Abby Hocking

From cooking fish evenly to leaving butter out of the fridge, here are 26 key pieces of wisdom we'll be using all year.

F&W Editors
June 20, 2018

Between the panels, the parties and the tastings, it's easy to think the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is all fun and games. Well, it is all fun, but it's full of very useful information, too. In its 36th year, the festival this past weekend was one for the ages, featuring one of the most exciting classes of Best New Chefs in history, some deeply heartfelt moments and a whole host of interesting seminars with chefs the likes of Jacques Pepin showing off their skills to an intimate group of attendees. We rounded up some of our favorite pieces of wisdom from the weekend that will carry us through until next year/

  1. "Fish sauce is the magic touch to everything in life." — Stephanie Izard
     
  2. To make sure fish cooks evenly, use a fish spatula and set it under the tail, to make sure it doesn’t get too burned. — Ludo Lefebvre
     
  3. When measuring out sticky things like corn syrup or honey, dip the measuring spoon in flour or cornstarch first and it will slide right out. — Alex Guarnaschelli
     
  4. Instead of garnishing with herbs and juice from a lemon separately, combine lemon juice and herbs like parsley so that the herbs actually carry the lemon flavor. — Andrew Zimmern

Abby Hocking


 

  • Use room-temp lemons for juicing, and just use your hands, no cute presses or reamers necessary. Just hold the cut side upright toward your palm and squeeze! The seeds will stay in the rind. — Alex Guarnaschelli
     
  • "You should keep kimchi in your fridge regularly." — Stephanie Izard
     
  • To achieve restaurant quality pasta, add flour to your pasta water if you're just cooking just one batch. — Joe Flamm
     
  • If you don't have a meat thermometer, test the temperature of chicken with a dinner fork. Stick it into the deepest point, wait 30 seconds, and touch it to your lip. —Jonathan Waxman
     
  • When browning meat, “If you have to ask yourself ‘is that brown?’ then it’s not.” — Anne Burrell

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  • To avoid "grey steak syndrome," only use half the grill, so that you can move the meat around and put it in the hot zone every few minutes. — Tim Love
     
  • Always buy wine by the magnum, "because wineries know that magnums are purchased by serious wine collectors." — Sommelier Bobby Stuckey
     
  • "Salmon is the type of fish you should be kind of picky about." — Stephanie Izard
     
  • Make brown butter in a batch, and keep it in the refrigerator to use all week. — Ludo Lefebvre

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  • "Always use chicken thighs for meatballs. Never breast meat—it's way too dry." — Carmen Quagliata
     
  • A substitute for soy sauce? "Salt." — Ming Tsai 
     
  • Add a little sugar to vegetables, like blanched or sauteed asparagus, to brighten up their flavor when they're not quite as ripe. — Alex Guarnaschelli

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  • Stay within the ballpark of $15-$25 for the best value on a bottle of wine. — Master Sommelier and Whole Foods wine buyer Devon Broglie
     
  • "It’s so much better to leave your butter out of the fridge. We just take it and put it in a quart container and put it on top of the stove where the dog can’t get it." — Stephanie Izard
     
  • If you don't already know, the best way to peel a tomato is with a box grater. — Andrew Zimmern
     
  • Cook pasta 50/50 in the pot and in the pan. — Joe Flamm
     
  • If someone is hesitant about eating uni, make uni butter by putting it in a blender and puréeing it with garlic and chiles. Just try saying no to that. — Marcus Samuelsson. 
     
  • Use dehydrated cheese, like blue cheese, as a seasoning for steak to ramp up the umami factor. — Richard Blais
     
  • "We use fennel in all of our stocks instead of celery." — Stephanie Izard
     
  • To tell if an egg is fully cooked, spin it on the countertop. If it spins like a top, then it's cooked, but if it wobbles or doesn't turn, it's still raw. — Jacques Pepin

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  • "Don't overlook all five of your senses when it comes to cooking. The one that gets overlooked the most is sound." — Andrew Zimmern
     
  • Sorrel is an herb you can get acidity from. Sometimes you want to add brightness without using citrus or a vinaigrette." — Stephanie Izard