Have you ever wondered why it takes one person half a day to prepare a meal while it takes only an hour for another to prepare the exact meal? Chef Andrew Manoto shares with us tips for less stress and saving time in the kitchen.
Currently a chef lecturer at Hotel School Mafikeng, Manoto attributes planning, being organised, preparation and keeping a clean working station as essential strategies for spending less time in the kitchen. “Know what you are going to cook, so that you can defrost your food on time. Peel your vegetables in advance so that they are ready in the morning”. “Know your kitchen very well, where you put everything. In the industry we use the term clean as you go. Meaning that every time you must clean as you work”, he says. Undoubtedly, most of us consider these as minor details but they can make a big difference if implemented.
The chef enlightens us that when you start cooking, particularly stew, there is no moisture, so it is important to cover the pot. However, when you realise that the stew is cooked and there is still excess water inside, you should simmer the stew, leaving an open lid in order to reduce the moisture. He swears that following this process will improve the quality of the taste while also thickening the stew. Letting the rabbit out of the hat, he asserts that “not allowing the moisture to escape is the reason why most pots burn at the bottom”.
The passionate chef dismisses the perception that cooking on maximum heat makes the food cook faster, as high heat hardens the food. He advises that it is better to simmer the food or cook on moderate heat even for stubborn dishes such as tribe.
Manoto who has over eighteen years of experience in the industry also shares few hygiene practices. He cautions against defrosting food outside of the refrigerator. “When you defrost in the sink or water you are losing nutrients and lowering the quality of the food”. “You might also develop food borne diseases, reason being that the food temperature will drop. It is very risky to expose food to room temperature for prolonged hours”, explains the chef. He suggests that the correct way of defrosting is to take food from the freezer and put in the fridge for the required time.
Written: 05 February 2018 Updated: 21 February 2020