Become a chef. Start at day 1

Hosted by Jan Nevejans
Group active since Sat, Oct 27, 2012

Follow me to learn how to be a chef! Daily updates! Starting at DAY 1! :-)

Jan Nevejans
Oct 30, 2012

DAY 4: Types of pots and pans

Hi, normally these pages are only for subscribed members but I will make an exception here :-)

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Jan Nevejans
Oct 29, 2012

First pages of my very own eBook.

I would love to paste them here, but I think the layout of them will trouble you in reading them. So check it out at

and come back here to tell me how you liked it! :-)

Jan Nevejans
Oct 29, 2012

DAY 3 : Sauce tips

Most people who haven’t studied culinary arts regard to saucemaking as a science. Yes, the basis of great french cuisine are complex sauces, but this is changing, chef’s today are constantly looking for lighter and more easily prepared sauces.

So with some basic knowledge you can make perfect sauces at home too! This is because every sauce can be traced back to there mother sauces. If you learn these you will have the ability and confidence you need to make excellent sauces like a real chef! And trust me, saucemaking can become the most rewarding part of your kitchen. So don’t give it up just yet!

It doesn’t matter what sauce you make, the most important thingto remember is that your sauce complements and enhances the flavor of the dish it accommpanies. This also means it can’t overpower or be overpowered by it! I know it sounds complicated now but we will figure it out together!

First I want to start with some basic techniques that you will use a lot when making sauces. Whisking is a process that allows the liquid to aerate and gain lightness by literally whisking in air! When doing this, have in mind that this will only work with sauces that contain egg yolks or cream. White sauces are also whisked to create a smooth and glossy result.

When making sauces, a lot of people tend to overlook to skim there sauce. It is not a good idea to ignore the recipe on this step!
Skimming will remove foam, impurities and fat that otherwise would have spoiled the flavor and appearance of your sauce. It can be done while boiling with a skimmer or ladle. (Brown) sauces left to chill can be skimmed with a spoon when the fat becomes firm.

Straining or seaving or for a lot of sauces a necessary step to have a smooth sauce as an endresult. When you want the last bit of liquid out of your ingredients (this is not always a good idea due to color or taste) you
can press up and down with a ladle to press the liquid out.

Reducing sauces (rapidly boiling to evaporate excess liquid) is a great way to make tastefull sauces, this is because when the
volume decreases the sauce will become more extracted. But when doing this you have to watch out for salt! Because a little bit of salt for lets say a big pot of stock will mean a lot of salt for a reduced stock! So that’s why we never add salty ingredients too
stocks. Stock will thicken your sauce when reduced because of the natural thickeners that were in the bones that you used to
prepare them, so thickening your stock isn’t a good idea eather because it can be too much quickly!

Clarifying butter is also a little bit like reducing, when butter is heated softly, the milk solids separate themself from the fat. Then we have to

skim off the foam and spoon the fat out with a ladle. This fat can withstand higher temperatures then normal butter and is also used for egg-based sauces like hollandaise sauces. Clarified butter contains a 100%
fat so be aware it’s not too healthy, but there are a lot of alternatives! Deglazing is a process that you will need a lot when making sauces. It is done by adding water, stock orwine to the pan that you used to roast or fry your meat, poultry, vegetables or game. The boiling liquid will remove the caramelized paricles and add them and there taste to your liquid. This will add a depth to your sauce that wouldn’t be possible to optain by just boiling it.

Jan Nevejans
Oct 28, 2012

Day 2 : Kitchen tools and equipments

Cooking utensils

Yes these are basic kitchen tools, but what would you do without them!?

You will definitely need some whisks. I suggest you get a few of them, because having the right size for the job will make cooking a lot easier! They are available in stainless steel, but silicone whisks will work just fine. In fact I prefer them for some tasks! And they are silent if you don’t want to make too much noise while using them.

Spatulas/rubber scrapers come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, colors and materials! This is a matter of personal opinion but be aware that you should have at least one that will
not scratch your delicate surfaces!

Also turners/spatulas are basic kitchen
supplies but you will need more than just one! This is because turning over a pancake won’t work as well with the small turner you use for turning over fried eggs. I prefer slotted ones but I also use a flexible stainless steel one that we had to use at school! Old habits die hard I guess. There are also nylon ones, they are cheaper but
can’t withstand heat that well.

As far as ladles go, there are only two kinds I like to use, stainless steel ladles without
hooks and with hooks. Obviously you’ll need some different sizes.

One of the things I use a lot are locking
tongs, they are very practical for turning
meat or fish without damaging them. So
invest in a proper one and you won’t
regret it!

Lesson from

Jan Nevejans
Oct 27, 2012

DAY 1 : Types of kitchen knives

Tirst chapter is dedicated to the most common kitchen knives you can need to create
most of the recipes available. I like to think of knives as the heart of a chef’s recipes, so that’s why it comes first.

The first knife I had was a paring knife , some of you will know it as a vegetable knife. Office knife is also a term often used, obviously from the French name. I had my first one when I was 6, my mom was a cook, and so was my grandmother. So I got my first knife soon! It's a good knife to start getting some feeling for knives, and is used for many things. From splitting cucumber and vanilla beans to scoring duck!

There are many different kinds of paring knives but I won’t go too much into detail on that. The two most used types are the spear-point and the flat-cut paring knives. Also the Japanese paring knife is popular but it’s a matter of what you’re used too.

The chef’s knife is the most versatile knife to have in your kitchen! We use our heavy duty chef’s knives a lot to quickly chop herbs and vegetables or to crush garlic-toes. It's heavy for easier handling is big enough to cut ingredients from limes to watermelons.

I didn't realize how useful a bread knife was because I wasn't used to working with it. But
for a lot of ingredients, this serrated knife will make your life easier! Instead of trying to cut through something and crushing it in the meantime, try using this knife! Ideal for bread, tomatoes,...

Another very useful knife around the kitchen is a ham knife, it has a very nice flat cut. Perfect for thin slicing of smoked meat and fish, like salmon for example. For me, a ham knife should have a round point, but this is not always the case, and is a matter of taste.

I also want to talk a little bit about Japanese knives. A Nakiri/Nikiri is one of my favorites here. It is perfect for cutting thin slices of veggies with almost a square surface.

A Santoku is also very well known, santoku’s translation is “3 purposes”. And they are right because this is a very good knife for
all-round use! They used to be sharpened on only 1 side! But this is mostly not done anymore. I actually really like the ones
with POM handles best. I know it’s plastic. But it just fits great into your hand!

Then you also have Deba and Sashimi knives. Deba is a knife for cutting through bones
(like our kitchen-axe) and Sashimi is used in the preparation of sushi.

A sharp knife is safer than a bold one! Not only for your fingers but also for your products! Your dishes will look more professional when you use sharp knives! That’s why I recommend getting a honing/sharpening steel or a knife sharpener. The important thing to remember here is that whatever tool you want to use, it has to be stronger than your knives, so for professional knives we use diamond honing steels or diamond sharpeners, guaranteed it’s stronger than any knife!