After he shared his thoughts on molecular gastronomy and the Next Iron Chef, Ming Tsai got to cooking at the Food and Wine and Rum festival in Barbados. He made three dishes, tuna Nicoise, pasta with pork and broccoli, and mussels, from his new cookbook, Simply Ming One-Pot Meals, while sharing a plethora of food knowledge with the small crowd. To learn Ming's advice on how to become a better home cook and more adventurous eater, keep reading.
- When traveling, Tsai seeks out restaurants that are full of locals. "If you want to go to a good Chinese restaurant, go to one that's filled with Chinese people. That way you'll know the food is authentic."
- Season protein — everything from tuna to chicken — very generously with salt and pepper. "You can only season the outside of a piece of meat. That's just 10 percent of what you are going to eat, so season it enough to flavor the other 90 percent."
- To elevate your meals at home, consider the plating. "Make the dishes look pretty. You eat with your eyes first." Also, food and wine taste good together, so take the time to pair each dish with a different wine.
- When cooking with mussels or clams, give slightly open mollusks a tap on the counter. If it slowly closes up, it's alive, but if it doesn't move, it's dead and should be discarded.
- To add richness and depth to a dish, finish the sauce with a couple small pats of butter.
- Remember "all cookbooks are not gospel." Use recipes as a guide and don't be afraid to adapt the techniques or ingredients.
- For effortless chopping, Tsai recommends ceramic knives and bamboo cutting boards.
Have you learned anything from watching the Ming Tsai's television show? Share your tips with us below!