19 Celebrity Chefs & Food Bloggers Give Their Top Cooking Tips

Whether you're just starting out your professional training, or are trying your hand at home, it can seem like a long, hard road to mastering the skills of the kitchen. It can take years of practice, mentorship and making mistakes to learn the lessons you need to hone your craft.

So to speed up the process, and hopefully help you avoid a few of those mistakes, we've spoken to experienced chefs and food professionals, asking them the question:

What tips would you share with novice chefs looking for advice?

Let us know in the comments your own tips - you never know who you might inspire! And remember, for high-quality chef uniforms, chef shoes, chef knives, aprons, and kitchen utensils, check out the huge range available at Nisbets.

Ron Duprat

Well-seasoned executive chef, food activist and top past competitor on Bravo TV’s Top Chef. → www.ronduprat.com

Follow Ron on Twitter @TopChefRon and Facebook

  • Be Tranquil. Take time to master your craft, don’t be in a hurry.
  • Be Inclined. To explore and have an open mind.
  • Be Importunate. Be a go-getter.

Stephanie Manley

Cookbook author and founder of popular food blog CopyKat.

Follow Stephanie on Twitter @copykatrecipes

  • Always use a sharp knife. They cut better and they will help you save time, and in the case of onions, tears.
  • Practice cutting with your knife. You can practice on things like carrots and onions, and use those items for stock later. With practice, you will get the hang of it and become a wizard in cutting in no time.
  • Learn how to sharpen your own knives. You will save time, money, and always have a perfectly sharp blade.

Gabriele Corcos

Creator, host and producer of Extra Virgin on Cooking Channel/Food Network. Bestselling author of Extra Virgin and owner of The Tuscan Gun.

Follow Gabriele on Twitter @TheTuscanGun and Instagram @thetuscangun

  • Always keep it fun and interesting for yourself so you won’t hate the job… so far it’s been the most demanding I’ve had in my life.
  • A cook needs also to be a gracious host, feeding people has to be an act of kindness, impressing with good plating is not enough.
  • Learn to market yourself, be able to tell your story and find in it motivation to share it and mentor younger people. Delegate everything but not communication.

Ryan Opaz

Former chef and founder of Spanish and Portuguese wine, food and culture tours, Catavino.

Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryanopaz and @Catavino

I’ve been a chef twice, both times all that mattered was Obsession.

  • Obsess about your work.
  • Obsess about your ingredients.
  • Obsess about your customers' satisfaction.

Tonia Buxton

Presenter and Producer of The Discovery Channels’ award winning series My Greek Kitchen & My Cypriot Kitchen. Author of Eat Greek for a Week & Real Greek Cookbook www.toniabuxton.co.uk

Follow Tonia on Twitter @ToniaBuxton and Instagram @toniabuxton

  • Always try to keep calm and trust your instincts.
  • If in doubt, chuck it out and start again. I learnt this one the hard way when I gave myself food poisoning!
  • Always buy the best you can afford. If you start with good produce & ingredients, it's hard to go wrong.

Brian Duffy

Experienced chef, restaurant consultant and regular TV and radio feature. → www.chefbrianduffy.com

Follow Brian on Twitter @Chefbriduff and Instagram @chefbriduff

  • Be humble and ask questions. Realise that this is a business of creativity and egos, teaching and learning... The chef that you are working for should not only embrace your questions as a "Green" culinarian, that chef should also be spending time with you, teaching you the steps or processes of what they do.
  • Work with the front of the house. Don't be a yeller or a screamer and do not exclude the FOH staff from what you do. The more knowledgeable your FOH staff are for the guests, the smoother your shifts run, which is better for everybody!
  • Being a chef is not just about how you cook. This is a business in which we need to make money. Don't just rely on your skills as a cook, you need to understand the financials of this business. From inventory to ordering to recipe costing to labour and liquor costs, spend the time to learn this, it's imperative for your success as a chef.
  • Educate. Work with your staff. Sitting in an office or walking around with a clipboard is not being a chef. Get on the line and work directly with a cook every day, teach them the proper way to set up their station, teach them the way that you, the chef, wants this to happen, and show the cook the proper way to plate every dish on that station.

Kathleen Flinn

Award-winning author, journalist and trained cook, her second book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, lead to her founding cookfearless.com.

Follow Kathleen on Twitter @katflinn

  • Get a decent chef's knife and learn how to use it. Becoming confident prepping ingredients, particularly vegetables, had a huge impact on both the frequency with how often people cooked, and the pleasure they derived from cooking. Many avocational cooking schools provide knife skills classes, but you can also get a quick and dirty lesson for free from me.
  • Learn some basic techniques. Gaining confidence with a few recipes can make a big difference in your enthusiasm to tackle more cooking. Learning to make a vinaigrette or the basics of making soup proved very important to the volunteers in my project. Those are both flexible techniques that you can use every day or week, and both will save you money and help you avoid wasting food.
  • Don't be hard on yourself. No one is going to come into your kitchen and tell you to pack up your knives and go home. If a dish doesn't turn out, don't worry. You'll make another one tomorrow.

Amy Sherman

Cookbook author, food writer and recipe developer. Founder of top food blog, Cooking with Amy.

Follow Amy on Twitter @cookingwithamy and Instagram @cookingwithamy

  • Label everything. Use a sharpie and tape or a label maker to clearly label and date items in the refrigerator and freezer. If you can with fruits or vegetables, put a date on the label too. Homemade preserves have a shelf life of 1-2 years maximum.
  • Keep your knives sharp. Invest in a knife sharpener or take your knives to be professionally sharpened on a regular basis, at least every six months. This will improve your skills and your safety.
  • Taste as you go. When seasoning food, taste, add seasonings, taste again. You can always add more seasonings, but if you over season it can be hard to fix. Before serving always taste one last time to make any final adjustments.

Simon Wood

Champion of MasterChef UK 2015, head chef at The Boardroom and author of At Home With Simon Wood. → www.simonwoodcooks.com

Follow Simon on Twitter @SimonJWoodUK

  • Believe in your ability and push yourself and your boundaries, learn from anyone and anywhere.
  • Never be afraid to try something new, you might fall flat on your face but get up and do it again until you do it right.
  • Finally, practice, practice and practice some more... And then when you’re sick and tired of it… Practice again!

Jenny Morris

AKA The Giggling Gourmet - celebrity chef, cookbook author, radio show host and Food Network TV host. → www.gigglinggourmet.com

Follow Jenny on Twitter @JennyMorrisChef

  • Keep it simple, fresh and seasonal.
  • Be committed to your job.
  • Have an adventurous palette.
  • Always believe in your passion.

Catherine Gill

Vegan chef & founder of lifestyle blog The Dirty Vegan.

Follow Catherine on Twitter @theDirtyVegan

  • Don't be a know it all! Learn all you can from the pros and be humble about it.
  • Cook and create with your heart and soul... Your creations will always be fabulous!
  • Keep your ear to the streets! Keep up with the latest food and lifestyle trends so you produce food that people will like.

Greg Reilly

Experienced executive chef and founder of food show On The Road Eats.

Follow Greg on Twitter @OnTheRoadEats

  • Free Your Mind! I always teach that there is no right or wrong way to a recipe. Of course you need to be up to temp with your meat and watch those cooking times. But free your mind and make any recipe your own. Recipes are a guide to start, so let your creative side come out and make it better! Take my Hummus, you can go the traditional recipe route and that is great, but what if we added some Chipotle Pepper or Jalapeno, or my new fave Curry Hummus. The sky is the limit when creating your recipes!
  • Taste, Taste, Taste! When I travel the world as a chef, I try everything and anything I can get my hands on. From the local markets in Israel to going to my friends home in Naples, Italy and tasting good old fashioned cooking. You would be surprised the different tastes, flavours and ideas you can get from just walking in a market and tasting! When you go shopping at your local market, try something new every time.
  • Use The Right Tools! Have a good knife set, cutting boards, and pots, pans and skillets. This will help you in the kitchen to save time, have fun and cook like an executive Chef!

Rachel Rappaport

Cookbook author, recipe developer & founder of award winning food blog Coconut & Lime.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @coconutlime and Instagram @coconutlimeblog

  • Use oven mitts, not tea towels!
  • Sharpen your knives.
  • Taste as you go.

Taylor Kiser

Healthy recipe developer, personal trainer, and founder of the blog Food Faith Fitness.

Follow Taylor on Twitter @foodfaithfit and Instagram @foodfaithfit

  • Don't be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone and experiment with flavours you don't usually cook. That's how I found a lot of my favourite foods!
  • A good set of quality knives is KEY to success. I absolutely LOVE ceramic knives!
  • When making a recipe from a cookbook/online always make it exactly as written first, so you know what it's supposed to taste like. Then, feel free to make it again and put your own spin on it!

Justin Bonello

Owner of Cooked in Africa Films, author and host of BBC Food’s Cooked. → www.justinbonello.com

Follow Justin on Twitter @Justin_Bonello

  • Without great ingredients, you can never cook great food. Know where your produce comes from. How it was farmed. That it’s ethically produced. Make sure it’s seasonal. Then, you can always cook with a clean conscience.
  • Contrary to popular belief, the knife is not a chef’s most important tool, the spoon is. Always taste your food!
  • There are no bad cooks, just friends who aren’t hungry enough!

Jackie Cameron

Owner of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. Author of Jackie Cameron Cooks At Home & Baking With Jackie Cameron.

Follow Jackie on Twitter @jackie_cameron

  • Put your head down and work extremely hard to improve your skills every minute of every day.
  • Steel with your eyes and ears and be open to anything that you can learn from… keep your arms open for opportunities.
  • Work under a fabulous chef-stay and show loyalty and integrity – this industry is very small.

Alexandra Stafford

Recipe developer, author of Bread Toast Crumbs and founder of highly recognised blog Alexandra’s Kitchen.

Follow Alexandra on Twitter @alexandracooks and Instagram @alexandracooks

  • Master the basics first. A simple salad dressing, a simple loaf of bread, roasting a chicken, roasting vegetables, etc. before attempting more complicated endeavours. Often the simplest recipes and preparations are the best and the ones you will return to again and again.
  • A favourite cookbook for novices (and experienced cooks, too, actually): Twelve Recipes by Cal Peternell. Two other classics: Chez Panisse Vegetables and The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.
  • Explore your local farmers' markets. Familiarise yourself with cooking seasonally as much as you can. It sounds cliché, but in-season and local produce tastes better and requires less work/preparation because it's so good on its own.

Doug from The Kitchen Professor

Kitchen enthusiast and founder of the The Kitchen Professor.

  • Don't be afraid to make mistakes. A lot of people I talk to say, "I can't cook. It never turns out right." Well, most of the time it’s because they didn't try to make the dish again a second and third time. The first time I made pulled pork, it was terrible! Tough. Dry. Unpleasant. After a few more tries, I got it! Now, I can make pulled pork without a thought. Cooking is like any other skill and takes practice. If you're afraid to try again, then you won't benefit from your experience. I know I learn more from mistakes, and a lot of other people feel the same way. So if there is a dish that you’re trying to conquer, you should keep at it!
  • Use great, fresh ingredients. If you are using great ingredients, then your meals stand a better chance of being great themselves. Don't skimp by trying to use cheaper and lesser quality foods. For example, I used to get the cheapest steaks at the market and they were just okay. Now, I get the Prime grade and it turns out excellent every time.
  • Get great knives. I never knew the difference that great knives could make, and most people are the same way. I couldn't understand how the chefs on TV were able to cut so fast. After I got a new high quality knife, I could experience what I was missing. Most of the knives that I used up to that point were terrible, dull blades. And even if I used a great knife it was rarely sharpened or honed on a regular basis. Once you get your good knives be sure to sharpen them on a regular basis. I actually like to get knives one at a time to build the exact set I want – I use my chef's knife and paring knife about 95% of the time. However, there are some excellent knife sets on the market if you prefer to buy a set.

Jed Sneddon

Internationally trained chef and owner of Magic Mouthfuls.

  • Be passionate! Being a chef is not just a job, it's a lifestyle. If you don't love your job you won't enjoy it!
  • Don't be afraid to ask lots of questions. The more you ask the more you will learn, and you will never stop learning.
  • Learn the basics. You need to learn to walk before you can run, read the Larousse Gastronomique, and when you've finished it, read it again!

Bonus Tips!

Karen Kelly

Owner of Australian Food Award winning gluten-free pudding shop Pud For All Seasons, gourmet recipe developer and food blogger.

Follow Karen on Twitter @PudForAllSeason

  • Always read the whole recipe before you start. This will give you an understanding of what processes are involved and what order they need to be done in.
  • For baking it is important to weigh and measure ingredients accurately. Baking is a science.
  • Use your common sense and don't be afraid to experiment when you have the time. What have you got to lose!

Got tips? Share them below!

You Might Also Like