A very reductive way to look at cooking is to consider it as just following instructions which it pretty much is. However, building a house is just following instructions and performing open heart surgery can be boiled down to just following instructions. The point is that cooking is actually really hard to be good at.

If you’ve ever watched Masterchef, you’ll know that taste and imagination play a big part in perfecting your skills at an amateur chef. However, you need to become adept with the basics first, otherwise you’ll become one of those mediocre chefs that Gordon Ramsay is always yelling at…

In a piece on Reddit, the chefs of the world let us all know what the common mistakes we all make cooking. These are the tips and tricks everyone should probably know about cooking and don’t:

How much salt?

The basic rule of cooking meat is that it always needs seasoning, even if it is just salt and pepper. However, it’s hard to know how much salt to use sometimes. The rule of thumb, according to chefs, is that if your food smells great and tastes bland, it needs more salt. You should also salt your meat or water before cooking it to let the sodium melt into the flavour.

Food safety is a temperature, not a colour

Pink meat does not necessarily mean that it’s raw and pink juice isn’t blood, it’s protein-laden liquid. A meat thermometer will be able to tell you whether your meat is cooked or not. In fact, cross contamination is more likely to give you food poisoning than a bit of pink in your steak or salmon.

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A sharp knife is a safe knife

There’s a true kinship between a chef and his or her knife. A sharp knife will result in less slips and even less dismemberments.

Study your recipes, don’t just read them

“If you’re using a recipe, read it all the way through carefully a few times before you start cooking. Missing a line like ‘let sit overnight’ is the difference between eating tonight and ordering a pizza”.

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Aloe vera lotion

It’s not very good as a seasoning but the more ambitious you get in the kitchen the higher the chance you’re going to burn yourself. All the pro chefs keep a bottle of aloe vera lotion in the fridge for when you scold yourself but need to keep focussing on the assembly line!