KEEP YOUR KNIVES SHARP
"Take your knives to a professional knife sharpener once a year. Knife sharpening is a skill that takes time to develop. Most home cooks don't have enough practice time (frequency) to hone those skills, but can maintain the knife's edge once it is sharp. If you have knives sharpened once a year by a professional, you will have a leg up. Sharp knives minimize accidents and help show off basic knife skills." -- Chef Tony Nogales, assistant professor of culinary arts
USE THE THREE ELEMENTS
"You need three elements to balance a dish: salt, acid, and fat. I always finish a grilled steak with a squeeze of citrus like lemon or orange. This adds the needed acidity and brightens the flavor of the meat." -- Tim Love, Lonesome Dove (Dallas, AF&WF chef)
CLEAN AS YOU WORK
"One of my most important tips for a less-experienced cook is to clean as you work. When you leave your workspace a mess with leftover ingredients, trash, etc., you tend to forget what it is that you're working on and it's more of a challenge to move forward. Clean up as you go, and you can focus more on the dish in front of you rather than the clutter around you!" -- Richard Blais, The Spence (Atlanta, AF&WF chef)
Dan Gentile is a staff writer on Thrillist's national food and drink team. He is the proud owner of one small pouch of very fancy salt. Follow him to well-seasoned tweets at @Dannosphere.