Why Ina Garten Suggests Making The Same Recipe Over And Over Again

Repetition could very well be the secret to culinary success, advises Ina Garten. "Part of being a pro is making something over and over again until you feel confident that you can make it well," Garten told Food & Wine. "Inevitably, the ingredients are different, the oven temperature is off, the chicken you got isn't the right size. Things happen. The more you make recipes over and over, the more confident you are."

Her advice makes sense, particularly when managing the stress and anxiety of feeding guests. As tempting as it might be to try out a new recipe or crack open that colorful cookbook that has been collecting dust on your kitchen shelf, sticking with tried-and-true recipes has more promise of gastronomic success than failing embarrassment. The more you make a dish, the better you'll come to understand the delicate nuances of texture, taste, and serving temperatures so that you can put plates on the table with confidence. 

Practicing for culinary excellence

Chefs often have signature dishes for good reason, as time in the kitchen allows them to perfect their craft and make a name for themselves in the process. While you may or may not be known in your neighborhood for your mac and cheese recipe, having a go-to meal that you can prepare easily can alleviate some of those hosting nerves before organizing a dinner party. 

Though YouTube tutorials and online classes can help you learn cutting and cooking skills, getting into the kitchen to practice making food is what will actually help you level up as a chef. Garten isn't the only foodie encouraging aspiring cooks to spend more time inside the kitchen. "There are patterns [in cooking] that after you do many times, you begin to recognize and you do automatically," food writer Mark Bittman told NPR. Cooking the same lasagna recipe over and over may sound mundane, but over time, your tastebuds and the guests you invite to sample your dishes will thank you.