Grand Opera House

Author: Chef Jeff Igel

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

No Knead to Worry: Bread Tips

I’d love to start baking my own bread, but the whole kneading process seems intimidating. Do you have any bread-making tips for me? – Lex, Appleton The secret to great bread is the texture, which is developed through both leavening and structure. In bread baking, yeast is the primary leavening agent used and works by READ MORE

Working from Home Lunches

Q. Now that I’m working from home, I’m looking for some easy weekday lunch ideas. Ideally they would be things I can make the night before and to help streamline the next day. Any ideas? – Peter, Kaukauna A. As a recent empty-nester still trying to adjust to cooking for two, my knee-jerk response is READ MORE

Dried Beans

Q. Is there a faster way to soften dried beans other than just soaking them overnight? – Martha, Kaukauna A. Soaking beans overnight to soften them is recommended, but it is not required. Soaking beans softens the starches in the beans which allow them to cook more quickly, but if beans are not pre-soaked it READ MORE