Thursday, October 4, 2012

How to Flip Food in a Pan Like a Chef

I always feel a little guilty when I post one of these technique videos, which is kind of strange since I get just as many “wishes” for this type of demo, as I do for straight recipes. People seem to like them, and I’ll get lots of comments asking for more of the same, but there’s just something about not being able to take a bite out of the final product that leaves me slightly unsatisfied.

Of course, I could have eaten some more cheese balls at the end, but you know what I’m saying. Anyway, lack of proper money shot notwithstanding, I hope this “cheesy” trick helps you master this very basic and desirable kitchen skill.

By the way, this is about much more than just looking cool. Depending on the recipe, flipping the food around without having to use a spoon or spatula can be a big advantage. It’s faster, more effective, and yes, it looks super cool too. I hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!

36 comments:

Tom from Fogtown said...

So cool, I always wanted to be able to do this!! Thanks for the vid!!

Anonymous said...

Don't feel bad! We LOVE these kinds of videos! More, more, more...

Monica said...

perfect. now i know why i could never flip. THANKS.

Anonymous said...

I always make a mess when I do this with fried eggs. Is the technique different for flipping eggs? For everything else, the back and forth motion works perfectly.

Anonymous said...

does your wife still sell the SFO sauces?

Sherine Goh said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sherine Goh said...

When I flip an egg, even though i will successfully flip it, my yolk always breaks and it becomes..like..u know..so, is it preventable??

Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) said...

Great tutorial! I've always wanted to learn this technique, but I never thought to practice when I wasn't actually cooking something. Question: Do you think this would work as well with malted milk balls? Mmmm...I love Whoppers.

David Kraus said...

Julia Child uses beans to teach the same method! Very cool with the more edible cheese puffs.

David Kraus said...

This video is great. Reminds me of Julia Child who taught the same technique using dried beans. Very cool.

cookinmom said...

I wondered the other day, when I was watching one of your videos while cooking, how you taught your class to do this. Now I know...however, I have an electric stove and question if this would scratch it??? Fixin to get a new cooktop so maybe I should practice now if it does scratch!!! TKS

Heather Stevenson said...

As a reward, at the end I get to eat the cheese balls, right?

Carol White said...

Thank you so much for that wonderful tip.

Chef John said...

Actually, once you get the move down, you can lift the pan off the surface, so you don't scratch the unit.

Grams Pam said...

Anonymous - SFQ BBQ sauce is the BEST EV-AH! Here's a link:
http://sfqinfo.blogspot.com/

Check the tabs along the top ... depending on where you are, you can buy local or place an order.

"and as always, enjoy!"

Food Junkie said...

This is a great video, thanks Chef John. I once asked a chef on the hotel omelette line how to do it and she learned with a cold fired egg which can also be tossed around without making a mess. I like the idea of the cheese balls since you probably have to me a little more precise to keep them all in the pan.

cookinmom said...

Aaaha! So that's it...got it! Well, I guess I will have to practice to be perfect! Your the best...chef that is! TKS

Chef John said...

I want everyone to be clear this technique is for tossing ingredients in a pan when sauteing, not necessarily for flipping eggs and pancakes. The move is very similar, but you do need some upward flip for those applications.

Anonymous said...

Chef John,

Shouldn't we use more of an up and down motion?

whitterbug23 said...

Aww don't feel unsatisfied Chef John I love these tips; they are useful and interesting. I used to always use a paring knife to slice everything because I was terrified of a chef's knife and it felt wrong in my hand, but then I watched your "Can't Boil Water" episode and now I use my chef's knife everyday. Added perk, it takes me a lot less time to cut everything up.

You are the reason I started cooking. I loved to bake, but cooking scared me (I have botched numerous recipes and almost burned the kitchen down [my sister left me to watch tortillas cooking when I was too short to see the top of the stove]). Then, I started watching your videos and you made cooking sound fun and were reassuring that recipe fails happen (even to experienced chefs), but that they are perfectly natural and okay. Now, I am confident in my cooking abilities and am improving daily.

By the way one thing I love (and that helped me build confidence in the kitchen) is that you show what the food looks like throughout the cooking process and what pitfalls lie ahead. Like with the caramel, the first several minutes look like you did something horrible wrong (it remains white forever, then it turns lumpy, then it goes from light to burnt in seconds, topped off with the frothing monstrosity once you add the butter and cream), but you show us all of that. So thank you a million times over.

Chef John said...

Thank you so much!

Arina George said...

Pretty cool video,would like to try the technique – thanks for putting up !!!

Anonymous said...

Another great video. Thanks.

Madonna said...

Culinary School 5 minutes a day. I love this.

Anonymous said...

Back and forth instead of up and down. My wife's been telling me that for years.

Anonymous said...

pretty cool, that this video has blown up for you! almost 500k views! Thnx for your vids, i learn a lot from them

Anonymous said...

Just saw this (again) on Gizmodo. Nice crossover. Great video, btw. Next, will you teach us (my food wish) how to flip pancakes or eggs? Thx, Lee

Anonymous said...

Just saw this (again) on Gizmodo. Nice crossover. Great video, btw. Next, will you teach us (my food wish) how to flip pancakes or eggs? Thx, Lee

Unknown said...

Very helpful. Thanks!

Steve said...

Chef:

Great demo -- how about some knife skills demos, too?

BTW, you're right: cheese balls aren't food.

1Bigg_ER said...

I was making rocket beans and my hand just took over and did the ol' flippy flippy. I must be spending way too much tome in the kitchen.

I tell you what would be more impressive? Flip a 12 inch cast iron skillet.

Al Reddad said...

i definitely appreciate your posts i tried lots of your recipes and they taste so delicious
thanks chef john

Dawn (Dawn's Recipes) said...

Your video just showed up on Foodbeast! Love it! Not sure it helps with pancakes, but...
http://foodbeast.com/content/2012/10/17/how-to-not-fk-up-flipping-pancakes-tutorial/

Lemming said...

That saying applies to more than flipping food in a pan...

JMP said...

Dear Chef John, I recall seeing a French cook on the Riviera doing this trick with a very deep pot (maybe 5 or 6 inches high sides that were straight up, not slanted) and he was getting the content of the pot high up in the air, actually well over a foot high above the top of the pot. I found this impressive but never dared to try it.
Do you think this cook was using your technique or is there more to it?

PS I enjoy these technique video too.
Regards.

Chef John said...

prob same thing! :)