Why 10 Kitchen Tricks Set the Best Restaurants Apart

We all have our go-to quick tricks for our own kitchens at home – á la last minute dicing onions and shredding carrots a little bit faster. But when you step inside the kitchen of a restaurant, you’ll notice things rarely go down the same way in the typical home kitchen.

That’s because professional chefs and cooks have different criteria to adhere to. And sure, they have stack-loads of experience up their sleeves, but there are also 10 classic kitchen tricks that they can turn to over and over again to get the job done right. In this post, we’ll explore the tried-and-true kitchen tricks that help set restaurant menus apart from what you see in the home.

Using the Right Ingredients

As any great chef knows, the secret to creating delicious meals lies in selecting the right ingredients. Even the best recipes cannot make up for poor-quality ingredients. The best restaurants not only take advantage of local and seasonal ingredients, but they also invest in buying the finest quality ingredients available. Even something as simple as high-quality butter and olive oil will make all the difference in the finished dish.

Understanding Magnificent Marriages & Complimentary Flavors

At the best restaurants, chefs understand that certain flavors can be combined to create sublime combinations. Knowing which flavors “marry” well with each other, such as walnuts and blue cheese, is the difference between a restaurant that is good and a 5-star establishment. Similarly, knowing which flavors to use to enhance one another and create a more complex flavor profile, such as the classic pairing of garlic and tomatoes, is yet another way the best chefs make sure that their dishes stand out from the rest.

Balancing Acid, Sweet, Salty & Savory

When it comes to cooking, balance is key. It is not enough for a dish to have only bold and overpowering flavors, it must balance all of the elements (sweet, salty, savory, and acid) in harmony. Experienced chefs know how to adjust their recipes to account for any of these ingredients, creating flavorful dishes that have a nuanced flavor profile. This level of finesse is really what sets excellent chefs apart.

Using Herbs & Spices Properly

Using herbs and spices is an essential part of creating flavorful dishes, but it can be a bit of an art. Overusing some of these ingredients can lead to an overly strong flavor that does not pair well with other ingredients. Knowing when and how much to use of certain herbs and spices is a skill that the best chefs have mastered. They know how to subtly layer spices and herbs in their recipes to create amazing flavor profiles.

Understanding Specific Techniques for Specific Ingredients

In addition to the correct choice and use of herbs and spices, the best chefs understand how to prepare ingredients and which techniques work best for specific ingredients. Temperature control, for example, is critical when preparing some ingredients, such as eggs and seafood. Cooking eggs in a custard requires the chef to heat the mixture slowly over low heat, while seafood has to be cooked very quickly over high heat to ensure that it retains its delicate texture and flavor. Knowing how to handle the ingredients and how to adjust the techniques used to cook them is one of the key components of a great restaurant.

Delivering Texture & Color to Dishes

Great chefs understand the visual and textural qualities of dishes. They know that dishes do not just have to taste amazing, they must look appealing as well. Textures and colors must be balanced with each other, with certain textures providing a contrast to other elements on the plate. For example, combining creamy pieces of cheese with crunchy vegetables adds a pleasing contrast of flavors and textures to the dish, while adding colorful vegetables like peppers can bring out the flavor of the other ingredients.

Carving and Cutting for Detail

At the best restaurants, the chefs put extra detail into carving and cutting many of the ingredients for the dishes. From finely-diced vegetables to intricate carvings of fruits and vegetables, presentation is a critical factor in ensuring that a dish looks and tastes amazing. Carving and cutting takes skill and practice, but it makes a big difference, and it sets a restaurant apart from its competitors.

Searing & Sauces

The best chefs excel at creating exquisite sauces that enhance the flavor of their dishes. While it is important to get the right balance of acid, sweetness, and saltiness in the sauce, creating an alluring aroma and flavor that pairs well with the dish is crucial. Similarly, when cooking proteins such as steak, being able to quickly sear the meat to perfection and retain its juiciness is the difference between a good restaurant and a great one.

Making Use of Local & Seasonal Ingredients

Using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients is yet another way great restaurants make themselves stand out from the rest. By taking advantage of what nature gives them, they are able to create dishes with a far more unique and flavorful twist. This provides customers with variety, and it is often cheaper for the restaurant since they do not have to pay for expensive imported ingredients.


Creating delicious and enticing dishes requires knowledge, skill, and time. The best restaurants in the world are able to stand out because of the skill and attention to detail that their chefs and staff invest in each dish. From selecting the best ingredients to knowing which flavors to combine, to utilizing the right techniques and making use of local and seasonal ingredients, these simple kitchen tricks are what make the difference between an average restaurant and a truly exceptional one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Kitchen Tricks?

Kitchen tricks are simply cooking techniques and methods that help you work smarter and quicker in the kitchen—or set your recipes apart from the rest. When performed correctly, kitchen tricks help you spend less time working, and more time enjoying the delicious meal you’ve prepared.

What are the top 10 Kitchen tricks?

The top 10 kitchen tricks include: grilling quickly & efficiently; cooking with steam; create a double boiler; shredding cheese; boiling eggs properly; cutting kitchen time; poaching eggs; make your won flavored water; preparing sauces & soups; and oven-baked fish.

How do I use these tricks to become a better chef?

By practicing and mastering the basics of kitchen tricks, you will become a better chef. You can learn more about the basics with our blog post, 10 Kitchen Tricks to Set the Best Restaurants Apart. With practice and understanding of the techniques, you will have more control and confidence in the kitchen.

What is the benefit of mastering kitchen tricks?

Mastery of kitchen tricks will enable you to work more quickly and efficiently, while also increasing your overall confidence in the kitchen. You can also use these tricks to create unique dishes that will set you apart from the rest.

What additional resources are available on kitchen tricks?

There are a variety of resources available on kitchen tricks, including blogs, recipes, and instructional videos. Our blog, 10 Kitchen Tricks to Set the Best Restaurants Apart, covers the basics of kitchen tricks that are essential to creating great dishes. Other resources, such as recipe sites, instructional videos, and books are also available.

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