How often have you gone out to eat at local restaurants and, upon receiving your meal, think to yourself, “I could make this just as well at home!” but when you actually go to try making that same dish yourself, it never comes out quite right. That’s a common experience across the globe, and restaurant owners and chefs like it that way because it means the meals they make are special enough to keep you coming back for more. Of course, it isn’t a bit of magic chefs-only seasoning sprinkled across every dish. Restaurant food tastes better for a compilation of different reasons that all add up to a delicious whole.
Chefs Make the Difference
The first big factor between restaurant dishes and the exact same thing made at home is the person making it. Restaurant chefs have extensive training in the best methods to cook meat, vegetables, and grains to get them to optimal deliciousness. This breaks down to a couple of things chefs do differently from home cooks:
- Cook at high heat—a lot of home cooks are wary of cooking at high heat because the potential for food disasters (and home calamities) goes up as the heat increases. Chefs are trained to use those high temperatures to turn out perfectly cooked, non-mushy vegetables and steaks with a perfect sear every time.
- Pre-cooking prep work—chefs in restaurant kitchens have to turn out perfectly cooked dishes quickly and in large quantities, which means they don’t have time to chop an onion individually for each dish. Before chefs begin cooking, they prepare all of the component parts they’ll need for each dish. Of course, this is a step you can easily do at home!
- Hone their knife skills—that’s right, how to cut foods does make a difference in how a dish turns out. Cutting all of your vegetables to the same size helps everything cook at the same rate, so you don’t end up with peppers that are still raw and squash that has fallen apart from over-cooking.
In addition to the skills chefs bring to their restaurant kitchen, they also know what to look for when it comes to excellent produce, the best cuts of meat, and every other component that goes into their finished dishes. And the choice between good carrots and great carrots makes a huge difference. Most chefs will even make or source locally made components like bread or pasta rather than buying the same things you can get at your local supermarket. Freshly made pasta or in-house cooked stocks come with a wealth more flavor and richness than the storebought variety.
Then, once they’ve sourced better quality ingredients, restaurant chefs make a few other notable choices when it comes to cooking. First, they use butter—real, full-fat, salted, delicious butter—in place of olive oil or other healthier options. Second, they use salt, and they use it freely. Take it straight from Food Network chef Alton Brown, “Salt makes food taste more like itself.” Third, they use fresh herbs and spices over dried because they bring bolder flavors.
Find your next crave-worthy meal; come visit us at Vista Village Pub today!