The old adage “hindsight is 20/20” couldn’t be more true when it comes to cooking. There are so many things I had to learn the hard way and rather than gatekeep that knowledge, I’m here to share with you the 10 things I wish I knew when I started cooking.

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Mise en place example showing: mushrooms, tomato paste, herbs, mustard, shallot, wine, butter, stock, cream, and filet mignon.

Mise en place

While my list of things I wish I knew goes beyond just 10 items, I will say that there is one tip that comes first and foremost.

Mise en place, or the preparation and arrangement of ingredients before cooking is crucial to success.

It allows you to be better organized so you can efficiently cook like a pro.

This is a concept that’s taught in culinary school, but you don’t need to be a classically trained chef to do this at home. 

At the start of every YouTube video I go over my ingredients, my mise en place, and this allows me to effectively demonstrate how to prepare the food.

In this episode we discuss the importance of mise en place along with other cooking tips I wish I knew before I started cooking.

Topics include the importance of keeping a clean kitchen, how to use stainless steel pans, rolling citrus to maximize juice, why pasta water is an essential ingredient, and how reading a recipe through to the end can make a difference.

Top tips

In almost every recipe post I include a “Top tips” section that addresses the needs tips specific to that recipe, and often I’ll include the tips we talk about in this episode.

If you’ve been following along with our recipes, you’re likely familiar with the top tips section and I hope have found them useful!

I encourage you to peruse the top tips section whenever making one of my recipes as you’ll find bits of info there that can really help elevate your recipes!


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  1. 100% agree with the kitchen scale. Soo easy, fast, and only dirties one bowl that I am using anyway (unless need separation). Makes some things, like pizza dough so fast I don’t dread making it. I always hated washing multiple measuring spoons, cups, and flour gets on everything. With scale, just dump right out of bag, no mess! And more accurate. Win – Win.

  2. This episode was so very helpful to me! I learned so much–thank you! P.S. And I *definitely* will begin doing my own rinsing/cleaning of my “triple-washed” packaged stuff!!

  3. Oh my gosh!!! I’ve been cooking for over 60 years and I’m considered an excellent cook. I make pretty much everything I eat from scratch, although I’m starting to slow down a little. You brought up a brilliant tip that I never thought of before. I do use a kitchen scale, but never ever thought about taring each item instead of using separate bowls each time I add to the main bowl. How could I never have thought of that? I grind my own chuck roast for hamburgers and make them into 6 ounce patties. Instead of weighing each patty separately, now I can just roll into balls, weigh then tare, then make them into patties when I vacuum seal them. What a great idea! I guess it’s never too late to learn. Love your podcasts.