What Wolfgang Puck Advises You Do Before Grinding Fresh Pepper

If restaurants like Spago and Chinois on Main ring a bell (via Puck's website), you may know a thing or two about their owner, Wolfgang Puck. Many of his restaurants showcase a combination of French, Asian, and California fare and put a contemporary spin on fusion dishes, per California Museum. He also has a star on the Walk of Fame, a Lifetime Achievement Award, and several "Outstanding Chef" awards thanks to the James Beard Foundation, continues California Museum.

Fortunately, Puck has been happy to share his cooking tips, frequently offering his expert advice on flavorings and spices. For instance, he recommends seasoning food in stages and tasting along the way, perĀ MasterClass. And, when it comes to salt, he opts for sea salt or fleur de sel over iodized salt, which he says is flavorless and unhealthy. In addition, Puck likes to get extra creative with certain spices, like ginger, suggesting it can be sliced, pickled, or grated.

Puck also loves peppercorns and recommends the following step before grinding them.

Toast 'em!

Wolfgang Puck doesn't just toast peppercorns; He also toasts a host of other spices in his restaurants, such as cumin and coriander seeds, according to MasterClass. That way, the oil will seep out and make the spices smell and taste incredible, per MasterClass. According to theĀ James Beard Foundation, toasting Sichuan peppercorns can help take some of their bitter flavors away as well.

Puck likes to toast spices in the oven, but you can certainly do so with a wok or skillet. A recipe from the James Beard Foundation recommends taking a quarter cup of whole Sichuan peppercorns and placing them in a wok (no oil or anything else is needed). Turn the heat to medium and stir the peppercorns around. When the peppercorns pop and smell nice and peppery, turn the heat off and transfer them to a bowl. After they've cooled, they're ready for the grinder.

If you'd like to opt for Puck's oven method, Rumi Spice suggests toasting spices (on a baking sheet) for a maximum of three minutes in a 350-degree Fahrenheit oven. When they're done, cool them off in a bowl.

Before you whip up your next meal, be sure to take the time to toast peppercorns (or maybe even some other spices) before running them through a spice grinder.