How to Choose a Cooking School

Cooking schools or culinary schools as they are also called are classic illustrations of the premise that if you want to join a trade, the best and only thing to do is to learn it from those who practice it. Before there were cooking schools, those aspiring to become chefs would work at restaurants and hotels as apprentices, toiling eighteen hours a day, mostly for little or no wages, learning from master chefs. Although this is no longer the standard practice today, many senior chefs do take on apprentices who arrive at their food service facilities as interns.

The Latter-day Scenario

For those interested in becoming a chef at a restaurant, hotel, golf club or a catering facility, cooking schools offer the best alternative to full-blown hospitality degrees from established universities where cooking is one of the focus areas-not the only focus area. As is the case with every category of educational institutions or institutions of higher learning, cooking schools provide students with a dazzling array of choices. Here are three factors to consider when selecting a cooking school for yourself.

Chef’s School in the Right Location

Although most cooking schools are self-contained and provide most if not all the learning facilities one may need to become a professional chef, cooking schools located in or near large cities tend to have a strategic advantage. Proximity to a large city, especially one that boasts a culinary tradition of its own like New Orleans, New York or San Francisco, allows you to build your very own network which can be useful when you enter the job market. Moreover, your cooking school is able to arrange site visits and project trips to area restaurants, hotels and resorts more frequently as the gamut of choices tends to be more widespread.

Cuisine Style and Teaching Philosophy

Cooking is both a science and an art. Many cooking schools will offer you more than one culinary choice in terms of the cooking degree they will offer you. However, there are culinary schools which specialize only in one culinary style and these are traditionally known to be superior. You should take this factor into consideration when narrowing your choices down to the right cooking school for you. If it is French cooking that interests you, look for a culinary school that specializes in French cooking. If you are planning to become an Italian chef, seek a reputable cooking school that specializes in Italian cuisine. Better still, consider pursuing your degree in its country of origin. If you pursued the culinary degree in Italy for instance, you wouldn’t learn just Italian cooking but more specifically Tuscany style cooking, Venetian cuisine or northern Italian cookery.

Conducting a Cost Benefit Analysis of your Proposed Cooking School Degree

Once you have short-listed the cooking schools that interest you, it is time to perform a cost benefit analysis. Divide the total tuition fee by the total number of contact hours you will be spending in a classroom and laboratory or learning kitchen environment to arrive at an approximate per-hour cost of instruction at the school. Although this is by no means the only measure of evaluation, using this figure as a benchmark is an excellent way for you to assess the value proposition.

There are scores of online resources you can use when researching the right culinary school for yourself. The extent of research you could will, to a great extend, determine the kind of culinary training you will receive. Therefore, take the time to explore possibilities using as many online resources as you can find and chances are that you will eventually find yourself in a culinary school that will well surpass your expectations.


How to Choose a Camping Stove

When it’s time to purchase camping gear there are many things to consider. How often do you plan on upgrading your equipment or replacing it? If you’re like me, I like to buy quality, knowing that what I buy will last a few years. When you buy camping stoves the same applies. I decided to buy the best camping stove to meet my needs. I use 2 types of stoves for tent camping when you can drive close to your campsite. I use another type of stove for backpack camping, where you’re more interested in a small and lightweight model for heating things up.

Important considerations in choosing the right camping stove for your use are where you’ll be camping and how many people you’ll be cooking for? For tent camping in a campground area, the two-burner propane or white gas stoves work well. I use a two-burner stove that uses white gas and a single burner propane stove. This set-up works well for a family of 4 or 5. The two-burner white gas stove works great for cooking, since it is easier to control the flame and does not burn as hot. The single burner propane stove works great for heating water for hot drinks and for washing water – both for personal hygiene and washing/rinsing dishes.

Many lightweight stoves come with a push button ignition. However, always bring water-proof matches and a camping lighter as a back-up.

Most lightweight stoves come with a carrying case to protect them when they’re being stored and packed.

Each type of stove has its own fuel needs. Make sure you bring enough of the right kind of fuel for your usage needs. The types of fuels are: propane, butane, isobutene, and white gas.

Most fuel types can be used for lanterns as well as for stoves. Make sure you get stoves and lanterns that use the same type of fuel to make life easier.

Having the right camping stoves for your situation will definitely add to your camping enjoyment, but if you don’t have the right cooking equipment it could ruin what should be a fantastic time.


Better Than Cooking Over A Spit!

These days you will find that there a number of cooking utensils when it comes to cooking bacon. But not all can turn out great bacon. The microwave oven is the equipment which can be used for cooking bacon. Bacon can be cooked over the stove in a fry pan so that all the juices and fat that it contains helps to cook the meat by itself. Cooking this way over the stove slowly makes the bacon sizzle and gurgle while it cooks. Using the microwave oven to cook helps to cut out all that extra fat required for its cooking and turns out crispy ones. This is why microwave cooking of bacon is preferred by many.

Those people who prefer their bacon to be greasy can use the pan for cooking it. But those who are more health conscious would certainly prefer to have their bacon cooked using the microwave. There are also other ways in which you can have your bacon cooked using other types of cooking utensils which are now available in the market.

The different types of bacon cookers which are readily available in the market come in various shapes, sizes, designs and even prices. Try to get a bacon cooker that allows you to cook your bacon without causing any mess while it cooks in the microwave. These bacon cookers come in a variety of prices and it is up to each individual cook to choose one which fits their budget.

Bacon cookers can be used for a variety of cooking needs other than defrosting and warming. Bacon cookers like the presto brand helps to keep the flavor of the bacon intact while it helps to drain off the excess oil. We are all aware that oil is unhealthy and is not to be consumed and that’s why it is important that all the oil is drained out of the bacon before it is eaten during breakfast.

Another type of bacon cooking equipment, which is highly convenient helps to keep the bacon from rolling up preventing it from sticking together. Here the bacon is made to stand up instead of lying flat down which prevents it from rolling over the other pieces. The equipment is specially designed that it secures both the ends of the bacon piece and keeps the middle portion stretched making it ideal for the bacon to be cooked well. This way the cooked bacon presents a neat appearance when it is placed on the breakfast plate on the table in the morning. This is how restaurants cook their bacon.

Bacon is an important dish which is served at most breakfast tables and using bacon cooking equipment helps anyone to serve well cooked bacon for breakfast.


Tips on How to Choose Fresh Food Items

It is a good thing to follow a healthy diet but it is much better if you’re the one preparing the healthy dishes for yourself and for your family. Learning how to prepare delightful recipes is important especially for those people who want to enter the food business. It is not enough for you to taste the food but it is a must that you learn how they are prepared.

When you enter into the food business, you should be hands-on when it comes to managing and supervising your employees on how to properly handle and prepare each recipe that they will serve. This can help prevent the occurrence of food poisoning. Food poisoning is the common result of improper handling and preparation of food. Chefs should make it a habit to ensure that all the ingredients are safe to be used and that the cooking equipment and utensils are well-cleaned and properly stored.

Sea food is an example of food items that easily get spoiled. That is why it is advisable to inspect it thoroughly to be sure that it is fresh and that safe to eat. One important tip when buying sea foods is to purchase only from reputable stores or market. It is better if you buy from someone whom you trust. Check immediately the quality of the seafood and look for signs of spoilage. If you plan to buy crabs or lobsters, it would be best to choose the lives ones to ensure its freshness.

Another tip when buying sea food is to refrigerate it especially if you’re not going to cook it that day. This can help maintain the freshness although it Is suggested that you cook the seafood within 2-3 days.

For other fresh food items that you want to buy, it would be better if you ask the vendor or merchant as to where the food came from before deciding whether to buy or not. For those who want to buy meat, it is wise if you buy from reputable stores or vendors. You should also check the color of the meat. Fresh meat is usually red or pinkish in color. Another wise move is to check the license of the vendor or the business permit of the market and make sure that the meats they are selling were checked by authorized meat inspectors.

When it comes to cooking meats, meats differ on what temperature they should be cooked. You should know the recommended temperature for the meat before cooking it to ensure that bacteria and contaminants will get killed upon applying heat.

Cooked food should not be left on the table or in the counter but must immediately be placed in the refrigerator. Never allow the food left longer than 2 hours.


How to Select the Right Cooking Equipment

Like many folks, you may not realize what a difference cooking with first rate cooking equipment can make. The lowest priced cooking utensils and equipment might be great for initially keeping money in your pocket, but will probably take more money out as you replace your equipment, time and time again.

What can first rate cooking equipment do for your cooking? Here are a few ideas to help you determine what the best equipment is for you.

Know What Is Essential

Before you go shopping for your cooking utensils and equipment, it is important to first, determine what you really will use. Do you like to cook often? Is your lifestyle require elaborate main courses and desserts? These are questions you should ask yourself, to be able to decide on the type of cooking equipment that you will buy, in order to satisfy your own personal tastes.

Consider, a single parent family, with two teenage boys. The cooking will most likely be simple, healthy food, with only a few preparation steps, using large dishes and only a few utensils. Rarely, will this family likely ever need fancy cooking equipment, such as a melon scooper. However, a family that entertains their club group every month, would want to use specialized cooking sculpting tools and fancy serving dishes to impress their guests.

Watch The Chefs

If you see yourself cooking frequently, it is a good idea to check out what the professional chefs use. There are famous chefs that produce their own brand of cooking equipment. If you enjoy the dishes that they prepare, this may worth your while to consider purchasing. Then again, you have the option of trying a less expensive version of their specialized equipment first, to see if it works for you instead.

Foods That You Prepare

What kind of food do you end up cooking most of the time? The best equipment for you is determined by what food you regularly prepare. If you enjoy stir fry food, you will want to have a well designed wok, and the proper utensils to go with it. But, if baking is what you love, then some specialized, nonstick pans, and a standing mixer would better match your cooking style. By knowing what kind of cooking you will do the most often, can help you easily choose the valuable cooking tools and leave the other ones for another type of cook, no matter how trendy or latest high tech it may appear.

Seek Out Discounts

It is always great to get a discount. You should try to ask what is on sale or has a discount off its normal price, as much as possible. However, just because something is inexpensive, is not a good reason alone, to it buy it. Remember, that you are trying to find items that are fairly inexpensive and are still constructed with high quality materials.

For other helpful tips on how to select the top quality cooking equipment for your personal cooking style, you can purchase an e-book online that covers suggestions and instruction on how to become a successful cook. Your ebook should include ideas on what equipment to have in your kitchen and everything you ever wanted to know about cooking, along with those things that you never dared to ask about.


Three Essential Pieces of Chinese Cooking Equipment

In order to make good food at home, you have to begin by having sound fundamentals. As any chef or experienced home cook knows, having the right kitchen equipment makes all the difference in their final result. Give an amateur cook good pots, pans, and knives to use and his dishes will improve almost immediately. In the hands of a skilled culinary artist, these tools can be used to create magic on a dish. Below are some tools and Chinese cooking equipment that anyone aspiring to cook quality Asian food at home needs.

1. Knives
You knife is the most valuable tool that you have in your kitchen and is extremely important for cooking your favorite Chinese recipes at home. If you have ever looked at your favorite takeout dishes closely, you may have noticed that all the meats and vegetables inside of the dish have been neatly and precisely cut. Not only does a uniform knife cut make for even cooking, but the flavor and textures of food actually change depending on how you cut it. As a general rule of thumb, buy the most expensive knife that you can afford. High-quality knives will last longer, be easier to sharpen, and stay sharp longer. If given the option, choose forged blades over stamped blades because they are of much higher quality.

2. Wok
The next most important tool in your Chinese kitchen should be your wok. The wok is thousands of years old and is used because its shape is ideal for a multitude of tasks. You can perform practically every type of cooking technique in a wok, including braising, stir frying, deep frying, and steaming. When purchasing a wok for your home kitchen, you need to think about a few things. First of all, you need to choose the shape of your wok. Today, woks come in two main varieties. The first design is a traditional, curved shaped bottom wok. In order to sit securely on your stove, you will need a heat ring, a cylindrical ring upon which the wok will sit. The negative side to using a heat ring is that your pan will be elevated from the heat source, meaning that you will not get the maximum temperature that you would if the pan was in direct contact with the heating element. Instead, most home cooks that want to fix Chinese cuisine should opt for a flat bottomed wok, which will sit snuggly on any cook top. Finally, you need to decide on the material used for the construction of the wok. Opt for high carbon steel woks of cast iron woks. Steel woks will heat up quickly and are easy to maneuver. Cast iron woks heat up slowly, but retain their temperatures for a long time. Having high cooking temperatures is essential for good results.

3. Rice Cooker
Rice is the stable grain of the Chinese table and every home cook that is serious about cooking Chinese food at home needs to own a rice pot. The reason for this is because of the convenience a rice cooker offers. Preparing rice in a regular saucepan on the stove can be quite perilous for the inexperienced cook. First of all, it is easy to mess up the proportions of rice to water with this method. Next, the rice can boil over the edge of the pot quite easily if you are not looking. Finally, you have to maintain a constant watch over the temperature to make sure that the rice is not sticking and burning to the bottom of the pot. A rice cooker solves all of these problems. Many models have convenient measuring guidelines to help you get the proportions right. Also, the heating mechanism inside of the rice cooker is designed to maintain the right temperatures throughout the cooking process. Finally, after the rice is done, the pot will automatically switch to warming mode, which prevents scorching and burning.

If you are serious about cooking Asian food at home, the wok, a good knife, and a rice cooker are essential Chinese cooking equipment for your kitchen. With these three items, you will have a solid base from which you can reach new culinary heights.


Healthy Cooking Tips for a Healthier You

People nowadays choose fast-food chains more than home-cooked meals. Why? Because fast food tastes so good, convenient, and you don’t have to wait for that long. But don’t you know that you are compromising your family’s health with the habit of eating in these food chains?

Has it ever crossed your mind that home-cooked meals are way much cheaper and healthier option? And you know it’s safe because you prepared it yourself. Preparing your own food together with family members even help creates a greater bond, and it’s so much fun to do.

So better minimize your fast food consumption and start cooking healthy and delicious food right in your own kitchen. And if you’re one of those who have the passion for cooking for your family, these simple healthy cooking tips will help you, and your family, avoid the habit of eating outside, and start saving your money plus living a healthy lifestyle.

Choose your cooking oil wisely

Cooking oil plays a very important part in cooking and to your health too. By choosing oils that contain unsaturated fats such as olive, sesame, safflower and canola can help lower cholesterol level, which is good for your heart. But using these oils in a large quantity can also pack plenty of calories, so better cut your consumption by half or quarter if you can.

Steam instead of boiling

Steaming has plenty of benefits. First in line is cooking without using oil, which can reduce your fat consumption. Steaming locks in nutrients needed by our active bodies. It also retains the food’s color and flavor, a factor that usually activates anybody to eat. Also, try steaming with bamboo steamer. The organic steamer doesn’t affect the food’s flavor, and it cuts cooking time, thus saving you money.

Avoid skin and fat

Whenever you prepare poultry meats such as chicken and pork, you may want to take away the skin and fat that contain unwanted cholesterol, which is not good for our bodies, not to mention that by doing so it will leave you with the tastier and healthier part of the meat.

Reduce your salt by half

Instead of making your food tasty by adding salt, why don’t you try some fresh spices as an alternative? It will give you a better tasting food with a lesser amount of sodium. You must also avoid using packed seasoning mixes, which are loaded with MSG and unhealthy amount of salt.

Prepare your vegetables with salt

What would you choose; a cabbage without blemishes or the one that has it? Of course, you’ll choose the one without blemishes. But your choice is cured with insecticides, and it’s harmful to your health. So, better soak your veggies in a basin with water and at least 2 tbsp of salt before you cook them. This will help reduce the chemical compounds of insecticides, leaving you with only organic and safer veggies.

Last minute veggies

Green leafy vegetables need only shorter cooking time. So instead of cooking it together with meat and other ingredients, wait until all the ingredients are almost done. Then add your veggies on the last minute. This is enough to cook the vegetables, but it will retain the color, flavor and the nutrients.

These simple yet healthy cooking tips will pave your way into a much healthier diet, but the most important thing you should know is to enjoy while cooking, as negative emotions can also affect the way you cook thus affecting the taste of food. And don’t forget that dining in a restaurant serving freehand-cooked foods is not a bad idea, especially when your mood doesn’t agree with cooking for yourself or for your family.


Barbequing And Outdoor Cooking Tips

BBQWhen looking for outdoor cooking tips and barbequing, many people aren’t sure where to start. Meat might be burned on the outside and raw on the inside, but they can’t work out where they are going wrong! So getting a few straight forward outdoor cooking and barbequing tips, you can get your meat safely and tastily cooked and prepare grilled vegetables, or bake bread and wood-fired pizza.

If you have considered building an outdoor barbeque, brick pizza oven or smoker oven, it isn’t really that hard and it will undoubtedly improve your outdoor entertaining. Barbequing and outdoor cooking tips will make your social gatherings much better. Although if you are considering any building, you may need designs or plans for outdoor kitchens, brick barbeques or ovens. You can find such things online, but there are a few easy things to consider when you are cooking outdoors:

• Cook larger pieces of meat indirectly, do burgers, steaks or chops on the fast grill. Build your coals on the opposite side of the grill to the meat and close the lid or door. This lets smoke and heat penetrate the meat and slow cooks it, making it ideal for roasts, fish, briskets and ribs, making them more tender and flavorsome

• Cook vegetables indirectly or directly depending on what sort they are, but it doesn’t take as long for them to get done, unless they are root veggies which take a little longer

• Burgers, steaks and chops should be cooked by the direct method, but make sure any direct flames have died back. Then put the meat on the grill surface – this seals in juices. So leaving the meat on the same side for a few minutes before turning ensures burgers stay together and meat cuts will be juicy and tender

• Remove meat from the grill when required to be medium-rare, and place it in an indirect heat area for medium-well or well-done steaks. Remember that steaks, burgers and chops are juicier and more tender when cooked to medium-rare because they will continue to cook for a few minutes after being removed from the grill

• Never use forks to take your meat off the grill because this pierces the outside and allows juices to run away, causing dried-out meat

• Try adding marinades and herbs to meats prior to cooking. You can even add more woody herbs directly onto the coals to flavour the smoke, such as rosemary for lamb

These are just a few outdoor cooking and barbequing tips you can use to enhance your skills. There are other helpful barbequing and outdoor cooking tips online – search for cooking websites for precise instruction on certain meats and vegetables.

Simon Michie invites you to enhance your lifestyle with Best Garden and Outdoor Living.


6 Best Turkey Cooking Tips Tricks

It’s almost the festive season again – and even if it isn’t, many family meals could benefit from learning the basics of turkey cooking tips tricks and more guidelines on getting the best bird, cooking it right so it tastes just right and sets the mood for a good time!

1. Select the correct size of this wonderful bird: 3/4 pound per person is a good way to estimate you have enough left for seconds unless you are the type that enjoys having extra leftovers; then you can calculate on buying a turkey with portions decided as 1 1/2 pounds per person.

2. Whether you want a Hen or a Tom is largely dependent on your preference for bigger or medium sized birds; hens less than 16 pounds), Toms (over 16 pounds) do not matter so much as getting a young turkey as one a few weeks old at processing time will ensure tenderized meat that is easy to cook and eat.

3. Roast right by preparing right: remove neck and giblets from body cavities; rinse the hollowed insides well with cold water and those choosing to stuff the turkey can do so in a loose manner before clamping the leg back on in place.

4. Cooking tips tricks for the turkey: place in roasting dish, keeping plastic timer in clear view before covering with a lid; you can choose a foil wrap also. Do not forget to remove this cover an hour before browning.

5. Tips and Tricks for Cooking Turkey Roast: preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit and roast for 15 minutes per pound of un-stuffed bird; the stuffed kind will need an extra half or 1 hr of cooking before done, though it’s best to go according to the recipe guidelines that come with the turkey stuffing at times. Cooking temperatures may differ for ovenware and bird-size, so you may have to turn over for even roasting on all sides.

6. Choosing to Baste? Remember this: a suction basting tube is a cheap tool that makes basting turkeys easy and convenient besides decreasing the frequency of opening the oven door to check for how much roasting has been done – it also helps avoid heat escaping each time this is done, so get yourself one today.

There is no dearth of web sites that offer free information about cooking turkey meals and various cook-books also offer valuable tips and guidelines on this matter; it’s only a matter of finding the right information and applying them right so once you’ve made a smart purchase of the right-size bird, you can go about setting that perfect family meal that’s cooked just right and is filling too!


Cooking Tips and Techniques For Your Home Cooking

Cooking is indeed enjoyable. It is also one thing that most people want to learn because we always deal with food every day. We please our family with our good cooking skills; we impress our partners with great dinners; we want to cook for ourselves to make sure we eat healthy; indeed, cooking is one thing we want to learn and we want to do it good.

We all have our own practices in the kitchen that make our cooking easy and smooth sailing. The more we cook the more cooking tips and techniques we discover. If you are looking for some cooking tips and techniques to add to your list, below are some that you might find helpful.

* If you want to cook ahead of time and store food in freezers, make sure to know what food is not good for the freezer. Do not freeze boiled eggs, as it will cause the egg whites to become watery. Freezing will also cause the mayonnaise to separate and milk to curdle.

* Freezing is also not friendly to cooked potatoes, as it will darken them and create an unattractive texture. To keep the color of sliced potatoes, place them cold water until they are ready for cooking. This will also improve its crispiness if you intend to fry them. You can also whiten them by putting a few drops of lemon during boiling.

* To enhance the flavor of stewed chicken, let it stand in its broth until it cools down before cutting it into chunks.

* If you are barbequing, brush the grate with cooking oil or spray with vegetable cooking spray to prevent the barbeque from sticking. When fire flares up during barbequing, sprinkle a little water over the flames. Be sure also to remove the barbeque before the fire will burn one side of the meat. To lessen overbrowning of your barbeque, you can apply the sauce only 20 minutes before it is done.

* You can drop lettuce leaves in your soups, gravies and other dishes to get rid of the extra oil. You will notice the oil will easily cling into the leaves so you can easily get rid of them.

* When baking cookies, it is best to make similar shapes and sizes so you can arrange them in even rows and that they will heat evenly. Large spaces in between the cookies can cause them to burn. Do not also leave cookies in the hot baking sheet after they are cooked as this will continue to cook or may burn them.

There are a lot of cooking tips and techniques that we can actually learn when we spend time in the kitchen. These tips and techniques do not only make our cooking easy, it is also very useful to preserve the nutrients, the color and texture as well as the flavor of our food. Knowing some cooking tips and techniques also helps us a lot in mastering the art of cooking.

Carolyn Anderson loves cooking in her free time. To learn about popular healthy recipes, check out most wanted recipes. Another highly recommended resource is Competition BBQ Secrets, where you find the secrets of barbequing, whether you want to enter BBQ competitions or just backyard barbequing.