No experience, no problem: How to get started as a kitchen beginner 

If you’ve never been in charge of cooking meals before, being in the kitchen for the first time can feel somewhat intimidating. If you’ve got the additional issue of someone berating you for your mistakes, the harsh criticism can put you off wanting to try ever again. But since you cannot live a healthy life by just eating takeout meals and instant soups, it’s crucial that you learn how to cook. It’s not only about the nutrition itself since cooking lets you unleash your creativity and can even be a bonding experience if you enjoy cooking your meals alongside someone else or sharing your meals. On top of that, there’s just something that feels truly rewarding about making something with your own hands and then enjoying it later. 

With that in mind, let’s have a look at some of the tips that will truly reveal your hidden passion for cooking. 

The kitchen 

As any artist, the objects you use for your craft matter quite a lot. You must have enough space at your disposal to cook without the risk of running into furniture corners at every turn or tripping over clutter strewn across the floor. Make sure that you have sufficient storage space at your disposal as well, and if you don’t consider investing in new kitchen cabinets that are more appropriate for your needs. You can choose from several designs, including matt acrylics, textured, gloss, solid oak and painted, so there’s something to fit any interior design. 

Your kitchen should always be clean, so make sure to wipe all surfaces and do the dishes after you’re done preparing your meals. A deep clean at least five times a year is also necessary to remove the peskier grime that can form at corners and which accumulates with continuous use. You should also get sufficient lighting around your work station. Natural is best, as it also boosts your mood and makes you more productive, but artificial lights are a must as well for the times when you need to cook later in the evening and to protect your safety while chopping, dicing and mincing ingredients. 


Since you’re not an experienced cook, you’ll want to start by following recipes first. Make sure to read the whole thing, and remember that they’re kind of like reading furniture manuals before starting to assemble the item: very few people want to do it, but when they become frustrated after repeated unsuccessful tries, they wish they’d have followed the rules. Reading the recipes means that you know exactly what ingredients you need, as well as how much of each. 

You can also form a plan if the recipe requires more steps so that everything comes out perfectly in the end. By doing this, you don’t have to worry about the possibility of burning the layers of a Victoria sandwich cake while you’re busy getting the whipped cream ready. As a general rule, it is best to focus on the simpler, more straightforward recipes in the beginning and then take on others that are more difficult as you gain experience. 


If you want your food to taste good, you must make sure that all the ingredients you choose are fresh. They will provide an authentic taste and are naturally the healthiest option. If you’re not convinced, you should try making a dish with ingredients of a lower quality, and you’ll immediately see the difference for yourself. You can also look into eating seasonally, which means that you’re only consuming produce that is grown in the season anytime you eat. This also means that your diet will become more sustainable since you’ll shop from local farmers and producers rather than buy food that has travelled many kilometers to reach a shelf near you. 

You’ll have to do a little research and become more accustomed to plant life cycles this way. In spring, you should make use of apricots, asparagus, mangoes, mushrooms, peas, rhubarb, spinach, strawberries, apricots and peas. Strawberries remain a staple in summer, but there are also cherries, corn, cucumbers, aubergines, melons, peaches, tomatoes, watermelon, bell peppers and berries to try. When autumn rolls in, you must try recipes containing plums, apples, beets, grapes, broccoli, kale, mushrooms, parsnips, pears, potatoes, turnips, winter squash and all kinds of potatoes and yams. 

And although winter is associated with no plant life, some of the winter fruits you must try to keep your energy levels intact are grapefruit, oranges, clementines, lemons, kumquats, tangerines and persimmons. As for veg, onions, shallots, garlic, perpetual spinach, broad beans, salad, Brussels sprouts, and leeks, you can eat seasonally even as temperatures drop. The same logic applies to eggs, which were traditionally available between spring and autumn and never in winter, something that changed in the early 20th century with the introduction of artificial incubators. 

There’s also seasonality for meat products, with seafood in spring, pork, poultry and beef in summer, sausages, cured, smoked and organ meats in autumn and again pork, sausages and beef in winter. 


Don’t be afraid to add spices and experiment with different tastes even while you’re learning. Since you’re not accustomed to cooking, you most likely don’t have an extensive spice collection, and you don’t need to go splurging right away. However, you must amass herbs and spices over time, and some of the ones that must absolutely have a spot in your pantry are: 

  • Black peppercorns 
  • Red pepper flakes 
  • Bay leaves 
  • Turmeric
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground garlic 
  • Star anise 
  • Paprika
  • Cardamom
  • Curry powder 
  • Basil
  • Oregano

As you learn more about cooking, you’ll be able to discover lesser-known spices, some of which are real gems, such as grains of paradise, sumac, katsuobushi, and gochugaru. Remember that you must keep tasting your food as it cooks so that you know if you need to add more of a certain spice or if it’s time to stop before it becomes overpowering and unpleasant. This naturally applies to adding salt as well. 

The last thing you need to do is invest in some high-quality appliances like a food processor, pressure cooker, and mixer to make cooking easier. Apart from that, give yourself time to learn, believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll notice that your food becomes visibly better with time and work.

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