Top Chef Sylvain Harribey of the Sofitel New York shares this tip:
When you cook, don’t overcrowd the pan with the ingredients. In a packed pan, foods end up steaming rather than caramelizing. This adds cooking time and subtracts taste.
All ingredients should fit comfortably in one layer. Either use a pan that’s big enough for the job, or cook in batches as necessary.
Need more tips? Head to YouTube and search for basic cooking lessons or specific techniques.
SECOND TIP: USE THE RIGHT PAN
Skillet vs. Sauté Pan (Frying Pan): A skillet has low, sloped sides that help with evaporation and steam dissipation. It is used for browning and/or caramelizing, and for reducing sauces. The sloped sides make it easy to flip food and slide it out of the pan. A sauté pan has straight sides and can come with a lid. It is used for braising and pan frying; the high sides reduce splatters and keep in the moist heat.
Saucepan vs. Saucier: A saucepan has straight sides and is used for basic heating and boiling. A saucier is rounded and bowl-shaped, ideal for the preparation of sauces, custards, risotto and creamy foods. Unlike the saucepan, the saucier has no angle on the bottom where food can hide and burn; and the wider mouth is better for whisking.