Jamie Oliver Reveals His Definitive Food Hacks (And What You're Getting Wrong)

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We always trust Jamie Oliver when it comes to cooking advice, even if he did destroy all of our childhoods with his tyrannical campaign against radioactive Turkey Twizzlers.

That's why we tasked the chef with giving us his top cooking hacks and sins, catching up with him as he showed off a Land Rover Discovery that he'd fitted out with a full-scale kitchen (as you do. Check it out here).

From perfect steak to homemade pasta to the humble chip, here's how to make sure you're getting the most out of your food.

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Steak

Hack

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Never cook it from the fridge. Always get it out at least an hour before you cook it, or it'll go tight and tough.

Sin

Going for the really fresh red stuff. Your instinct tells you that that's what you need, but what you want is something that's been dry-aged a bit. Don't be afraid of the darker meat: that'll be more tender, more delicious and has less water in it, so it doesn't boil and go tough.

Also: the whole industry is geared up to sell you one steak for one person, and it's all going to end in tears. Even chefs would struggle to get a really amazing bark on the outside and medium rare on the inside, because it would just be cooked through and livery and awful. Go to your local butcher and get a double steak for you and your partner or mate, and go with the idea of one steak, two people. The minute you go thicker, you can just get that gnarly, golden ridiculous outside, and then when you let it rest for four minutes, you slice through it and it's heavenly.

White fish

Hack

Firstly, always buy from a reputable fishmonger, or trade up to the best quality you can afford. For something a bit more delicate, cook your fish gently in a sauce, or nestled in a pan of rice.

Sin

Overcooking it! White fish really doesn't take long to cook. Keep an eye on it and cut into the thickest part of the fillet to test – when it's done, it should be opaque and pearly white in colour.

Chips

Hack

For me, the Maris Piper potato is perfect for classic chips. Sunflower oil is very efficient, but if you're after a big flavour hit then beef tallow is incredible. And lastly, being an Essex boy, it has to be Maldon sea salt. Use a large sturdy pan on a medium to high heat with 8cm of oil in the bottom. Never fill your pan more than half full. If you don't have a thermometer, use a raw chip to test the heat – as it starts to float and fry the temperature should be about 140°C.

Sin

Under- or over-cooking them. For me, the great thing about the humble potato is its ability to get mega crispy on the outside and super-fluffy in the middle – if you haven't nailed the cooking technique or timing, the chips could end up soggy or charred. Not good.

Burgers

Hack

Chuck gives you the most amazing ratio of fat and meat and flavour. Making your own is simple, scrunch it up, make it into a patty and season it like a steak and cook it.

Sin

They buy them already made, it's convenient. But they use compression, and moulds, and they go really, really dense. They're not as delicious, and juicy and light.

Pasta

Hack

Making pasta at home is incredibly easy, and so much simpler than many people think. It can take a matter of minutes to get the ingredients together, and the more you practise, the easier it will become.

Sin

A huge amount of people drain their pasta in the sink and bugger about for three or four minutes. You need to save some starchy water, and feed it into the sauce to keep it light, silky and delicious.

Check out Jamie Oliver's custom Land Rover Discovery here.