No one is born a great cook. It’s a skill that is refined by practice and experience, and that even the big-name professionals are still honing. That said, if you watch enough cooking shows or peruse the best cookbooks, you’ll start to pick up a few essential techniques and tricks that will see you treating your kitchen utensils like instruments in your grand symphony. Read on below to discover our top picks:

Induction Revolution
Firstly, without the right tools, you’ll only get so far. Gas or electric stovetops are known for their rich energy consumption, unreliable heat consistency and slow cool-down times. With the advent of induction cooktops, all of these problems are eliminated. Induction stoves are energy-efficient; adjust temperature immediately; and by heating the cookware, not the surface, they’re safe to touch. You’ll need to upgrade your pots and pans with induction compatible cookware, but that’s a simple step towards a whole new world of cooking.

Stabilize Your Cutting Board
For this tip, you can use anything from a tea towel, a cleaning cloth, or even a damp paper towel. By placing the towel or cloth underneath your cutting board, between it and the bench, you’ll stop it from sliding around. This is especially helpful when working in a professional environment, where slippery stainless steel benches are the norm. However, even if you’re just the Average Joe trying to slice and dice some onions at home while keeping a dry eye, this is a trick that lowers frustration levels and makes cooking easier.

Pre-Soak Your Pasta
Wish you could cook perfect pasta in just 60 seconds? By soaking it overnight in a sealed bag, you can do just that. Because the bulk of cooking pasta is about infusing the dried ingredients with water, pre-soaking them cuts to the chase and gets you straight to the end of the process. This is one hack that will genuinely revolutionize your life in the kitchen. If you’ve never been good at multitasking between cooking the bolognese sauce and the spaghetti, it’s one for you.

…As Well As Your Brown Rice
Just like pasta, cooking rice can be incredibly time-consuming. This is particularly the case with brown rice, which requires far longer than white. By soaking your brown rice in a sandwich bag for even as little as a few hours, you can see a massive difference in the amount of time it takes to cook. The great thing about both of these tips is you can start the process at any time – whether it’s in the morning before you go to work, the night before, or even just as you get home with a few hours to spare before you begin cooking. The longer they soak, the quicker they cook.

Non-Stick Grater
This is another simple, yet genius kitchen hack that you will wonder how you ever lived without. If you’re used to picking slices of carrot or cheese off the grater when you’re finished working on those vegetables, this is for you. By quickly giving the grater a squirt with a non-stick cooking spray, you’ll find the food just dropping into the bowl below without any of the resistance of old.

Some of these are tiny, seemingly innocuous changes that may seem like no big deal at first. However, by saving a few minutes here and there between prep, cooking, and clean-up, you’ll take hours off your lifetime in the kitchen – giving you more time to enjoy your culinary masterpieces.