Nine Tips to Boost Your Confidence in the Kitchen

Does the sight of spatulas, chef’s knives and graters cause your fear, anxiety and doubt? You’re not alone. Whether you have zero experience cooking, or you’ve cooked in the past, but the past was a long, long time ago, cooking need not be scary. Cooking, like any other skill, can be learned. After all, no one is born a top chef, and even they must train for years to perfect their skills…you just need to make a healthy and tasty dinner.

Our nine simple tips will save you from a life of takeout and microwave dinners (and the hit to your wallet and health that comes with them) by banishing your insecurities and boosting your confidence:

2. Get equipped without breaking the bank.

Stocking your kitchen with the basic equipment needed to cook can be daunting and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. To get started without the stress, skip the high-end home stores and make a bee-line for discount stores, which sell perfectly functional, basic cooking equipment. Most offer good quality for low (or lower) prices, and with fewer brands to choose from, you won’t be paralyzed by indecision from too much choice. As you gain confidence and learn what you like to cook, you can upgrade (if needed) the equipment that makes the most sense.

2. Reading comprehension.

If you get halfway through a recipe and realize you’re missing an ingredient or parchment paper, or you don’t know how to blanch something, things aren’t likely to go too well. By reading the whole recipe a few times before you start, you’ll be able to prepare yourself literally, and mentally, for what’s to come. You may even want to measure and prepare everything in advance and put all of the food and materials on your counter top before you start, so you can focus on the steps in the recipe instead of trying to prep food and multitask while cooking. To feel extra confident, write out the recipe in your own words — tedious, yes, but it can be a useful tool for helping you internalize the steps.

3. Time…is on your side.

Cooking in a rush is stressful, no matter how seasoned a chef you are. You’re bound to get stuck at various points during the process, so whether you’re new to cooking or just out of practice, overestimate the amount of time you think you’ll need you so you can enjoy yourself.

4. Take it easy.

One of the best ways to boost your confidence is to succeed. One of the best ways to succeed is to choose a simple recipe. Complicated recipes found in cookbooks and on food blogs may look delicious but are often harder than they appear. Start with easy dishes with ingredients that aren’t costly, and gradually work your way up to fancier and more complicated ones as your skills improve.

5. Group therapy.

For some, cooking is a solo activity — an expression of their creativity or their “me time” when they relax. But for others, inviting friends and family to participate transforms cooking from simply a task into quality time spent together, in addition to adding moral support and extra helping hands.

6. Scratch starting from scratch.

When you’re starting out, it’s ok to start with prepared foods as your base. For example, jarred pasta sauce, or frozen vegetables, or even left-over white rice from last night’s Chinese takeaway can save you time and steps the first time you make a dish. Each subsequent time you make the same dish, you can make more elements of the dish from scratch.

7. Practice makes perfect.

If the first time you make something it’s edible, congratulations, it’s a success. The first time you make something — or even the second or third time you make it — don’t expect restaurant quality. We all want perfection, but it’s important to remind yourself that you’re learning, or re-learning, an actual skill, which takes time to do. Give yourself a break and note what went right and wrong — and adjust next time.

8. Try, try again.

Choose three recipes that you truly look forward to cooking, and eating, and make them over and over again. Once you’ve mastered them, you can start experimenting with each to see what you like and don’t like. Play with the seasoning, or the sauce, or swap out the protein and voila, you’re on your way to making up recipes of your own.

9. Learn from the best.

Experimentation is great, but only once you have some idea of how ingredients and quantities work together. Learn recipe terms. Watch cooking videos. Find cookbooks and magazines that cater to beginners. Watch and follow step-by-step videos on YouTube. There’s an abundance of information available these days that makes overcoming cooking FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) easier than ever before.

Wherever you’re starting from, you can get better at cooking, and as you do, your confidence will improve. With home delivery of fresh vegetables and protein, it’s never been easier or more appealing to eat in for dinner.

Try this great Teriyaki stir-fry recipe and see how you can master cooking in your kitchen!