Ivan Flowers tells us BIG tips you MUST know about cooking!

Ivan Flowers is ‘s executive chef over in San Diego and my personal fav for food advice – his columns are truly amazing, ranking as the only foodie tips articles I’ve ever seen that do not contain one un-useful word. When you’re wrapped up with this article, visit his website


Swordfish isn’t commonly on the menu at restaurants. How does someone know if he or she is eating a properly seasoned and well cooked swordfish dinner?

Pacific Swordfish because of its diet is one of the most flavorful and tender fish there is.  Proper seasoning is 80 percent of professional cooking.  The right amount of salt and pepper allows the fish to truly jump in the mouth.  With a slight translucency and proper seasoning, the individual eating the fish knows on the first bite.

I was always taught you should baste a turkey. You say not to baste. It’s so dry and simply put, ick. Is there anything people can do to make a turkey juicy like a good steak?

Brine your turkey in a light salt water mixture along with garlic cloves, lemons, black pepper corns and thyme sprigs.  Brine for 24 hours.  Then mix softened unsalted butter with herbs of choice (sage, rosemary, marjoram etc) season with salt and pepper and rub under the skin.  You control the flavor and salt versus an injected turkey that can have large amounts of fat, salt and chemicals.

You said no parsley for chimichurri sauce. Do you ever approve of parsley? I love it.

Italian Flat leaf parsley is good when finishing dishes with a sprinkle.  Spaghetti Vongole, Soups, Stews, etc.  It needs to be fresh and not cooked or blended down to showcase its true flavor.

But then…An article advising not washing mushrooms?! How do we disinfect them? With a vegetable spray?

You can rub mushrooms with a slightly damp towel or toothbrush.  Morel mushrooms you would place in a bag and shake.  Some light elbow grease will work with mushrooms.

You are always talking about the 80/20 burger meat. Can any meat truly be healthy and moist?

Fat in meat allows for two things, flavor and tenderness.  If you were using some grass feed beef that had little to no marble, the lower fat content is surely healthier.  So how would you develop flavor and tenderness?  You can brine, marinate, jaccard.  High temp, fast cooking methods will also provide tenderness by locking in juices.  Yes you can have your cake and eat it too.

You’re big on basic skills. I agree. I often refresh myself on normal things because anyone can make mistakes when we feel arrogant. What basic skill did you have to conquer for a while? The kind where you know but every so often you make a dumb error?

Let great ingredients speak for themselves.  Do not over do or disguise food.  Take baby carrot juice and add to the roasting of carrots to allow carrots and a touch of butter and French sea salt to explode in your mouth.  Don’t add molasses, orange juice, cinnamon, etc.  Think about how great protein, vegetable, pasta, fruit is supposed to taste naturally, then creatively help it along.  Less done well is so much more and requires more thought then adding the kitchens sink. So pull back when that little voice says ENOUGH!!!


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