Top Chef Tips For Speedy Cooking

What was that? Another epic, sabotage-filled, chaotic, 15 minute cook-off has dropped on our channel? Sounds like business as usual then… And this time, it was Baz and Jamie in the hot seat! We must admit, their challenge was tough. The guys had to cook up an impressive meal from a pre-selected protein, fruit and herb provided by the food team. Of course, the food team carefully chose these items with a brief idea in mind of where the dishes could potentially go (but do things ever go to plan?!). Whilst the guys absolutely smashed it in the kitchen within their time limit, I was interested to see what Kush (head of food) would’ve done instead…

Jamie’s dish: A smoky, salmon and grapefruit pot pie with sweetcorn, tomato sauce and onions – served with an acidic creme fraiche on the side with chopped-up chives

Kush’s alternative: Quick, cured and sliced raw salmon and charred grapefruit with an olive oil and chive dressing

Barry’s dish: Chicken liver patty style sandwich, with avocado, pear halves, bacon and dill

Kush’s alternative: Sauteed Chicken livers on charred toast with a quick, pickled pear chutney and dill vinegar dressing.

I managed to pull Kush out of the kitchen for a few minutes (after recovering from my food tasting coma of the day) to get his top tips on speedy cooking. When time just isn’t on your side, there are plenty of tricks and hacks that we can nail to make us sweat less and satisfy our hungry bellies quicker. Let’s dive in and see what he’d recommend…

  1. Keep Your Ingredients Simple

Don’t overcomplicate your dish – just because you’ve used more ingredients, doesn’t necessarily mean your meal is going to taste better! Whilst Jamie managed to use all of his key ingredients in the pot pie, he definitely could’ve used more time to make sure all of his additions (e.g., tomato sauce, and sweetcorn) were used in the best possible way to complement one another.

  1. Cut Up Your Ingredients

This hack is super important in saving those precious minutes that you don’t have to spare! By cutting your ingredients up into small pieces, they will cook in half the time compared to when whole. Had Jamie sliced up his salmon, laid it out and grilled it instead, it would’ve cooked in half the time!

  1. Choose Your Equipment Wisely

Trust us when we say… the size of your pan makes all the difference! If you’re able to, try and swap out your frying pan for a saucepan – the larger surface area of the saucepan helps to speed up and even out the cooking process.

  1. Prep Beforehand

This sounds like a no-brainer, but in the heat of the moment, we can often forget to prep the small things beforehand which can make our lives so much easier later down the line! For example, preheat the oven, boil the kettle (this is way quicker than boiling water on the stove), or chop up ingredients that will be used later on. Going back to the battle, if Barry had set aside his seasonings at the start of his cooking process, he probably wouldn’t have had to taste test his chicken liver blend as frequently as he did!

  1. Don’t Be Afraid To Swap Things Out

Whilst we may be used to certain staple ingredients in our dishes, we might not have time to cook them up when we’re running late! Why not swap out pasta for udon noodles? Or whole onions for spring onions instead? These small but smart decisions will taste just as good and take half the time to cook/prep. Our most recent time-saving hack is swapping out the mashed potatoes in cottage pie for gnocchi – way more speedy and just as delicious!

We love sharing our speedy hacks and dishes with you so much that we’ve brought back our best-selling cookbook… And this time it’s ‘CBA with Rules’! With over 40 years of experience between the food team, they’ve learnt every rule of cooking… Including how to break them! Who said breakfast is just for mornings? Who said you need a kitchen to cook? We’ve cut back on time and effort, but ramped up the flavour for when you just can’t be arsed in the kitchen. Just a couple of our top picks include microwave dan dan noodles, instant vegan chocolate pudding, leek and kettle chip soup and crispy cheesy garlic bread crumpets!

All orders will ship from 1st November 2022, so guarantee your Cookbook PLUS tons of other items here

Also, we need to know… If you’ve watched the video, do you think the right person won the 15 minute battle? Let us know on IG or Twitter! To get your hands on tons of quick and flavourful recipes, download your free 30-day trial of the Sidekick app and head to the ‘Super Speedy’ category. With our biggest update so far, you can now choose from over 100+ Recipe Packs to satisfy every foodie craving imaginable. Make sure to let us know what you pick! 


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