The Cooking Mantra Alton Brown Swears By

Alton Brown has been a quintessential part of the Food Network since the late 1990s. From hosting, writing, and show running his own show, "Good Eats," to serving as culinary commentator on the popular cooking contest, "Iron Chef America," or serving as judge on "Cutthroat Kitchen," Brown has become a familiar, friendly presence.

Over the last two decades, Brown's reputation and expertise in the food world have only grown. He has a no-nonsense approach to cooking that is beloved by many and some of his cooking tips for home cooks – from cooking steaks in mayonnaise (to add acidity,) to using mini muffin tins to craft the perfect meatballs – are the stuff of culinary legend. If Brown's offering a food tip or DIY hack, you'd be a fool not to take note. 

Episodes of "Good Eats" primarily focus on the history or science behind an ingredient, and he has always taught the simplest way to highlight ingredients when preparing food. This basic cooking philosophy is perfectly in alignment with his personal cooking motto, which is displayed above his kitchen door.

Stick to simplicity

In an interview with AskMen, Brown said his personal cooking motto is, "Do no harm," meaning the best way to prepare food is to buy good ingredients and cook them to the best of your ability. He explains that there's no need to cover up good ingredients with your ego, or to try to "conquer" the food you're cooking. Brown's advice is to let the ingredients speak for themselves, and that your job is simply to be the means by which they shine.

While there's nothing wrong with experimenting with complicated recipes, sometimes keeping it simple can be really satisfying. If you're newer to cooking or learning to cook, keeping it simple is a really great way to familiarize yourself with ingredients. Want to understand the individual and unique flavors that different vegetables have? Try them independently before mixing them all together in a salad. Curious about what the flavor of a good steak is like without using a complicated rub? Try seasoning it with just salt and pepper. The more you learn what individual ingredients taste like and how you like to prepare them, the more comprehensive your understanding of food will become. And if you're already an expert in the kitchen, then keeping it simple is a great excuse to chill out a bit and let the ingredients shine on their own. 

If it's good enough for the two-time James Beard Award winner, it should be good enough for the masses.