DESPITE being a nation of food lovers, with an abundance of cooking shows and books inspiring us to experiment, new research reveals that over a fifth of Brits (22%) lack confidence in the kitchen to cook from scratch.
When it comes to rolling up our sleeves and flexing our culinary muscles, a quarter (25%) of Brits admit they can only cook basic meals, with many even finding that a struggle. Almost a fifth of UK adults (17%) admit they have never whipped up a simple omelette, whilst one in 10 (10%) have never tried to bake a potato, and one in five (20%) have never rustled up the classic british fry up.
The research was commissioned by Leon Rothera, chef and founder of Fyte Food, a takeaway food service that aims to reconnect people with proper balanced meals, highlights that Brits’ lack of courage is holding them back in the kitchen.
An unconfident 21% of home cooks feel they lack the skills to cook from scratch with 14% saying they are clueless about what ingredients will work together. A further 14% of are scared they will mess up homemade meals, with even the thought of it sending one in ten (10%) into a state of panic.
Even for those who feel they are more confident cooks; a quarter (25%) say they often feel uninspired and get stuck in a cookery rut, reverting back to the same dishes time and again, closely followed by 21% not having the time to cook from scratch, and 10% who would just rather go for the safe option of ordering a takeaway.
Leon Rothera, chef and founder of Fyte Food, says: “As a nation we have lost the art of cooking from scratch, but it’s easier than you think to knock together a delicious, healthy meal even just from leftovers in the fridge and store cupboard staples.
“If you’re lacking in confidence, but are curious about improving your culinary skills my best advice is to simply trust your senses and go for it, without worrying about whether you’ll mess up. Good food shouldn’t be exclusive to gym heads or health food fanatics, it should be open to anyone who wants to know exactly what they’re eating, and with a bit of practise you’ll build up your confidence in no time and stop relying on ready meals, fast food or sauces.”
The research does show that in spite of this lack of confidence, many Brits would like to learn the fundamentals, with 15% wishing they had the skills to prepare a homemade meal. Whilst over a third (35%) love making their own dishes, there is a large part of the nation that have never tackled the more adventurous dishes including pad thai, coconut curry and fish pie which all top the list of meals Brits have never cooked from scratch.
Top 10 dishes Brits have never attempted to cook from scratch:
- Pad thai
- Coconut curry
- Fish pie
- Mac and cheese
- Egg and soldiers
- Pie and mash
- Chilli con carne
- Chicken curry
To help inspire the nation and get people whipping up recipes, even just with what’s in the fridge or storecupboard, Leon shares his top tips to help build Brits’ confidence in cooking delicious and healthy meals from scratch.
Leon Rothera’s top tips on mastering cooking from scratch:
Remember the five basic tastes. When cooking, you should always keep in mind the five pillars around which all meals are created: salt, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami. So make sure you have soy, honey, lemon, salt and a variety of herbs in your store cupboard.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. To make the cooking process itself as seamless as possible, prep your ingredients! Some people may be able to chop three whole onions in under a minute, but it’s unlikely you’re one of them. The practice of mise en place (that is, having all your chopped ingredients ready to be chucked in) will make you enjoy experimenting in the kitchen tenfold more.
Browning meat. Super quick, super easy: often people think of browning meat as an advanced step that they don’t need to bother with in their own kitchen. How wrong they are. It’ll give your meat a richer, deeper flavour in under five minutes.
One veg five ways.Take the aubergine, so often mistreated and just boiled in a ratatouille, it’s actually incredibly versatile. You need to attack this with some real heat in order to get the best out of it. To bring out its great texture and taste, have a go at roasting, chargrilling, stewing, baking or frying it.
Taste the texture. You require zero prior cooking knowledge to get on board with this hack, but yet it is so often forgotten. If your meal is primarily made up of wet ingredients, add in something crunchy. Think croutons in a soup.