Adrienne Cheatham Perfects Poached Eggs With A Simple Vinegar Soak

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You probably know chef Adrienne Cheatham from her time on "Top Chef," where in season 15, she finished in second place. Or maybe you've seen her on the cover of her cookbook, "Sunday Best: Cooking Up the Weekend Spirit Every Day," which was named one of the best cookbooks of the year. Cheatham also appeared in an episode of HBO Max's "Selena + Chef," which teams actor and singer Selena Gomez with a different chef each episode to cook a meal; in Gomez and Cheatham's episode in season four, the two prepared poached salmon and grits with hollandaise sauce for a lovely brunch meal.

But Cheatham's poaching knowledge doesn't stop at poached salmon — she also has a really handy trick to make the perfect poached eggs that involves white vinegar. In an August 2022 interview with Tasting Table, Cheatham told us, "The trick is to soak your eggs. You want to get a little dish and fill it with 50% water and 50% white vinegar. So you want to dilute the vinegar a little bit. But you just crack your eggs into the dish, and it should be a wide shallow dish, and you just crack your eggs right into it." 

Cheatham elaborated on the vinegar trick

Cheatham continued, "I usually use a Tupperware container. If I'm just doing two eggs, if it's just me, I'll use one of those takeout deli pint containers, and I'll put a quarter cup of vinegar, a quarter cup of water, crack two eggs, and you let them sit for about up to 10 minutes."

If you're worried about mixing up flavors, you'll be happy to know that Cheatham swears that's not a concern. She explained that as long as you don't go over 10 minutes, then the eggs won't pick up the vinegar flavor. What the vinegar does do is help "set that outer layer of protein on the egg white so it keeps your egg from flying all over the place once it gets into the water." She noted to Tasting Table that poaching eggs can be extremely intimidating, but she assures cooks, "This is something I learned years ago working in restaurants and it was a game changer and I like shouting it from the mountaintops every chance I get."