Starting with the essentials of cooking, from safety to salt, you will gradually develop a practical repertoire of go-to meals, including a few more advanced dishes to make on special occasions.
Chef Skills Tracker
(1) Learn and practice the basics of cooking, including: a) food safety, b) knife skills, c) caring for equipment, and d) the principles of salt, fat, acid, and heat.
There are many cooking resources available—cookbooks, online recipes, online videos, etc. If you favor a particular type of cuisine, consider learning the basics of that cuisine as part of this step.
(2) Find recipes for, and practice preparing, 5 meals you would eat on a regular basis.
To come up with reliable staple meals, choose dishes with inexpensive ingredients, and favor those that have fewer steps or quick assembly, like one-pot dishes, soups, or sheet-pan dinners.
(3) Learn and practice making 3 dishes or ingredients “from scratch,” such as a dough, dessert, sauce, or soup stock.
Choose dishes and ingredients that will have a stronger flavor, contain fewer preservatives, or better fit your dietary restrictions when made from scratch.
(4) Learn and practice two “special occasion” dishes. At least one dish must be an appetizer, side dish, or dessert.
Special occasion dishes could be a date-night dessert, a house-warming party homemade pizza, or a slow-cooker stew for a potluck—anything you would be proud to master and share as part of a celebration or gathering.
(5) Plan and prepare a dinner for 2-6 people consisting of at least three different dishes. At least one of those dishes should be made from scratch.
One of the greatest joys of cooking is sharing what you make with others. Consider any dietary restrictions of your loved ones when choosing these dishes.
You can also download the skills tracker as a printable .PDF here.
Resources to Get You Started
Getting Your Badge
You can find the chef badge here.