Cooking Tips From A Top Chef
Brent Savage opened Bentley Restaurant & Bar in Sydney’s Surry Hills in 2006 and since then it has won every award under the sun. Brent himself was named a Sydney Morning Herald ‘chef of the year’ for his exciting take on contemporary Australian cuisine. The Bentley is one of my favourite restaurants and while preparing some of his signature dishes at last week’s Cuisine Now food event shared some cooking tips for the home cook.
Most cooks season meat before cooking but the best way to season meat like beef or lamb is to sprinkle it lightly with salt before cooking, during cooking and after it comes off the heat. This way it will be properly seasoned. Always let meat rest after cooking otherwise the meat will be tough.
How to make roast garlic or garlic confit
Roast garlic or garlic confit (garlic cooked in oil) is so useful – you can make sauces with it, flavour gravies, pasta, and it’s delicious on it’s own.
For roast garlic: roast a few cloves still in their skin and drizzled with a little olive oil in a 200C oven for about 20 minutes. The garlic should slip out of their skins and mash easily with a fork.
For garlic confit, cover a few peeled cloves of garlic in olive oil in a small pan and cook for about 20 minutes on the lowest heat. Don’t throw away the tasty oil, use it to fry eggs or stir-fries, add to salads and pasta, and it keeps for a few days cover in the fridge.
Don’t spend a fortune on lamb
We all love lamb but the price has skyrocketed lately. Brent recommends the cheaper cut of lamb rump instead of lamb fillet or lamb chops as it has the best flavour of all cuts of lamb.
Brent loves his Thermomix, the all-in-one cooking machine that is much-loved in Europe but little known in Australia. They are expensive ($1950) but because it does everything it can replace all your other kitchen machines and gadgets, plus it’s small so doesn’t take up much room on the bench. It’s only sold through consultants so google to find your nearest one.
Make your own water bath
All the top chefs cook fish and meat in a water bath, which results in a really delicate texture. Professional water baths cost thousands but you can do it for free. To cook a small fillet of fish, place each individual portion with a drizzle of oil in a airtight plastic bag (if you have a Foodsaver, perfect!). Seal shut, then place in the sink with the hottest tap water turn on. Keep the water trickling so the water in the sink always stays at its maximum heat. Cook for 6-8 minutes and the fish will be cooked through.
What’s your best cooking tip?