Grant Achatz's Simple Yet Important Tip For Home Cooks

American chef Grant Achatz has served olive oil lollipops and pheasant with burning oak leaves. "​Some of the courses served at Alinea are meant to intimidate because, if you think about eating, we do it two, three, four times a day since we're born, basically," he told NPR. Yet just because Achatz pushes limits with presentation doesn't mean he abandons flavor.

"As a chef, I feel like I can make things approachable to almost anyone. But, from my travels and being friends with chefs from all over the world, I know that some elements of taste are based on where you live, where you grew up, and what you're accustomed to," Achatz told Cereal. Those elements have to do with seasonings. Specifically, salt.

Described as a secret weapon by Vice, salt can be the difference between an unforgettable meal and one easily discarded. In our Test Kitchen, Achatz named salt as one of his top three essential kitchen ingredients. So when he gave tips on how at-home chefs can salt like professionals, we were all ears.

Salt with courage

"When I'm in the restaurant, I will salt to the point where I feel guests will be comfortable with it... even though I might want more," Achatz told Dani Valent, "We season very aggressively."

Under-seasoning is a common complaint, reports IndyStar, and many cooks taste their food along the way to adjust for temperatures and added ingredients. If you want to make something taste good, you have to season it well, Achatz insists. "A professional knows that you have to push that envelope really, really hard in order to coax those flavors out," he told Valent.

Achatz stocks his kitchen with kosher salt from the factory in his Michigan hometown; "I demand it," he told Harper's Bazaar. He finishes sauces with gray salt, smoked salt, and Brittany sea salt (per Food & Wine).

It's not only Achatz: "Correct seasoning for a chef is as much salt as you can put in without it tasting too salty," Bocca di Lupo's Jacob Kennedy told The Guardian. For tonight's meal, unleash your inner Salt Bae and sprinkle away.