Chef Kelly’s Top 6 Culinary Tips
By Director of Culinary Enrichment & Executive Chef Kathryn Kelly

From prep work and knife work to culinary techniques, every chef learns a few tips and secrets in culinary school that are revolutionary in their culinary development. I still remember when I first learned the beauty and utility of acid – the acid of lemon works wonders to brighten and focus the flavor of soups, beans, legumes, proteins, and sauces. Before salting your food, try a little squeeze of lemon next time.

Every time you join one of our Culinary Center cooking classes or Culinary Discovery Tours, you’ll learn plenty of indispensable cooking tips like this to take home with you. Here are a few of my favorites.


    • Practice mise en place. Be organized from the start and have everything measured and prepped before you begin to cook. This way you can actually enjoy a glass of wine while you cook! Clean as you go too, like a professional chef.


    • Use the same knife. Ensure it’s always sharp and comfortable in your hand. I use the same knife for 90% of my kitchen needs – using the same knife over and over makes you much more proficient.


    • The key to using salt. Unless baking, I typically only salt food after it’s cooked. I choose kosher salt over sea salt because it’s clean. If I use sea salt, it’s from a source I know well, such as Maldon or Koper.


    • Get a good thermometer. The only way to know the internal temperature of something you are grilling, searing or baking is to accurately take the temperature with a thermometer. Timing, for example, 3 minutes per side, isn’t accurate – a thermometer is.


    • Why you should salt water before boiling. When cooking pasta or vegetables, make sure your water is salted beforehand – use 1 ½ to 2 tablespoons for every gallon of water, depending on the saltiness of the sauce or cheese you may be using. You’ll use much less salt at the table and have beautifully seasoned dishes.


    • Taste your food while cooking. Who doesn’t love this tip? The more you cook, the more comfortable you become with your ability to season, but tasting during the process is always essential.


Join us in The Culinary Center aboard Marina and Riviera for more chef secrets and tips to cook like a pro at home!

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