Chris Morocco’s Top 10 Cooking Rules

This month, we’re doing a mini series on our podcast. Each of the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen editors will be sharing their top 10 cooking rules: the techniques they swear by, the ingredients they can’t live without, and the mindsets that keep them going. This week: the super taster of the Test Kitchen, Chris Morocco.

1. You don’t have to follow a recipe

Not even ours. It breaks my heart to say that, because obviously I write them, and I think I do a pretty good job of it. But if something is going on in your kitchen, and that recipe is about to go off a cliff, don’t cook it off the cliff. You know what’s happening in your own kitchen better than I do.

2. Invest in decent cookware

One $80 skillet is better than a $100 13-piece set that has nine things you don’t need. P.S. They count the lids when they tally up those numbers.

3. If cooking isn’t fun for you, then do whatever it takes to make it fun

Pour yourself a glass of wine, put on music, have a late ’90s action-comedy movie going in the background. Whatever. Just get yourself set up to enjoy it.

4. A cake tester is essential, just not for cake

I use one to check the doneness of everything from fish to vegetables. The point on it is duller than a paring knife, so you get a much better feel for how finished something actually is. Oh yeah, and when it comes to cake, a toothpick is the move. The rougher surface is more likely to show you what the crumb inside looks like.

No sad vinegar here.

Photo by Chelsie Craig

5. Fresh citrus is better than average vinegar, any day

You are so much better off using fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice in your dressings, on your roasted vegetables, on anything where you want to bump up the acidity.

6. Keep a set of chopsticks around

Yes, we already did an entire podcast dedicated to just this topic, but chopsticks are truly so essential. They are more nimble than tongs, they won’t scratch up your nonstick cookware, you can grab that fallen green bean out of the crevice of your burner, fish a piece of toast out of your toaster, and so much more.

7. Don’t let anyone else tell you what delicious is

It’s ok that Adam isn’t into anchovies. We can still give him shit for it, but at a certain point you have to let go.

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