Simple mistake most home cooks make
The biggest mistake home cooks make isn't turning the hob temperature up too high (though we're probably doing that too).
It's actually not doing not enough of it, which makes it so much harder when we do. It's a vicious cycle.
That's according to Adam Liaw, who knows a little something about putting together a delectable meal. And he's going to do it 200 times in his new series The Cook Up with Adam Liaw, which starts this week on SBS Food.
"We're not cooking enough," Liaw tells news.com.au. "Because if you walk into a kitchen and go 'OK, now I'm going to cook something' and then you go and get a recipe and go 'O'm going to follow this recipe', it's actually a really inefficient way of cooking.
"But if you're cooking four or seven times a week, then you always have something to work off. You've got the stock from the roast chicken on Sunday that you can turn into a soup on Monday, and that's a five-minute process. But if you come home and decide you're going to make chicken soup, then you're talking hours and hours.
"People get into their own heads a bit about cooking, and there's so much pressure to cook new things and so much pressure to cook fancy food.
"If you went to somebody who has never made spaghetti bolognese before and said, 'here's a recipe for it', they go, 'hang on a second, there are 12 ingredients in here, they've got to be chopped up, go on the stove and cook for an hour and a half'. Something as simple as spaghetti bolognese looks really intimidating.
"But most of us will walk into a kitchen and make spaghetti bolognese without even pulling up a recipe. If you look at it objectively, it's probably relatively difficult and relatively time consuming. But if we can be comfortable making something like that, it's about as difficult as it needs to get with food. Everything else is easier than that.
"We just get into our own heads thinking everything is difficult."
The idea is the more you do something, the less intimidating it is and the more we'll do it.
"The first time I made laksa from scratch, it took me eight hours, but the last time I made laksa, it was like 75 minutes," Liaw shared of his own experiences.
Sounds simple enough but Australians have poured money into food delivery services, which saw a growth of 81.1 per cent between 2015 and 2020, according to IBISWorld.
Liaw wants us to get out of our own heads and get back to basics, which is great news for time-poor professionals for whom the idea of spending an hour in the kitchen after getting home from work is the last thing they want to do.
But great home cooking doesn't have to take time, and that's one of the selling points of The Cook Up, where every recipe is under 10 minutes. Maybe not 10 minutes at first, but it will be once you know your way around it.
With The Cook Up, Liaw wants to celebrate home cooking, something he says five million households are doing every night in Australia, but which doesn't get the attention it deserves.
"There are many other food shows that present food in different ways and that's totally OK because good is a lot of different things. But what The Cook Up does is complete the conversation around food," Liaw says.
"What we haven't seen a lot of is just ordinary people doing ordinary things. When people watch The Cook Up, what they'll see reflected back is the kind of food that they are either already cooking at home or giving them new ideas for how to expand that.
"My goal is that the show becomes part of the furniture for them, the thing that they put on in the background when they're having dinner and every time they watch it, they take away a tip or an idea. Maybe not a full recipe or just a 'Oh, I didn't know you could do that'."
With 200 episodes - and more than 170 already filmed - The Cook Up is SBS's biggest commission, a confident commitment to a format and personal brand.
SBS and Liaw has had a long partnership and he's already made several series with the network including the Destination Flavour series which saw Liaw trot the globe in Japan, Singapore, China, Scandinavia and more.
A year ago, in his Sydney studio, Liaw and SBS commissioning editor for food Josh Martin, conceived of The Cook Up, initially as a 10-episode series. But it soon grew to 50 episodes, before ballooning to 200.
There's a lot of mileage in the format, which invites two different guests each instalment, ranging from professional chefs such as Colin Fassnidge, TV presenters such as Mark Fennell and CWA ladies. The variety of guests feeds straight into The Cook Up's ethos of accessibility and simplicity.
"When you see how many different things people cook at home, and obviously I have my own style of things that I cook, but then yesterday we had a Lebanese mother and daughter on, and they were showing the kind of food that they would have for a regular dinner.
"It was so completely different to me but when you see someone cooking it as if it's as easy as breathing, then it doesn't look hard anymore. They're dishes I would look at in restaurants and go, 'that's amazing', and then you see someone make it in 25 minutes.
"I never thought that would be so easy, but I've seen it happen right in front of me."
The Cook Up is on SBS Food on weeknights at 7pm and 10pm
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Originally published as Simple mistake most home cooks make