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For many self-designated foodies, nothing is more satisfying than a gourmet meal. The one downside to frequenting these fancy establishments, in addition to waistline expansion, is the effect it has on your wallet. In this day and age, however, people who have an avid interest in cooking and access to the internet can become gourmet cooks in the privacy of their own homes, drastically reducing not only the cost-per-plate but also seeing first-hand the ingredients that are going into each dish. 

One of the reasons fancy food tastes delicious is the excessive amount of cream and butter used to enhance flavor. The gourmand of today has the advantage of making healthier versions of restaurant items at home. In addition to using healthier ingredients, the modern-day foodie is also concerned about the earth and using sustainable products. Shopping at local farmer’s markets and joining grassroots gourmet movements such as community-supported agriculture farms (CSAs) are a great way to embrace both your desire to enter a healthy gourmet world and to feel good about the environment while doing it.

If you are just learning the basics of cooking, it helps to familiarize yourself with essential practices before diving into more challenging recipes. The safety rules of a kitchen are very important, so you should be well-versed in proper tools, cookware, knife-wielding, and how to respond quickly in case of burns, cuts, or falls. Read each recipe all the way through and get everything prepped ahead of time before starting. There are also basic techniques one can learn that will be used repeatedly, such as the process of deboning a chicken or making stock from scratch.

Once you are ready to move on to gourmet recipes, check your local area for gourmet cooking classes or look online for tutorials. People have a misconception that gourmet means expensive when the focus should really be on fresh ingredients of the highest quality, including herbs and spices. When you start thinking about fresh garlic in place of garlic powder, you’re starting to think like a gourmet chef. Some ingredients might be more expensive than their pedestrian counterparts, but the overall savings as opposed to dining out is worth it, and the feeling of pride from creating a gourmet meal is addictive on its own.