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Ask Chef Jeff

Chef Jeffrey Igel is the chair of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Department at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. Here, “Chef Jeff” answers your cooking & cuisine queries and shares his recipes.

Avoid burning with electric stoves

“Do you have any tips for cooking on an electric stove? Things seem to burn so easily, and I end up with overcooked food.” —Chrystia from Neenah In any type of stovetop cooking (other than induction) the cooking process is achieved by the conduction of heat from the heat source, through the pan and to READ MORE

Best oil to cook with

“What is the best oil to cook with?” —Omar, Appleton All cooking oils have different characteristics that contribute to the finished product. While the flavor of the cooking oil is certainly an important factor, what is probably more important is the amount of heat they will tolerate during the cooking process known as their “smoke READ MORE

“Grill-friendly” meats

Q. “What are the most ‘grill-friendly’ cuts of meat?” —Tess, Kimberly A.The most “grill-friendly” cuts of meat are the muscles that come from the mid-section of an animal carcass. These “middle meats” move significantly less than the muscles that are used by the animal for locomotion and are therefore more tender. The parts of the READ MORE

Beat vs. Fold

Q. When baking cakes, sometimes the recipes call to beat in ingredients and sometimes fold in. What is the difference and when are appropriate scenarios for each? – Luca, Appleton A. Beating is a rigorous process where two or more ingredients are forcibly combined into what becomes one smooth and relatively homogenous product. Butter and READ MORE

The Perfect Omelet

Q. I have heard that being able to cook a classic omelet is Culinary 101. I still struggle with it. What is your recipe for success? – Tony, Little Chute A. Omelets basically can be prepared one of two ways: either with the signature ingredients in with the scrambled eggs or the ingredients folded inside READ MORE

Knife Skills

Q. I would like to improve my knife skills. Are there any online resources I could use or general tips to making more chef-like cuts? – Emily, Greenville A. I did an internet search by keying in “knife skills” and was bombarded with both websites and videos on the subject so yes, there are many READ MORE

Top 5 Must-Have Kitchen Staples

Q. Minus salt, pepper, oil and butter, what are your top five ingredients to keep in the kitchen? – Jerome, Appleton A. I have considered several different angles to answer this question and have chosen to respond from one of versatility. To that end, here are my top five ingredients to keep on hand (in READ MORE

Restaurant Slang

Q. When I worked in restaurants as a server, busy chefs were said to be “in the weeds.” What other chef slang might civilians not be familiar with? – Robert, Appleton A. Most vocations have their own unique jargon that is common to their industry, but may not necessarily be understood by the public. The READ MORE