“If there’s one thing chefs know, it’s that cooking isn’t just about cooking, it’s also about the set up. Including properly stocking your pantry. And when it comes to making lunch at home—which often happens in a bit of a hurry, or by rote—a well-stocked pantry can mean a much better meal. From flavor boosters like furikake to the best grains for a grain bowl, these chef tips and tricks will transform your daytime.” -Hillary Dixler Canavan
If you love dining out, chances are you've at least thought about trying out some of what you've seen at home. Maybe you've tried a specific recipe you had at a restaurant or maybe you got inspired to step up your table settings. But the fact is, restaurants are very different from our home kitchens.
As Eater's restaurant editor, I spend a lot of time thinking — and writing — about what makes a restaurant special and what makes dining out so damn fun. When I got the dream assignment of writing Eater's debut cookbook I got to dive into figuring out how to get that magic into home, sourcing recipes, how-to's, shopping lists, and other tips and tricks from chefs, restaurateurs, sommeliers, bartenders, and pros from all over the country.
With this collection, I'm keeping that energy going, pulling together the best of what the internet has to offer when it comes to bringing the restaurant magic into your own kitchen. From stocking your pantry and fridge to the tools you need to menu planning to music, consider this collection a starting place for upping your home cooking game. And if you like what you see, I hope you'll check out the Eater cookbook, Eater: 100 Essential Recipes from the Authority on Where to Eater and Why It Matters on sale now where you like buying books.
Image by MarinaZakharova / Getty Images
HDC: “Keeping a rotisserie chicken in your fridge is like having a prep crew. Someone else made the chicken—it’s your job to dress it up and serve it. Here, eight chefs weigh in on what, exactly, you can do with a rotisserie chicken from the easy (shred it and add it to salad) to the achievable and ambitious (think empanadas and congee pot pie).”
HDC: “If you’re dining in Austin, anyone at Eater will tell you that you must must must go to Veracruz All Natural. This recipe for its iconic migas is exactly what I was hoping for when I started writing the Eater cookbook. It has everything: It comes from one of Eater’s favorite taco trucks (both locally in Austin but also nationally!), it has a home-cook-friendly angle (only one pan!), and it really brings an essential taste of an essential restaurant home. Trust me when I say, it works.”
HDC: “One thing that separates professional cooks and recipe developers from many home cooks is using a scale. Simply put, weighing is the most accurate way to measure your ingredients. You don’t need a fancy scale, and it’s useful beyond baking. This run-down from Wirecutter is a great starting place to help figure out which scale might be the best fit for your kitchen.”
HDC: “Restaurant kitchens are often small and often busy—they work when they’re organized. Former cook turned ace recipe developer Jesse Szewczyk offers so many good organizing tips in this throwback Buzzfeed listicle. I use a lot of the tips in this piece in my own extremely tiny apartment kitchen. With the right tools and an organized set up, you’ll be that much closer to achieving more restaurant-y magic at home.”
HDC: “Netflix star and acclaimed cookbook author Samin Nosrat maps out how to host a dumpling dinner party. Peppered throughout are various tips and tricks she’s picked up in her past life as a restaurant cook and her present life as a food world icon. You want to make your home more like a restaurant? Make like Samin and put your guest to work as your sous chefs.”
HDC: “What do the sommeliers and beverage experts think you should be drinking? At a restaurant, they make a menu for you. When you’re at home, check out this ambitious bottle list which brings together recommendations from over 100 wine pros.”
HDC: “If you’re entertaining at home and want restaurant-quality cocktails without winding up playing bartender, consider batching. By making a larger quantity in advance, you can focus on serving drinks rather than making them. This comprehensive guide to batching is a great place to start.”
HDC: “This profile brings you into the precisely crafted, stunningly surreal tablescapes of Gohar World, the tableware brand that is at the vanguard of entertaining style. Thinking about the scenery of your meal will bring closer to a restaurant vibe at home.”
HDC: “A no-skills-required way to bring more restaurant vibes onto your dinner table is to shop for elegant ceramics. This Strategist piece pulls inspiration from restaurant ceramics and then does the legwork of finding where to buy said cool plate online. Note: Ceramics are also great gifts or registry items.”
HDC: “So you’ve got your food, you’ve got your drinks, you’ve got your tablescape. The next thing you need is music. I co-hosted this episode of ‘Switched on Pop’ to delve into how, exactly, restaurant playlists get made and why so many restaurants end up with the same playlist. You can find the playlist itself online here.”
Hillary Dixler Canavan
Hillary Dixler Canavan is Eater's restaurant editor and the author of the publication's debut book, Eater: 100 Essential Restaurant Recipes From the Authority on Where to Eat and Why It Matters (Abrams, September 2023). She worked her way up through the New York City restaurant scene before landing at Eater in 2013. As part of the publication’s award-winning editorial team, she defines the scope of Eater’s national restaurant coverage and leads major initiatives like its annual Best New Restaurants list. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband and daughter and you can connect with her on Instagram.