27 Essential Cooking Lessons Chefs Learned from Their Fathers

With Father’s Day approaching—it’s June 17, for those of you who were about to Google—we asked chefs from around the country to reflect on the most important lessons they learned from their fathers in the kitchen, and it got very cute very fast.

From hamburger-flipping technique to refrigerator organization skills, these father-approved tips will help you in your own kitchen.

Respect the fish. 

“My father spent 30 years in the United States Navy. Which means for most of my childhood he was deployed overseas on massive Aircraft Carriers, remote islands in Alaska, the Middle East, you name it. He was often in harm’s way, and our only communication would be through letters and the occasional land line call (this is before computers and cell phones). As a child I would sometimes see him only three to four months a year. His impact on my career is obvious in many areas. First and foremost, he paid for my culinary education, so thanks, Dad. I learned my work ethic, my loyalty to my team and all about sacrifice from him. Cooking was never his strength. But surprisingly some of my basic culinary skills come from fishing with him as a kid. We would cook either at the camp site or bring our catch home. He showed me the fine techniques of filleting the fish, to respect the fish as to not waste anything. At the campfire he would exercise restraint and season the fish simply and cook it to perfection. Simply cooking food when its in its freshest state and most flavorful is still how I treat food to this day.” – Chef Jeff Axline, Bobby Hotel.

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