“No one’s born a good cook. You have to learn and practice.”
Learning Cooking + Baking Techniques
There are lots of resources that have helped me develop my knowledge of cooking techniques and my personal cooking frame of reference - this list is constantly growing! Most of my technical knowledge comes from reading cookbooks cover-to-cover (see below). I've also learned a lot from watching TV shows like Barefoot Contessa, Salt Fat Acid Heat, Chopped, The Great British Bake Off, and Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home. I also learned a lot from watching my family members cook as I was growing up, showing up at college and having to figure out how to cook for myself when I didn't like the dining hall food, and taking some Chinese cooking classes when I studied abroad in Yunnan, China. Instagram and TikTok are great resources as well. Some of my favorite people to learn from on social media are Nancy Birtwhistle and Chef Jon Kung.
Finally, yes, I used to watch every single video the Bon Appetit Test Kitchen put out and I learned a great deal from them. However, in light of Conde Nast's refusal to fairly compensate BIPOC staff members and address racism and toxicity in their workplace culture, I support the chefs who left the test kitchen video world in their new video ventures: Sohla El-Waylly, Rick Martinez, and Priya Krishna
Although I don't like to completely follow recipes, I love browsing cookbooks and websites for recipe inspiration and to learn about different kinds of dishes and flavor combinations. (And let's face it, sometimes you do need to find a recipe and just follow it.)
You can learn a lot from chefs' and cooks' memoirs and food journalism.
My Reading List
Next up on my agenda. What else should I add?