Cooking know how – Online courses

Want to create some amazing food? Do something you have never done before? It might be my inner scientist acting, but whenever I embarque on such a mission I usually jump to the ‘theory’ first. That is: learn more about it! And luckily, there’s plenty of great ways to get the knowledge you need! But it can be quite hard to find it in the middle of all the low-quality, false, or nonsense ‘knowledge’ out there…

Online there's plenty of cooking know how - such as ChefStepsOnline there’s plenty of cooking know how – such as on ChefSteps (here a snapshot from their website) which is a great resource for unconventional recipes and techniques.

So, I want to share some resources I find very usefull. Needless to say that there will be many many more so feel free to share some more!. Let’s start with:

Online cooking lessons

Many might instantaneously think of … yes… ‘youtube’. And I agree that there’s a lot of good tutorials and videos on cooking and other food related stuff. Unfortunately the largest fraction of the movies are very crappy and most (not all!) focus on lower level cooking stuff. If you can’t stand any more plain, endless collections of recipes (of varying originalty and quality), online cooking schools can be an relief.
Online cooking schools will usually ask for some type of course fees, but they often offer free test courses. And in return they (should) offer more consitent higher quality learning material. The fact that those schools are more about courses than simply about recipes allows a much more method-based way to learn how to cook1. What I found particularly usefull was that the ‘how’ to cook this and that is frequently complemented by a fair amount of the ‘why’ that is.

  • America’s Test Kitchen
    America’s test kitchen is known for systematically testing kitchen myths and recipes with a clear focus on home cooks. They publish books and magazines.
  • Rouxbe Cooking School
    This was a bit of a random pick among all those online cooking schools. Some time ago I took some of their basic courses and lectures and generally like the quality of the material. I was also very happy with the fact that they offer a number of vegetarian/vegan (aka. ‘plant-based’) cooking courses and lessons2 .

Beyond classic home cooking

Apparently more and more people that are willing to spend much of their free time and money on fancy cooking tools and modernist cooking tools. So, no suprise, there are also great resources for high-end food tools, techniques…

  • ChefSteps
    ChefSteps is really an increadibly pretty source of cooking videos, recipes. It further offers plenty of details on all kind of fancy or nerdy cooking techniques or other foodie obsessions. Be careful: it’s mouth-watering!
  • MolecularRecipes
    Careful, this is basically an online shop. But it also offers plenty of recipes and tipps on issues with moderninst cuisine and modernist ingredients. I still don’t get the term ‘molecular’ in this context, but anyway…

Next I’ll also list some sources I really love a lot: food podcasts!

  1. I am -obviously- not a trained professional cook. But I do cook about every day. When I started to get more immersed with food and hence with cooking as well, I was shocked how little I actually knew about some basic techniques or ingredients. Somehow, most of the time I just learned to cook this or that recipe but not much about key cooking techniques, knife skills, etc… weird. []
  2. I took their ‘Plant-based cooking: Level 1′ course and found it quite nice. Except maybe for some parts on their ‘whole food philosophy’ which I thought were overdone and didn’t necessarily belong into this course. []

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