Francis Lam demonstrates everything from the basics of chopping an onion to the all-day challenge of his "weapons-grade" ratatouille in this engaging video series. Among the items discussed: murderous Italian chefs, a spirited defense of parsley, and multiple mentions of cats, because Francis knows how the internet works.
"The recipe that made me a minor Internet star. A very minor Internet star."
Even the blandest chicken breast can be improved with this sauce. Serve it with pork, tofu, pretty much anything, and you'll be glad you did. Find the full recipe, with tips from The Splendid Table's Sally Swift, here.
"I'm going to show you the original French way I was taught, and then the better way."
Francis shows you two different methods for julienning your carrots. He leaves you with little doubt about which one he prefers.
PUTTING IT TO WORK: Carrot Napa Cabbage Kimchee.
"Parsley is tough. It has self-confidence. It says, 'I don't care what you do to me, I'm gonna be me.'"
The underappreciated herb gets sliced ultra-thin is this clip, as Francis defends it from the haters.
PUTTING IT TO WORK: Parsley Tarragon Sauce.
"Toasting in the oven is fine, except that one, you'll probably forget them and burn them; and two, you could be toasting them in butter instead."
Francis demonstrates his preferred stovetop method for toasting any kind of nut.
PUTTING IT TO WORK: Five-Nut Caramel Tart.
"There's a secret, and I'll show you the secret. The secret is: It is not actually hard. It is not, in fact, a test of my cooking ability. But the key to the secret is that it is really, really, really long, and really, really, really boring."
While it's not that boring, making Francis' ratatouille does require time and patience. Set aside a Saturday afternoon when you choose to make it. The end result will be worth the effort. Find the full recipe, with tips from The Splendid Table's Sally Swift, here.
"We are going to talk about cutting things. It is more exciting than that, please don't click off the video."
Something as simple as slicing an onion still requires some skill. Francis shows you the best way to cut one up without damaging your fingers.
PUTTING IT TO WORK: Three-Onion Tart with Thyme, Smoky Cheese, and Cream.
"You can basically do this as long as you want. It's very therapeutic."
The secret to making garlic paste? Keep chopping (and add a little salt).
PUTTING IT TO WORK: Warm White Bean Salad with Fragrant Garlic and Rosemary.
Francis Lam is the host of The Splendid Table. He is the former Eat columnist for The New York Times Magazine and is Editor-at-Large at Clarkson Potter. He graduated first in his class at the Culinary Institute of America and has written for numerous publications. Lam lives with his family in New York City.