By Anna Redman And Rachel Debling
David Nordien is an Ottawa-based chef with more than 10 years of culinary experience. He has worked at a number of fine-dining establishments including Julia’s Ristorante in Oakville, Ontario, and the Brookstreet Hotel in Kanata, Ontario.
1. Snag Yourself A Slow Cooker. “Crock-Pots and slow cookers are very easy to use, turn simple ingredients into something fantastic, and can offer you a ready-to-eat meal when you come home from a hard day at work,” David advises. “They’re fast, easy, and stress-free, plus they make a lot, which means you can also cook a tasty, healthy lunch for the following day.”
2. More Meat, Less Money. “Purchase meat in bulk,” David recommends. “I like Costco, but a local butcher is great too. Often, when you buy steaks at the grocery store, you’re paying more for the fact that they’ve run a knife through it. Save yourself some money by cleaning and butchering an entire tenderloin or rib roast at home. Just beware — it will be messy!”
3. Celebrate Suction. “You need to get yourself a vacuum-packaging machine,” David insists. “It has changed the way I cook at home. Freeze small portions of bulk meat (e.g. one to four chicken breasts at a time), and be sure to label and date them to avoid confusion. Boost deliciousness by adding a marinade, sealing it, and forcing all the flavours into your meat while it tenderizes.”
4. Stay Sharp. David says that a dull knife is a) inefficient and useless, and b) far more dangerous for you and your family. “To keep a decent edge on them, aim to sharpen your knives every six months — anywhere that sells knives can probably sharpen them for you,” he reveals. “You’ll be blown away by the speed and ease this adds to your meal prep.”
5. Better Your Boiling. Drop eggs (with a spoon) into already boiling water for five minutes and 10 seconds for perfect soft-boiled eggs, David says; increase to eight minutes for hard-boiled. “Then run cold water into the pot for a few minutes,” he continues. “Tap the eggs on a paper towel-covered counter to crack, then roll across to break the shell.” Peel in your pot of water, and you’re done!