The winner of the sixth season of MasterChef USA and youngest judge of MasterChef Latino (Season Two), Chef Claudia Sandoval has always demonstrated her mastery of the kitchen by creating absolutely inspiring experiences through the taste of her food.
After the win master chef The legendary star chef published her bestselling cookbook back in 2015 Claudias Cocina: A taste of Mexicoand Jumpstart Claudia’s Cocina, her successful culinary consulting and catering company that works with major brands such as Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, T-Mobile and Tajín.
Chef Sandoval debuted her first solo travel food show, streamed on Discovery+ May 5 –taste of the limit. She took viewers on a journey down the US-Mexico border to explore often-overlooked border towns and discover the diverse and delicious food and vibrant culture of the underrated area.
As opportunities have always presented themselves, Chef Sandoval has always risen to the challenge and developed her individual tastes and talents. Luckily for us, she shared her personal cooking secrets with us Eat this, not that! so you can start honing your skills and maybe work your way up to their expert level one day!
continue reading 5 cooking secrets Head chef Claudia Sandoval swears by it and you too can cook like a MasterChef champion! For even more expert tips, take a look at 4 Cooking Secrets Celebrity Chef Aarón Sánchez Swears By.
When it comes to keeping tradition alive in her kitchen, Sandoval says, “You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’re coming from.” This applies to any food or dish that has a deep, contain rich culture. If you really understand where your recipes are coming from, you can still make them look like they came straight out of a cooking magazine without losing authenticity and immeasurable flavor.
“I might serve you something that looks totally modern and gorgeous and beautiful, but when you taste it, it’s going to taste like my grandmother’s chili rellenos,” explains the legendary chef. And: “If I can capture those flavors and that nostalgia in one bite, or even better, on one plate… I think that’s really the goal.”
She brings her personal experience of food tasting and old school recipes from her family to her kitchen in the present. This creates a kind of connection with food that can evoke memories of home once it hits your taste buds. Sandoval says to keep growing as a chef you have to remember: to move forward you have to look back.
In episode four of taste of the limit, Sandoval stopped in Monterrey (a major Mexican capital), where she visited the Sociedad Mexicana de Parrilleros—she describes it as a kind of “society of grill masters”—to learn about the city’s staple dish, “cabrito.” . It features an “infant goat that they stew and bake for a really, really long time,” she said, but the way they use the entire animal to create mind-blowing dishes took her breath away.
“They are Team no waste, just like me,” says Sandoval. “For some people, it’s like… I don’t want to eat all of the animal’s offal and all that,” she explains, but it’s not as weird or unsavory as it sounds. She says using every part of your food is imaginative and brings out extreme flavors that can take your dishes to a whole new level.
Sandoval may be able to work in rather extraordinary circumstances, but a dirty kitchen will never allow her. Working in a clean kitchen is high on her list as a chef in the kitchen! Her bowls and utensils need to be close at hand so she doesn’t have to do the dishes while she’s busy creating a culinary masterpiece.
Being able to “move around the kitchen and around the room also helps,” says Sandoval. When your cooking space is free, there are endless possibilities for what you can create in it.
If you want to stay well-prepared in the kitchen, MasterChef Star recommends chopping, slicing, blending, marinating, and portioning everything you prepare before turning up the heat. Preparing your food before actually cooking it can prevent you from stopping and starting excessively while you’re running around the kitchen looking for what you need at the moment.
After the stove is on, timing is everything. But once you have your ingredients prepped and on hand, Sandoval suggests, “You can focus on what you’re actually cooking. Instead of trying to hack fast enough to get to the next step in time.”
What at first might seem like a simple rule of thumb is a rampant enemy if not taken seriously. Nobody wants burnt, sour garlic or meat that’s so dry you have to drown it in sauce. That’s why “you need to know what medium-low heat on your stovetop is,” explains the celebrity chef. Knowing what high and low heat looks like on your stovetop can help you cook according to your needs.
Even when she’s learning or teaching new recipes, she says, “My high isn’t your high, or my medium low isn’t your medium low.” However, since your heat affects everything you cook in the kitchen, it’s extreme important to get to know your equipment. Whether your stovetop is gas, induction, or electric, learning how to use temperature to your advantage will turn your food golden! (perhaps literally?)
For more celebrity picks, see 5 Healthy Eating Habits Daphne Oz Lives By.
Jordan Summers-Marcouillier was born and raised in San Jose, California and is now a writer based in New York, NY. Continue reading