So what makes a good cook, and would I put myself in that camp?
My friends at Circulon (they make the best non stick cook and bakeware in my opinion) have recently carried out a a poll of 2,000 people, to reveal the top 50 indicators of culinary expertise. They wanted to find out exactly what makes us Brits ‘good cooks’. Some of the results surprised me, for example, the average person only cooks around 11 dishes on rotation. While two thirds of those polled are confident about throwing together random ingredients from their cupboard to make something delicious and 55 per cent say they are confident knowing which herbs should be used.
Here are some of the things that Circulon found following their research :
- Confident cooks also know the correct wine to pair with meats and fish, know which foods go well together and are happy preparing meals in front of guests.
- Rustling up a roast for mum, rather than relying on her for sumptuous Sunday dinners also proves you can stand the heat in the kitchen.
- It also emerged two in three Brits have been labelled a ‘good cook’, with 54 per cent happy to try attempt an extravagant new dish when friends are coming over.
- Proficient home cooks tend to be those who are confident about preparing food in front of others, and who are knowledgeable about their food, cookware and kitchen equipment.
- Being able to prepare food properly without a timer and knowing what all the settings on the oven do are also key indicators of a good cook.
- Chopping an onion in seconds, cooking steaks perfectly using the thumb technique and the ability to whip something up from scratch also sets confident chefs from the rest of us.
- Top quality cooks will also regularly reel off terms such as ’Al dente’, ‘broil’ and ‘blanch’, and have a pantry stocked with ingredients such as masala leaves, mustard seeds and truffle.
- Other factors in the top 50 signs of a good cook include being willing to experiment with foods, being able to prepare a nice meal when there’s nothing in the cupboard – and have the ability to laugh when things go pear-shaped.
- Understanding food combinations, knowing what every utensil in the kitchen does, owning a spice rack and being able to home-make all sauces and condiments also featured highly on the list.
- Researchers found just five per cent of respondents class themselves as an excellent cook, while 43 per cent say they’re good.
- The average person cooks around 11 dishes on rotation. While two thirds of those polled are confident about throwing together random ingredients from their cupboard to make something delicious and 55 per cent say they are confident knowing which herbs should be used.
- A third of people often try to replicate celebrity recipes and 22 per cent are so proficient at preparing food they don’t even weigh the ingredients, preferring to throw them in at random.
- And when it comes to cookware, 23 per cent will always read reviews before purchase and 22 per cent take recommendations from friends and family.
- Inspiration for cooking still comes from cookery books for 54 per cent of people, while 43 per cent regularly watch cookery programmes.
The spokesman for Circulon continues:
“Carrying out this research has enabled us to fully appreciate our customers’ needs in the kitchen, whilst recognising their ability, confidence and approach to home cooking….Our findings have informed and influenced key elements in the development of future cookware ranges, with customer buying habits and usability in mind.”
So for fun, I wondered how many of the following 50 signs of a good cook my readers recognised in themselves? So here you go, here are 50 signs of being a good cook.
1. Can rustle up anything from scratch
2. Loving to eat as well as cook
3. Willing to experiment and try all foods and ingredients when cooking at home
4. Being happy to prepare food in front of guests
5. Always being able to whip something up when there’s virtually nothing in the cupboard
6. When making a roast dinner everything finishes cooking at the same time
7. Can identify certain herbs from appearance
8. Can throw things together knowing that the different combinations (of various foods, herbs, spices) will go together and taste fab
9. Experiments with dishes by adding a twist on classics
10. Experimenting with recipes more than once a week
11. Being able to laugh if things go wrong in the kitchen
12. Can identify herbs and spices by the taste
13. Knowing what herbs go in each dishes
14. Can chop things really finely, safely
15. Always have eggs and milk in the fridge
16. Home-makes all condiments and sauces
17. Owning a spice rack
18. Always the one people go to for cooking tips
19. Knows what every utensil in the kitchen does
20. Have a very well stocked pantry with all kinds of ingredients, i.e.: masala leaves, curry powder, mustard seeds, different types of oils: olive, avocado, roasted sesame seed, peanut, truffle, canola
21. Doesn’t need Oxo to make gravy
22. Will offer for extra people to stay to dinner at a moment’s notice
23. Rarely eat takeaways
24. Knows exactly how long to cook a perfectly poached egg
25. Knows how to peel fruit and veggies most efficiently
26. Knowing and practicing cooking terms like: ‘Al dente’, broil, blanch, clarify, deglaze, flambé, gratin, etc.
27. Always wanting to try a new dish when eating out
28. Being able to guess what is in a dish just from the taste
29. Never needing to use a cookbook
30. Always the designated cook for large family gatherings
31. Know when a cake is done without having to stick a cocktail stick in it a hundred times
32. Knowing measurements without having to actually measure
33. Owns good quality cook-ware
34. Writes a detailed list for the food shop
35. Knowing which wine to pair with certain meat or fish
36. Owning a full set of herbs/spices
37. Enjoying a messy kitchen
38. Don’t need a timer
39. Understanding what all the symbols on the oven mean
40. Can chop an onion in seconds
41. Being able to cook steaks perfectly using the thumb technique
42. Can always add in just the right
43. Knowing what ‘Bain Marie’ is and having the perfect pans for it
44. Knowing the correct pronunciation of unusual or exotic foods
45. Knowing which wine to drink with meat
46. Can flip a pancake perfectly
47. Knows how to prepare celeriac
48. Mum goes round for Sunday dinner rather than the other way round
49. Always read food magazines
50. Owns set of fancy knives
I worked out that I got 39/50 of these, I fell down on things like not reading food magazines and enjoying a messy kitchen, thats definitely not for me!