7 Cooking Superstitions from Star Chefs

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By F&W Editors Posted March 11, 2015

Here are a few more superstitions to add to your list from star chefs.

It’s nearly Friday the 13th (for the second time in two months). While our rational selves know there's no such thing as bad luck, we’d rather be safe than sorry. So stay clear of ladders, don’t handle any mirrors and keep umbrellas closed indoors. If those precautions aren’t enough, here are a few more superstitions to add to your list from star chefs.

“If my grandmother spilled salt, she would throw some over her left shoulder with her right hand, and I find myself doing it too. I feel funny if I don’t do it.” –Bill Smith, Crook’s Corner in Chapel Hill, North Carolina

“When I’m serving gnocchi on the 29th of every month, I always put a dollar under the plate. It’s a tradition that comes from Argentina, where my mother is from, and maybe other places in South America. On the 29th of every month, you put a dollar under the plate and it brings you fortune. At the restaurant, I’ll use a coin, but at home it’s a dollar.” –Michelle Bernstein, Michy’s Miami

“I like to have perfectly clean sea salt on my station before every shift. I think if I do that I’ll make it through service much better than if it has a little bit of pepper mixed in or something like that. I think it’s good luck.” –Brian Hill, Francine Bistro in Camden, Maine

“I have a kitchen superstition that if there’s a light bulb out at your station, it’s bad luck. All businesses should have working light bulbs.” –Joey Campanaro, Little Owl in New York City

“My one superstition, I rub the end of the cucumber with the end you slice off to remove the bitterness.” –Christopher Israel, Grüner in Portland, Oregon

“My superstition is if you fail the first couple of dishes it’s not your day and you should stop cooking and start drinking. Get your sous chef to replace you and get the hell out of there. Or if you’re cooking at home and you’re burning things, move the party to a restaurant.” –Charles Phan, The Slanted Door in San Francisco

“I always add chopped parsley along with garlic and olive oil when I start a pan sauce for pasta, even though it probably doesn’t do a damn thing. The parsley just sizzles, curls up, and loses its green color. It doesn’t really give any noticeable flavor but it’s the way I was taught in Italy and I’ve never done it any other way. I won’t mess with it because it seems like everything’s coming out just right and I’ve never questioned why. It just works. Who cares if the parsley isn’t green so long as your sauce is awesome? You can always add more fresh parsley at the end if you like the color.” –Nick Anderer, Maialino in New York City

Related: Superstar Chefs' Signature Dishes
Best New Chefs' Easiest Recipes
18 Smart Lessons from Chefs

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