Relax, Have Fun Cooking, Chef Advises

HOME chefs should feel comfortable in the kitchen, but many do not, says California-based chef Wolfgang Puck.

They don't spend enough time there, and then "all of a sudden you invite your boss or you invite a friend you want to impress to your house. You make something new you never made; it's a nightmare because you don't know," he says. "You're going to be so nervous, you're going to shake all night instead of feeling comfortable."

It's OK to try new dishes with people you know, people who are receptive. "But if you try to impress somebody, it's better to make something you've made already 100 times - but you don't have to tell them that," he says.

People should view cooking in a fun way, says Puck. Have a good time. "You have to have some adventure. You have to have a little spark.

"I stress that more than anything, because nobody will become a good cook if they don't want to go into the kitchen or they think, 'This is going to be just hard work and not fun.' People should not be worried." If they make a mistake, "then they just have to make it again and it's not that complicated.

"I don't think any cookbook in the world will change the world or the way they eat, but I think the more people learn about food ... about using good ingredients, the better it is for everybody.

"Especially it's very good for us restaurant owners and chefs," he adds, "because the more people understand about food, the better it is."

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