There’s 21 of them and they’re all excellent.
1. The first time I make a recipe, I follow the directions to a T. Many times I second guess a recipe author and I fail to see their vision. If I follow the recipe exactly, I am often pleasantly surprised and learn from the author’s experience. It takes me outside my box.
2. Much like a musician, you have to practice daily. Usually, musicians practice scales — as a cook you can practice knife skills.
3. Learn different cooking techniques: poaching, braising, sauteing, grilling, roasting, and baking. I tend to get hung up on one or two methods and I have to make sure I break away from them.
4. Study cookbooks and do research.
5. Be serious enough to cook things properly, but casual enough to make cooking and eating fun.