not use a recipe at all because of your increased understanding of how different cooking techniques work. You’ll be creating things the way you want them and be able to do it again and again.

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

Michael Pollan on Oprah: "Learn to Cook"

Michael Pollan is the author of four best selling books that examine our culture of food in the United States. He's my hero. He's been able to identify the growing problems with our industrial food system, but more importantly, masterfully communicate these ideas to everyone that's not a food scientist. And he says "learn to cook and YOU hold the power over food".

Michael Pollan was on Oprah in January of this year. I'm generally not able to watch Oprah during the day, but when I saw the author of "In Defense of Food", "Omnivores Dilema", and "Food Rules" on the flat-screen at the gym, I stopped my workout and watched.
During the first segment that wasn't included in the edited video, Mr. Pollan shares a list of the food rules from his latest book. They seem less like rules and more like wise adages of shockingly common sense. But, he ends the first segment with serious advice, "learning to cook is one of the most important skills to have because then YOU have the power over what food you choose and who cooks it. Corporations are terrible at making food", says Pollan. Corporate packaged foods can contain compounds to increase shelf life, retain color, and improve profits.
There are simple rules or guidelines that you can use to change our entire food system. "Vote with your fork", Michael says, "you get three votes a day. Where else do you get three votes each day?" He's referring to the financial motivation of all food companies. If you don't buy it, they'll stop making it.
Some examples of his simple rules:
1. Don't eat anything your great grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.
2. Don’t eat anything with more than five ingredients, or ingredients you can't pronounce.
3. Stay out of the middle of the supermarket; shop on the perimeter of the store. Real food tends to be on the outer edge of the store near the loading docks, where it can be replaced with fresh foods when it goes bad.
4. Don't eat anything that won't eventually rot. "There are exceptions -- honey -- but as a rule, things like Twinkies that never go bad aren't food," Pollan says.
5. Don't buy food where you buy your gasoline. In the U.S., 20% of food is eaten in the car.
Michael's new book is called "Food Rules", and outlines 64 adages to keep good eating in your consciousness.
#11 Avoid foods you see advertised on television.
#19 If it came from a plant, eat it; if it was made in a plant, don't.
#36 Don't eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.
#39 Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself.
#47 Eat when you are hungry, not when you are bored.
#58 Do all your eating at a table.
Seeing Michael Pollan on Oprah boosted my resolve in bringing basic cooking methods to the world. You'll improve your health and nutrition, reunite your family over dinner, entertain and be more social, eat a wider variety of foods, and enjoy a life-long skill when you learn to cook, as Michael Pollan advises.

By Chef Todd

10 Minutes To Change Your Cooking
Without Any Experience At All!

It's time to eliminate the idea that you have in your head that you don't know how to cook and possibly can't even learn how to cook! In fact, I say that you already have some cooking knowledge and I'm going to prove it to you. How? Well, you are eating something at home right? We all have to feed ourselves at some point, even if it’s opening a can of soup and heating it up.

Opening up a can of soup, emptying it into a pan, mixing in some milk and heating it up was one of the first meals I was ever able to make for myself. When I was a kid, I used to love Campbell's Cream of Shrimp Soup and I played hockey. Somehow, along the way, I had convinced myself that eating Campbell's Cream of Shrimp Soup made me a better hockey player and I had to have a bowl before every game. (I know, some people think they play better with a new pair of shoes, I played better when I cooked myself something...go figure.)

Adding Variations
After some time went by, I realized that there really weren't that many shrimp in the soup, so I added some whole fresh shrimp. I didn't have the cooking knowledge at the time, but I was poaching the shrimp in the liquid. Then, I noticed that while I had more protein, now the soup itself seemed thin. So, I added some American cheese to thicken it and then some cayenne pepper for a little more flavor. Eventually, I put some sherry in the soup to give a little smoky flavor. I took something as simple as opening a can of soup to expanding on the method and created variations.

If you can open a can of mushroom soup and pour it over a  pan of chicken breasts, that's a method! Maybe you could do that with fish instead. Or you could decide that the cream of mushroom soup is a sauce and make the sauce better by adding different items. Add variations to a method that you already understand and you're increasing your cooking knowledge and learning how to cook.

Each time you make a new variation, you'll gain more confidence and as you explore, create and discover, you'll increase your cooking knowledge and be where you want to be as a cook.

Grilling Example
Let's say that you're great at grilling but you're not a good cook inside the house. So, here's what you do...pay attention and make a mental note of your grilling steps. Perhaps you heat the grill, put a burger on, look for grill marks. Now, go inside and put yourself in a zen-like state (you can do it!) and pretend as you look down into the sauté pan on the stove that it’s actually the grill. Perform the same steps or method as you would outside.

Really, this works! Grilling is a conductive heat method and sauteing is a conductive heat method as well. Because the transfer of heat is the same, you can simply try variations.

If your one dish is mac and cheese, you make it great, but you might say you can’t make a good alfredo sauce. If you examined the method, you’d see that making a white sauce and putting cheddar for mac and cheese is no different than adding parmesan for alfredo sauce.

Variations...Like Driving a Car
You do this already in other areas of your life. Let's take driving for instance. Think about it. You drive the same way to work everyday: start on Main Street, take a right on Jones St., left on Smith St. and you're at work. One day when you're driving, you notice a cool place that's closer to your home but it's on the way to work. Well, you may not realize that if you took Washington St. from work you would get there quicker, but if you don't know the route, you will take the route that you know and make a slight change to get to your destination. You will make a variation on the driving route or method that you already know.

You do know how to cook, eliminate the doubt, because you do know how. You might not have a wide range of cooking knowledge, but you have a start. Experiment, learn and build on it.

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By Chef Todd

For People Who Want to Cook But Can’t Get Started

Today, I want to help eliminate the doubt that you don't know how to cook, because I know that you can. Now, don't shake your head at me, I know that I'm right! You see, today, I am going to give you information about cooking that will help you to understand that learning to cook starts with you. Not a recipe...not even with one of my lessons.

Look, everyone can make something to feed themselves, even if you consider yourself a lousy cook, you're eating something. And to prove that you can learn to cook, we're going to start without pots or pans and you're not going to touch a stove, food, look at a recipe or take a single cooking class.

Are you ready? Here's the first step...

Examine what you already know.

 

Seriously, what is the one thing that you can cook, that consistently meets your expectations? What is the one meal or dish that you can make with or without a recipe, just because you like it and you want it? It may be that you have two or three dishes like this, but let’s start with the one thing that you can make confidently.

  • If it’s just opening a can of soup and heating it up, start there.
  • If you can cook a really good grilled cheese sandwich, start there.
  • If you can grill a hamburger, but can’t cook inside, start there.
  • If you make great tomato sauce, but can make alfredo, start there.

With each of the above examples, what you may not realize is that you already understand a basic cooking method and not only can you learn how to cook, but you will be able to make amazing dishes!

If you start with what you can do, understand and what you like, then you just need a little confidence to attempt a variation. You might not realize that you’re already performing a basic cooking method, you just don’t know what it is. Hey, don't look now, but I think you're learning how to cook!

In my next post, I'll introduce you to a cooking method as a general concept and by taking a look at what you cook already, what you already know, I'll teach you to add variations. With this information within your grasp, you will learn how to cook!

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By Chef Todd

Eliminate Any Doubt You CAN Learn To Cook.

I help people every week to learn to cook and yet I'm approached all of the time by people telling that that they can't cook. I'm here to tell you that you can cook, in fact, I believe that you just don't have the right information about cooking. Think about it, saying that you can't cook is like saying that you've lost something, right? If you've lost a leg, then you might say, "I can't walk." But what have you lost to be able to say that you can't cook?

Listen, you’re not born knowing how to cook, none of us is and the fact that you don't know how to cook is not your fault. If cooking wasn’t a family hobby or if you didn’t have a mother or grandmother to teach you, then you've been left to get cooking information from recipe books and celebrity chefs. And I know that that means, they always let you down! They may have brighter colors, prettier to look at and be more entertaining than grandma, but cook books and celebrity chefs don't teach you how to cook.

I had a student come to class once and tell me a story about how wonderful her Grandmother's lasagna was. In an effort to ensure that the legacy of her Grandmother's lasagna lived on, she got the recipe from her Grandmother and went home to create the masterpiece making sure that she followed the recipe exactly. Lo and behold, it didn't hold a candle to the Grandmother's lasagna. When she confronted her Grandmother, she said, "Well, I never follow that recipe anyway."

Recipes let everyone down. In the end, when following the cooking information that a recipe gives to you and it doesn't come out right, you think you don't know how to cook...that you can't learn to cook. You have doubts creep into your thoughts, "Everybody cooks with recipes, right? I’m the only one who can’t make a recipe look like the photo in the book."

Wrong!

You’re not the only one who can't make a recipe turn out great, you’re one of everyone. Everyone can't cook at one point in their life.

Everyone can’t cook to one degree or another and to be a great cook:

  • You don’t have to be a celebrity chef
  • You don’t have to know the difference between escarole and escargot
  • You don’t have to know how to bake a cake
  • You don’t have to know how to open a clam
  • You don’t have to know how to make beef bourguignon

So what cooking information do you need to have to know to learn to cook? You already know it!

Discover the 3 Secrets To Make Your Cooking A Winner Every Time in my next FREE Webinar Workshop

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By Chef Todd

Get rid of Mageirocophobia once and for all!

Mageirocophobia, fear of cooking, is not going to be cured with avoidance therapy. If your phobia is severe or life-threatening, you should seek professional help like cognitive-behavorial therapy, which focuses on replacing the reflexive negative thoughts about your fears with more rational thoughts instead. With severe Mageirocophobia, this is a definite first step if you are to overcome your fear and learn how to cook with confidence.

For those of you with less sever versions of Mageirocophobia, there are ways for you to reduce the effects that it has upon your life. We all have fears that we have immediate negative reactions to, but if you can do some positive self talk to replace those thoughts, it can get you through the fear and eventually past the fear.

For example, if you're thinking, "This is never going to taste right." Replace it with, "this is going to be a great meal," or "everything will come out alright!" This may sound a little hokey, but hang with me. This works!

Many years ago, I went to a Brian Tracy seminar and he taught me something that I have carried throughout my life. If you're feeling a little down in the dumps, stand in front of a mirror, look yourself in the eye and repeat, "I'm the best. I'm the best. I'm the best. I'm the best." This really works. If you tell yourself, "It's alright, it will come out alright," it will, in fact, come out great in the end.

So, if you're thinking, "I haven't cooked this meat enough, someone might get sick," instead, remind yourself, "I've used a thermometer so I know it’s safe." If you're thinking, "No one is going to like this meal," replace it with, "It doesn’t have to be perfect, just cooking a nice meal is great and my family will appreciate it." You could also tell yourself, "I've tasted everything, so I know the seasonings are correct," or, "I’ve chosen a simple recipe that’s not too hard."

Reassuring yourself is a wonderful way for you to begin to eliminate the fear of cooking and embrace learning how to cook in a way that brings joy into your life and others. You should also be aware of the difference between "of poor quality" and "not to my liking". Sometimes your taste may be different than someone else's. You may put additional red pepper flakes on a dish which makes it not to someone else's liking, but does not mean that it's poor quality. I came across this situation several times in the catering business. Don't let this impede you from learning how to cook.

If your phobia isn’t overwhelming, there is a direct approach to getting over your fear of cooking forever. However, keep in mind that you need to make sure that you’re ready for each step or you could make your phobia worse.

3 Steps to Conquering Mageirocophobia

1) Pick One Method - choose one cooking method that you can repeat with confidence (for example, if you know how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, you know a saute method, add some tomato or ham. If you can make soup, you know a moist cooking method, you can add some shrimp and expand from there and build your confidence.)

2) Pick 3 Confident Spices - Find 3 spices that you like together and feel a little more confident in their flavor profiles. It might be basil, garlic and oregano (Italian seasonings), it might be cumin, coriander and red pepper (Mexican seasonings). Get these three spices and begin using them in different dishes to practice with quantities of the seasonings and the flavors that they produce with different foods.

3) Get a Thermometer - Getting an instant read thermometer will allow you to quantify when things are done rather than guessing.

Guessing is something that you are going to try to eliminate from your cooking method. Guessing is the biggest point of stress in cooking. Guessing puts great mystery and inconsistency in your cooking and inconsistency will increase your fear of cooking whether you're cooking with a recipe or not.

Then, once you're psychologically ready, invite a friend or relative over for a cooked meal. You’ll be facing your fears directly when you cook for someone else. And, by repeating this process over and over again, your confidence will increase, your enjoyment of cooking will increase, you'll want to learn more about cooking and completely eliminate your fear of cooking.

“Burn Your Recipes” and Cook Like a Chef at Home with my cooking DVDs!


The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.

By Chef Todd

You don’t have to suffer these effects of fear of cooking

In my last blog post, I explained the 5 signs of the fear of cooking that many people suffer from in deciding that they would like to learn to cook.  Because the kitchen plays a particularly important emotional role in many people’s lives, not knowing how to cook can have devastating effects. Some people that have come to me to learn to cook have told me stories that not only explain their fear of cooking but have made it almost impossible for them to learn how to cook.

One of the ways that fear of cooking is intensified is through smells. Your sense of smell has a powerful links to your memories. In fact, I'm sure that most of you have memories that come flooding into your mind when you smell cookies baking or a pot roast. I have strong memories when I smell the chlorine from a pool that remind me of swimming and snack bar hamburgers.

Memories are not always positive. For example, I had one woman that came to my cooking school and told me that she can't cook. Later in the evening as she was learning how to cook (funny how well cooking by method works), she explained to me that as a child, every time she went into the kitchen, her mother would scream, “Get out of the kitchen. You're going to mess everything up. You're going to ruin things. This is not a place for children.” No wonder she had a fear of cooking!

Let's look a little more deeply into the 10 ways that the fear of cooking may affect your life:

  1. Anxiety - this can come from the thought of the "impending" meal and not knowing what to cook or how to cook.
  2. Depression - eating the same things over and over again can cause depression and place a person in a lull where they lose the desire to learn to cook.
  3. Lethargy - most often this comes from eating foods that aren't good for us. In particular, eating empty calories or fast food over and over again.
  4. Embarrassment - are you the person that always brings napkins to the pot luck? Not knowing how to cook can cause embarrassment when you never bring a meal to gatherings.
  5. Loneliness - eating home cooked meals has the potential to bring families together. Without home cooked meals, there may be a sense of loneliness because so much conversation and socializing occurs over a cooked meal.
  6. Non-Reciprocation - Have you been invited to dinner by your friends multiple times and never returned the favor? This can cause a feeling of being a "deadbeat".
  7. Poor provider - Not knowing how to cook can lead to a lack of variety for your family and feeling guilty from not feeding your children healthy foods.
  8. Taker/not giver - Always depending on your spouse or partner to cook for you can make you feel like a taker and never being able to give back to the cook in the family.
  9. Spend–thrift - Do you have kitchen gadget that were gifts or purchased that you don’t know how to use? Do you have a multi-thousand dollar range that makes popcorn? This type of guilt can intensify the fear of cooking.
  10. Money stress – When one has a fear of cooking and doesn't learn how to cook, there is a tendency to spend more money on take-out foods which can cause anxiety around money and cooking.

You don't have to suffer these effects of the fear of cooking! These are exactly the types of feelings and thoughts that drive me to continue to help people to understand how easy it is to learn to cook using simple cooking method. Having an understanding of how foods go together without using a recipe can not only make the fear of cooking go away, but will enable you to cook anytime anywhere with confidence. You will not only know how to cook but will never suffer from the devastating effects of the fear of cooking again!

“Burn Your Recipes” and Cook Like a Chef at Home with my cooking DVDs!


The Complete cooking DVDcollection for cooking without recipes.

By Chef Todd

Do you recognize the 5 signs of Mageirocophobia keeping you out of the kitchen?

If you have a fear of cooking, be assured, you are in good company. I have literally cooked for a 1000 people on many occasions and I've been fearful in those moments. But you don't have to let the fear of cooking keep you from learning how to cook like a chef. Honestly. In fact, learning basic cooking method can help you to eliminate your fear of cooking while you learn to cook!

The fear of cooking comes in different forms and one of the best ways for you to eliminate a fear is to understand the source of the fear. You may find out that your fear is much easier to overcome once it has a name. Overcoming your fear will not only help you to learn how to cook like a chef, but will allow you to eat better food. In my desire to help you to cook like a chef, I feel that it's necessary to explain the 5 sources of Mageirocophobia (fear of cooking).

Mage –iroco – phobia is the fear of cooking.

It can be the fear of cooking for a large group, which we all have, or cooking for two.

Fear of causing illness: The first fear of cooking revolves around the idea of how food may cause illness in those that you serve it to. Some of this has been accelerated out of proportion because of the "foodborne illness" stories that make headlines in the media. On the other hand, you may be someone that is actually more concerned about undercooking and poisoning someone. Please understand that this category of "fear of cooking" is easily overcome by understanding some basic cooking rules.

Fear of serving bad food: This fear of cooking is mainly associated with someone who is uncertain about their ability to cook like a chef in the first place. In fact, they may even doubt their ability to mix flavors or understand when an item is done cooking. This person will typically overcook or undercook dishes on a regular basis.

Over-perfectionist: This person's fear of cooking is a little less pervasive and less obvious. This person will fret about how their food looks or worry incessantly about how well their dish is received. They will sometimes display a heightened fear of dinner parties or providing enough variety for their family.

Fear of Cooking Process: This person is hypersensitive to the idea of potentially cutting or burning themselves in the cooking process. Their fear of cooking is obvious as they are also noticeably afraid of new techniques or techniques that they haven't ever used in their journey to learn to cook.

Fear of recipes: Recipes are complicated and full of ingredients that most home cooks don't use or have in their pantry which allows the fear of cooking to cripple their creativity in the kitchen. Another difficulty with recipes is having to have very precise measurements that may or may not work for the overall desired effect. What is the desired effect? Having people tell you that you cook like a chef.

The fears that are listed here are a big reason why I do what I do. I know that I can help someone to get rid of their fear of cooking by simply helping them learn to cook using simple cooking method. This method encompasses a more thorough understanding of how certain foods go together, how to create a meal without a recipe and stop worrying because you will cook like a chef!

By Chef Todd

Valentine's Day Dessert Ideas

After you're through melting chocolate for Valentines Day candy, start thinking about a romantic Valentines dessert. The secrets of egg custard will enable you to make creme brulee or zabaglione, a romantic valentines day dessert.

I've been a fan of the incredible, edible, egg. It's nature's perfect food. Nutritionally balanced, and filling a long list of roles in the kitchen, it's a great friend to chefs and home cooks alike.

Eggs leaven baked goods, they bind items together, they combine two un-mixable objects, they add color to breads and pies, they're perfect by themselves, and they thicken liquids too!

Egg proteins "coagulate", they stiffen and shrink at 165f or 74c. You can use this knowledge to make scrambled eggs, or to slowly bring the egg proteins to this temperature threshold, combined with milk or cream, to make a thickened custard.

You've got a great skill in the kitchen if you can treat an egg yolk so delicately as to have it thicken your liquid without getting bits of scrambled eggs in your custard. This ability can be transferred to cold sauces, salad dressings, creamy desserts, and even used in a unique way to bind crab meat together. That's the improvisation I used to win the Chesapeake Flavor Crab Cook-Off in Annapolis, Maryland last year.

While the other contestants were using the typical mayonnaise to bind their crab cakes
, I used my knowledge of egg custard to make a creamy crab entree without scooping mayonnaise into the mix. You can see the video Chef Todd Wins Crab Cook Off on my Facebook page.

Today's video will show you how to use egg yolks to thicken liquids and make an egg custard
. Once you've mastered this skill, you're only a step away from Creme Brulee', or Zabaglione, two romantic Valentines Day Dessert Ideas.

If you want to learn my exact process for creating a "soup to nuts" romantic meal at home (and I promise, it's easier than you ever imagined) Click Here now.

Not interested in custard?
How about Melting Chocolate for Valentine's Day Candy?

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