Gennaro Contaldo, who taught Jamie Oliver and Tim Mälzer how to cook, taught Oliver an important lesson a few years ago: "Restraint is the most important ingredient". They were preparing a crudo on an Italian island: raw fish that they seasoned only with salt, lemon and olive oil. "I wanted to add something else - a bit of chili, garlic, how about some herbs, Gennaro?" Oliver tells The Guardian.
But Contaldo balked: "Restraint is the key ingredient, Jamie!" he lectured the British celebrity chef. In that moment, Oliver learned the importance of celebrating simplicity. If the quality of the ingredients is right, it is a sign of skill to consciously omit ingredients. It's about letting the little that's on the plate shine.
That's not the only piece of kitchen wisdom the Guardian has collected from British chefs. Another good tip comes from José Pizarro, who owns the Pizarro restaurant in London: "Cook with whatever wine or sherry you want to drink," says Pizarro. One should never be tempted to reach for cheap wine, as this will affect the taste of the dish.
Selin Kiazim, chef from London, recommends breaking up ground beef with a whisk rather than a spoon to prevent lumps: "Use the whisk for four or five minutes while the ground beef breaks up and starts to color and then you can use a spoon again," advises Kiazim.
When it comes to cooking, of course, the equipment is also important. If you work with a blunt knife, you've already lost, says Angela Hartnett, chef at Murano in London. "I don't think you have to have the most expensive knives in the kitchen," says Hartnett. "But you have to have a decent knife, and if the knife isn't sharp, you might as well forget about it."