Five Tricks to Cook Like a Chef on a Budget

17 Mar

This article from Bon Appetit came up in a conversation last night with Alexis, so I thought I’d share with everyone! Hope you find it as useful as I did: Tricks to Cook like a Chef on a Budget1/ Shop Like a Chef: Hit the local farmers’ market. Buy vegetables with roots and leaves attached—they are good indicators of freshness, and you can use the greens (see No. 4)— as well as flavor-packed herbs for quick vinaigrettes and for salsa verde, the king of all condiments.

2/ Embrace Fat: Splurge on good sausage (chorizo, saucisson sec, etc.), bacon, European-style butter, and a few good oils. They add unparalleled texture and a layer of flavor that’s filling and satisfying, meaning you’ll eat less. Buy a really nice bottle of extra-virgin olive oil (you get what you pay for), and use it only to finish dishes—it’s mind-boggling how much flavor stellar oil adds.

3/ Savor Salt: Salt is the most important ingredient in your kitchen. You’ll find salt-packed capers and anchovies, good Parmigiano-Reggiano, and fish sauce in just about every award-winning kitchen in the world. Make them your staples, too.

4/ Cook Like a Peasant: I’d argue that the world’s best dishes (ribollita, ratatouille, bi bim bap) were born out of poverty and make the most of very little—a concept that will help solve your cash-strapped college-kid dilemma. The two dishes I turn to most often and encourage you to master are risotto and frittatas. As long as you have rice or eggs on hand, you can make a delicious but inexpensive meal.

5/ Choose Cheap Cuts: Select the cuts of meat that most people think they don’t like. Brined, roasted chicken thighs and legs are a frugal chef’s best friends. Instead of pricey pork tenderloin, get a pork shoulder. Flank steaks fajitas.


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