Who doesn’t enjoy dining in a fancy restaurant and eating gourmet foods that taste and look incredible?

Whether you are wanting to impress guests at a dinner party or looking to make date night extra special, trying to replicate the same high standard of cooking at home might seem unachievable.

But, with a few tips from culinary genius Andrew Dixon, Head Chef Tutor at The Grand, York Cookery School, anyone with a little passion can turn out a dish worthy of a restaurant.

And, you don’t have to make a ridiculously complicated menu!

Check out his top tips and tricks below to take your home cooking to the next level…

What makes the difference between a standard meal and a gourmet meal?

When it comes to cooking gourmet meals yourself, the quality of ingredients make the biggest difference.

Great food does not need to be fancy; it just needs to be local, fresh, and vibrant then you can let the excellent produce speak for itself!

Can you share your most useful gourmet cooking tip?

My advice is to keep it simple and don’t overcomplicate your dishes to try avoid overpowering wonderful produce with unnecessary, strong flavours.

What is your secret ingredient?

My go-to secret ingredient when cooking gourmet meals are Jerusalem artichokes.

They are a massively underrated vegetable that can elevate any meal that incorporates either meat, fish or vegetables.

Simply roast them in their skins and then cook them in milk and herbs to create a smooth puree. Alternatively, you can transform them into a velvety rich soup.

What are your go-to seasonings?

When it comes to seasoning, I'm a huge believer in using fresh herbs as opposed to dried. My personal favourite herb to use is lemon verbena. It is amazing when incorporated into a fresh fish or shellfish dish.

My favourite spice has to be cumin seeds as their middle eastern origins create such a unique flavour that can be further intensified by simply toasting them before grinding.

One of my most tried and tested ways to use cumin is to fry it in Ghee until it is just starting to golden before spooning over a lentil dahl – just fantastic!

I also find that juice from citrus fruits makes a great addition to any meat or fish sauce.

What are some of the best ways to elevate a simple dish up to the next level?

Texture!

When thinking about the gourmet meal you are going to cook, you should always choose textures to compliment your food.

For example, if you are cooking a potato dish, rather than just having mashed potatoes, why not cook some crispy potatoes flavoured with rosemary and thyme instead.

How do you cook the perfect steak?

The key to cooking the perfect steak is by using the core temperature, rather than time per weight. It doesn’t matter how you like your steak; they all have a different core temperature.

  • Rare – 40°C
  • Medium rare – 45°C
  • Medium – 50°C
  • Well done – 60°C+

The best way to measure this is using a meat thermometer which will help you cook your steak to perfection.

If you don’t have a ThermoProbe thermometer in your life already, then you absolutely need one!

Once cooked, do not cover your steak, simply leave it to rest for a good ten minutes or so before serving.

Do you have any further tips for cooking gourmet meals at home?

I would always recommend pre-planning your gourmet meal in advance and prepare elements ahead of cooking.

Some things can be made in advance, rather than on the day.

You should enjoy your meal with your guests rather than slaving away in a hot kitchen. By preparing in advance, you’re able to reduce the amount of time spent cooking.

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