a study guide for cooks

As a cook, home or pro, it can be hard to think about what you wanna make. Brainstorming on note pads, or experimenting in the kitchen will tune up your techniques. However, learning the vegetable families will give you a well ordered concept of ingredients, sharpening the edge on all of your cooking knowledge.

About nine years ago, while on a deep internet dive, I came across a chart of the vegetable families in all its Latin splendor. I proceeded to spend some time getting familiar with it. …

Plus, I Hope You’re Getting The Real Stuff!

This is for you curd nerds, and cheese lovers especially. Although, this one should be of interest to all. Having taste is about diversity, and a sense of context after all!

Pecorino Romano is a grating cheese made from goat’s milk. Preferred over parmesan in Italy, it makes up over one fifth of their total cheese production. It’s a winter-spring cheese; cool and damp, younger, and can lock down gamey flavors with its dank, nutty musk. It likes venison, lamb, dried fruit, and robust wines — as well it does solo acts in pasta noodle dishes.

Parmesano Reggiano, on the…

Why to munch this troll snack

Our taste buds can belligerently chase tasty treats. Bitter foods can act as our ally to sober up our eating habits.


Before we’re all buried in empty potato chip bags, candy wrappers, and beer cans. Something save us?

Of course, says the spectrum-red radish!

It’s a perfect vehicle of tasty crunchy bitterness to cleanses the palette of memories of indulgence.

I’ve also realized that the spicy mustard you receive a small dish of in Chinese restaurants functions in a similar way as well. Rather than going down the slippery slope of gobbling up sweet, salty, glazed, and fried American…

Plus a Recipe for Seafood Salad

Magoro — Tuna

Zuke — Marinated

I’d like to mention that there are countless cool tricks in the Japanese culinary lexicon, making it a fair match with the French school of cooking. These two cuisines are so wonderfully diverse, that I’ve spent ten years delving into them — while also cranking out dishes as a chef de parti.

So let’s delve into this one, shall we?

This two-day Ahi Tuna preparation is marinated, patted dry, then seared. You can use it as a refined component with a ton of sweet, savory, and umami flavor.

Applications include; sashimi, sushi, small fish…

Bernade — A French Technique

The Stove: by Author

Bernades make for luxurious mouthfeel and deeply satisfying dishes. To practice this technique, simply combine stock and butter to a pan in roughly equal parts. Add to this liquid either: seafood, pasta, gnocchi, beans, brussels sprouts, etc.

How it Works

As you cook something in your bernade, three things are happening simultaneously; the water evaporates from the liquid in the pan, the sauce is forming and the food is cooking.

Cooking Time

How long it takes for the sauce to form is the amount of time you have to cook the food — though you can add a touch more stock to lengthen the cooking…

Balsamic Reduction & Other Gastriques

Boiling Balsamic Glaze on the Stove; by Author

Gastriques are some of the biggest flavor blasters in cooking. They’re applied to the pan or onto the grill as a finish for meats, poultry, fish, and seafood. By coating the cooked food with this sweet, sour, and often piquant sauce the dish is greatly amplified.

Making A Balsamic Reduction Glaze:

Gastriques are vinegars boiled down with sugar or fruit juice until reaching a thickened viscosity. Balsamic Vinegar has enough sugar in it to create a glaze without the added sugar although there are some recipes that include it.

Directions To Make:

In a small sauce pot on medium high heat: Take 1pt. balsamic vinegar & reduce it…

Learn how to cook Lomo Saltado

Photo courtesy of Panca restaurant, NY

The cooks, waiters, and staff at the Peruvian restaurant speak of their cuisine like a cool best friend that everybody knows. They’re very familial with each other, and covetous of their kitchens preparations. “This dish is for poor people, we all grew up eating it” describes most dishes on the menu, but today, the Ropa Viejo isn’t made with pounded bottom round, rather a pricy loin cut. Just another deliciously prepared dish on the menu filled with unique flavor & deliciously prepared. Today, I’d like to highlight a personal favorite that’s been compared to the Cajun etouffe: Lomo Saltado.

Preparing Lomo Saltado


Welcome to A-5 Wagyu

5lb muscle of A-5; at my jobsite, 2018

You’ve had a good steak, but have you tried A-5? — it’s truly remarkable. The balanced dispersion of fat, the quality and quantity of fat. It creates a texture that truly makes for an elevated bite, redefining what steak would taste like in a perfect world.

A-5 is the top quality of wagyu beef. Produced in Japan, only a small amount of it is allowed to be exported.

Back when I worked at the Japanese spot, us cooks would get tossed the A-5 scraps at the end of service. It sold at forty bucks an ounce, and when we saw…

An Ancient Japanese Technique Revamped in The 90's — And A Recipe

Miso Bass with Pea Shoots, by Author

Historically, in Japan, fresh fish was kept in miso paste mixed with sake lees to help it keep. This created a highly flavored, roast fish dish which made up a significant part of the Japanese diet. This tradition inspired chef Nobu in the 1990’s to develop his modern pro method, which has pizazz & shining appeal.

Spending months on a steam station in a Japanese restaurant (the steam station being nick-named the sticky station for its use of soy-sugar reductions), I, myself learned this miso glazing technique.

Currently, I’ve made my own recipe at home, and have found it just…

Nicholas Hayward

Gourmet articles ranging from; ingredients, techniques, dishes, stories, chef highlights, and investigations. I’m an experienced professional cook in NYC.

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