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Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies







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Chefs' Culinary Secrets & Cooking Philosophies | Rachael Ray, Leo Chun, Jeff Smith

Compiled by Vicki McClure Davidson




Cutlery image Rachael Ray

In 2008, was the highest paid US television chef with her TV cooking/talk show, 14 best-selling cookbooks (as of 2008), her own magazine in 2005 Every Day with Rachael Ray), and cookware endorsements. In 2007, Forbes Magazine estimated Ray's earnings for the year at $16 million. Garnered national attention from a 2001 segment on the Today show that aired during a blizzard; was signed to a $360,000 contract the next day by the Food Network. Nominated for Emmys for 30 Minute Meals and Rachael Ray. Known for her perkiness and big smile; famous trademark terms: "Yum-o!" and "EVOO" (for extra-virgin olive oil).


"Gran'pa Emmanuel filled his Sunday tables with big pots of pasta and sauce. The pastas that fill the menus of today's gourmet restaurants were to him simple, inexpensive dishes that could be made in great quantities for little or no money. At the end of the table, he would put out his own melons and a three-gallon tub of ice cream. He'd split the melons in half and fill each of the cantaloupe bowls with two scoops of vanilla. After the meal, all the children would follow Emmanuel as if he were the Pied Piper... Food is nostalgia. The smell of good, simple food can take you back to all the good times in your life and make you forget all the bad."

Extracted from: Ray, Rachael, 30-Minute Meals, Lake Isle Press, Inc., NY, 1999.


"Bruschetta, the Italian word for charred, is made by toasting bread under or over fire, then rubbing with cracked garlic and drizzling with olive oil. Crostini are Italian canapés, small toasts that may or may not contain garlic, traditionally with toppings."

Extracted from: Ray, Rachael, Rachael Ray's Open House Cookbook, Lake Isle Press, Inc., NY, 2000


"If fresh corn is in season, by all means cut the kernels from four fresh ears instead of using frozen."

"Tomatillos look like green tomatoes, but they're not. They are related to gooseberries and they are sour to taste."

"John, my sweetie, loves my wild mushroom risotto, which I used to make with a little brandy in it. John loves Johnny Walker like a brother, so I make his risotto with Scotch—more than a little, too. (Sadly for him, the alcohol cooks off. However, the smoky flavor left behind is great with the earthy mushrooms. To the wise: The better the Scotch, the deeper the effect.)"

Extracted from: Ray, Rachael, 365: No Repeats - A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners, A 30-Minute Meal Cookbook, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, NY, NY, 2005.


"Broths and stocks have come a long way in the last few years, not only with taste and consistency, but in packaging. They now come in re-sealable paper containers, which make storage of remaining product super-easy."

Extracted from: Ray, Rachael, Reader's Digest website, "Rachael Ray's Kitchen Shortcuts," (, November 2005.


"Getting kids involved in cooking won't just make them better eaters. It'll build their confidence and pride about contributing to the family."

Extracted from: Cicero, Karen, Parents magazine website, "Rachael Ray's Quick Dinners," (


Chef foods divider


Cutlery image Leo Chun

Kimono owner/chef, Birmingham, Alabama


"Skills, techniques, and ingredients are all important. But a chef must also love to cook. A skill can be learned. But the heart can never be learned... Cooking and seeing the smiling faces and hearing customers' comments brings me happiness."

Extracted from: Interview, website (


Chef foods divider


Cutlery image Jeff Smith

Acclaimed 1980s TV celebrity and chef known as "The Frugal Gourmet" and the shortened nickname "The Frug"; owner of Chaplain's Pantry in Tacoma, Washington, in the 1970s, was an ordained Protestant minister. His national television career took off when he appeared on the Phil Donahue Show; his popular TV show was the most watched cooking show in the US at the time. Author of a dozen successful cookbooks, including The Frugal Gourmet, The Frugal Gourmet Cooks with Wine, and The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American. Died in 2004.


"When I was a child during the Second World War, I remember my mother making vegetable soup, and it was during difficult times. How she loved soup, and as my interest in cooking increased, I began to pay more attention to what she put in the pot. I finally realized that what she was serving was "Synopsis Soup," a brief synopsis of the past week. Nothing was wasted, nor was it a leftover for long. Eventually, it wound up in the soup pot. I still love that kind of thing, and the thicker the better. I love soups so thick that you have to push on the spoon to get it to sink!"

"Fresh is best. Please see to it that you get the food you deserve. I know that sometimes you may have to rely on canned food, but please do it as seldom as possible. Fresh foods are much better for you, and they are certainly more enjoyable at table."

Extracted from: Smith, Jeff, The Frugal Gourmet Whole Family Cookbook, William Morrow & Company, NY, 1992.


"When cooking cranberries, be sure to use stainless steel, glass, or porcelain-covered cookware. Aluminum will discolor, due to the acid in the berries."

"I love corn on the cob and I like to have it year-round. I have had very good luck with this freezing method. Buy the freshest corn possible and do not remove any of the husk. Cover each ear in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil. Freeze it immediately and it seems to keep very well until the next season. Do not unwrap until the ear is defrosted. Then, cook as usual."

"Hint on keeping cut apples from turning brown: Prevent this problem by cutting the apples and immediately placing them in salt water or water in which you have placed a bit of lemon juice. The problem of browning is gone. This also works for pears."

"Be careful of the knife that looks modern or contemporary, but simply doesn't cut properly. I am conservative when it comes to knives because they are your most important kitchen tools. I choose the old standard French-style knives. When you purchase knives be sure to choose those that fit your hand and can be sharpened easily. The stainless-steel knives that you buy in the dime store or department store are generally difficult to work with because they are made to go into dishwashers. They are not made for cooks. Buy good knives that are made of high carbon steel, and then keep them sharp with a sharpening steel. Most will not stain."

Extracted from: Smith, Jeff. The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American, William Morrow and Company, Inc., NY, 1987.


"Scallops are expensive, so they should be treated with some class. But then, I suppose that every creature that gives his life for our table should be treated with class."

"Omit and substitute! That's how recipes should be written. Please don't ever get so hung up on published recipes that you forget that you can omit and substitute."

Extracted from: Bay Gourmet website, (


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