Cooking 101: Season Food like a Top Chef!

How to Season Food Like a Chef: Cooking 101

Hey, c’mon in!

Today at the cafe I have one of my favorite seasoning tips for you! It’s one I learned from a chef and what I like most is…it makes you feel like a Top Chef when you use it!

Let me ask you a question. When a recipe calls for “¼ tsp of black pepper”, do you reach for a measuring spoon or simply gauge it?

Measuring is certainly the fail-safe way but it does feel more “top-chef-like” when you add black pepper with a few casual turns of a pepper mill. The question is, if you don’t measure how do you know if you’re adding too little pepper, or worse, too much?

Here’s the simple technique I was taught. It looks like you’re gauging but is as fail-safe as measuring!

Step 1: Buy a Pepper Mill

For this method you’ll need to buy (or find) a pepper mill and fill it with whole black peppercorns.

Pepper mill with black peppercorns

The pepper mill doesn’t have to be fancy. You can buy them at the supermarket or dollar store. Some even come with the peppercorns already in them.

Step 2: Count as You Turn

Once you have your pepper mill filled with black peppercorns, the first thing to season is your cutting board (or you can use a bowl).

How to season like a top chef: Step #2

As you turn the pepper mill, count the number of turns it takes to produce enough fresh ground black pepper to fill a ¼ teaspoon.

How to season food like a chep: Step #3
Scoop up the ground pepper, measure with a measuring spoon and adjust the number you counted if necessary. I turned my pepper mill 20 times and it was a little more than a ¼ teaspoon. So I’d say 15 times is about right for the pepper mill I’m using.

Step 3: Remember the Number of Turns

How to Season Food at College like a Top Chef

Black pepper is a common ingredient in many recipes, so if you cook often, it’ll be easy to remember the number of turns you counted. If you cook occasionally, place a small piece of tape at the bottom of your pepper mill with the number written on it so you don’t forget.

Next time a recipe calls for “¼ teaspoon black pepper” you’ll know exactly how many times to turn your pepper mill. And with some basic math, you can easily adjust the number of turns if the recipe calls for more (or less) black pepper. No measuring spoon required and you’ll look like a Top Chef in the process (bonus if you’re date is watching you cook)! Cheers! 

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