These 5 Genius Cooking Hacks Will Take Your Meal to the Next Level

These 5 Genius Cooking Hacks Will Take Your Meal to the Next Level

This season on #LastChanceKitchen, the Cheftestants displayed their best kitchen hacks.

By John Brandi
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As the competition comes to a boil on Top Chef, another eliminated Chefstestant vies for a spot back into the competition on Last Chance Kitchen. As the finish line comes into sight, the pressure mounts between the chefs. Second chances are hard to come by and even the slightest slipup can send a chef packing. This season was tougher than ever and the best hacks were used to create delicious dishes.

The hacks seen on Last Chance Kitchen can have you cooking like a pro!

1. Salt Your Meat

Pepper, too! These two spices are not your enemy and should be used throughout the dish's creation. Chef Casey, when pitted against friend and also former finalist Chef Brooke, could be seen salting her cod before she sent it to the steamer. It looks like this chef had the right idea, and Epicurious, a recipe website, doesn't think you're actually salting enough! One article on the matter suggests using it throughout preparation to coax out flavor, which draws the water out of the food--vegetables, pasta, chicken--and replaces it with the food's own natural flavors. Salt that water while boiling pasta, lay some down when kneading dough, throw a pinch on some chicken pre-oven, a la salt bae. Spices are encouraged, otherwise a last minute sprinkle of seasoning tastes great, but usually reveals a dry and bland dish. Will this approach send Chef Casey back to Top Chef?

2. Shave Your Vegetables

As weird as this might sound, Chef Brooke showed us the light when she let her cabbage and chard have it. Shaving your vegetables create these thin and easy to eat pieces great for salads, or in Last Chance Kitchen, in a sauté. Though the Cheftestant used a mandolin, Food52 reveals four ways to do some shaving without: either with a vegetable peeler, a cheese planer, a food processor's thin blade or a good old fashioned knife.

3. This Icy Hack Helps with Texture

If salad's not your thing, taking your shaved carrots, radishes or cucumbers and soaking them in ice water, another reveal from Chef Brooke, can create a crispier vegetable. Though, that's not all. Epicurious shares that plunging vegetables and eggs into an ice bath after cooking can help the skin and shell peel off much easier, can keep shrimp cocktail from getting rubbery and return your herbs back to life. But will her technique secure her a spot back into Top Chef?

4. Compress for Flavor

Normally, we wouldn't dream of pairing steak with peaches. However, the Cheftestants are introducing the world to a harmony of science and savory sensations. Chef Casey, a finalist on Top Chef season 3, is not playing it safe this time around. On the finale of Last Chance Kitchen, the chef paired her seared strip steak with spicy rub, crispy potatoes, collard greens and charizo with pickled peach. Yes, peaches. She took the fruit and compressed it and Feast Magazine says that compression removes the air between the cell walls in foods, creating more flavor in less space. The peach element takes on a gelatinous consistency, bursting with flavor and moisture.

5. Using Utensils Before Even Taking a Bite

This just might be a first! Top Chef throughout the years has brought creative displays and methods unique to the cheftestants. Well on the Last Chance Kitchen finale we just saw a hack that can be added to the history book. Chef Casey, preparing that same piece of strip steak, had to make sure it was breathing on both sides after it was seared from the pan. So she placed the meat on top of a spoon to leverage it in the air. Chef Jamie Lynch, off of a winning streak on Last Chance Kitchen, explained to a fellow eliminated contestant that this was to ensure the meat had proper ventilation. Searing steaks are known to require high heat, so to ventilate the meat eliminates the worry of setting off the fire alarm.

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