Cooking from home: How to start

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) Millions of Americans have been asked to stay at home as much as possible, and many restaurants have been closed because of the novel coronavirus. This means many of us are cooking at home, and some for the first time.

Sean Walklin will be teaching us about how to learn to cook from home. This week he talks about where to start. (John Dougherty/KTVF)

What should you do if you are needing to cook but don’t know where to start. "The first thing you should do is think about what the people that you are cooking for like, what are some things that they are interested in eating, some things that they are comfortable with and start there,” said Sean Walklin, assistant professor at the UAF CTC culinary arts and hospitality program.

He said that this is the perfect time to start cooking at home or improve your cooking skills. "You can start really simple. You don't have to go all the way out to complex recipes from cookbooks. You can take something that is simple and comfortable to you and take it one step further. Add something fresh to it, cook it a little bit differently, season it a little bit differently... really take that first step into cooking something new," Walklin said.

He said one thing you can do is go to the store, find an ingredient you have never cooked with before, take it home and then try to learn something to cook. If you like it, he said to keep trying new things with it. If you don’t like the ingredient, he said to go pick something else to try.

Walklin said to not be afraid to make mistakes. He said to just learn from the mistakes and try again. "So if you try something new or try something and it's your first time cooking, and you burn it or something goes wrong, you just have to think about what you were doing. Maybe reread the instructions, take your time a little bit next time, and just think about what went wrong and where did it go wrong," Walklin said.

If you need ideas, Walklin recommends the internet. He said that Instagram is a great place to start as there are lots of chefs sharing their recipes and even doing live cooking demos. He also recommends free websites like Smitten Kitchen and Serious Eats.

He said that even though bookstores are closed, you can still order cook books online.

Some of the books Walklin recommends are:

- Momofuku by David Chang: He says it is a great book to start learning Asian cuisine.
- The Mozza Cookbook by Nancy Silverton: Walklin said he used that book to teach Italian cooking.
- Tartine Bread by Chad Roberston: “Sourdough breads and bread making is really popular right now… it’s a good modern bread making book,” Walklin said.
- Heritage by Sean Brock: “There is some basic stuff in here but if you want to take it to the next step in your home cooking, this is a good one to work with.”
- Ad Hoc at Home by Thomas Keller: Walklin says this is his favorite book by his favorite chef. He says the book is designed for home cooks.

Walklin will be talking with us next week about how to stay safe and keep your workspace clean next week as we continue to explore cooking from home.
Copyright 2020 KTVF. All rights reserved.