Many of us are amateur cooks, and we all know what that means: We love to inflate our prowess. "I make the best lasagna you'll ever taste," we say to our friends, all the while knowing we'll probably never compare to a true Italian chef. The truth is, whether we've attended cooking school or can't boil an egg to save our lives, there is always room for improvement. Even seven–Michelin star chef Gordon Ramsay knows, when it comes to cooking, perfection is always out of reach.
No matter your skills in the kitchen, you could get a lot closer to perfection with Masterclass's 20-chapter cooking lesson with Gordon Ramsay. Think of it like watching Chef's Table on Netflix but actually getting to eat what you watch at the end. Do you score your salmon before cooking? Do you take eggs on and off their heat source every 20 to 90 seconds? From mastering simple knife skills to making pasta from scratch, this celebrity chef's cooking tips will perfect your culinary abilities. Think you know your way around the kitchen? Test your skills against Gordon Ramsay to find out.
Beginner: Perfecting Scrambled Eggs
Courtesy of Food52
Every good chef knows that your true cooking skills show through how well you can cook an egg. Thus, if you really want to impress someone with your culinary prowess, Ramsay details all the little secrets you'll need.
"The secret behind every perfect scrambled egg is stopping it from overcooking," he says. "The most important thing is to make sure everything is ready beforehand because it takes about three minutes, and you can’t slow it down." He suggests cooking the eggs in a nonstick pan—not a stainless steel one—to avoid burning your food, to have more yield, and to make cleaning up easier afterward.
- Put the eggs and butter in the pan, do not beat them.
- Put the pan over heat, and use a turner spatula to turn and whisk the eggs, this keeps it from sticking.
- Once the pan is hot, take it off and keep whisking to melt the butter.
- You should alternate moving the pan on the heat for 90 seconds, and off for 20 seconds.
- Then add in seasonings while it’s cooking over the heat, and fold them in.
Intermediate: Cooking Salmon Correctly
In chapter 13, Ramsay details his salmon with shellfish minestrone recipe. The skill to master: how to cook salmon the right way. "When cooking salmon, think of the skin as a safety net," he says. "It gets more delicious as it gets crispier and, more importantly, when it's cooked skin-side down, it protects the fish."
- Always make sure you score the salmon. This stops the fish from buckling up and keeps it flat.
- Rub salt into the skin and the flesh of the salmon. It takes the moisture out, so it makes it less rubbery and more crispy.
- Do this three to four minutes before cooking, and let it get to room temperature. People make the mistake of cooking fish when it’s ice cold, but you should let is sit for five to six minutes because it’s impossible to get it cooked to the center without overcooking the outside.
Advanced: Making Pasta From Scratch
You may know how to cook a killer bolognese sauce, but can you make your pasta from scratch? To step your Italian night up a notch, follow Ramsay's tips.
- Start with two cups of flour. It's important to prepare the pasta on a cold surface, like a marble counter—it makes the pasta finer, and gluten strands are activated faster when the pasta is fine.
- Make a well shape with the flour, with a hole in the middle. Add a teaspoon of olive oil into the hole.
- Then, in a separate bowl, add four whole eggs and two egg yolks. Whisk in a bowl, and then add to the middle of the flour.
- Next, form the dough with your hands, catching all of the flour. Keep adding flour until it becomes a ball.
- If the dough is stuck to your fingers, keep taking flour and rub your hands together and keep kneading it in the dough until your hands are dry—many people don't realize that the excess on your hands can yield a portion.
- The kneading should be a push-and-twist motion; keep adding a sprinkle of flour to the dough and on your hands to keep the dough thick.
- Keep kneading and pushing the dough until you can roll it across the counter without it sticking.
- Finally, wrap it in saran wrap to stop it from oxidizing—if it's exposed, it will discolor—and put in the fridge for 20 minutes before passing it through the pasta maker.