Read this if you want to be a better cook!
#1 Forgetting To Read The Recipe (before you start cooking)
I know this sounds ridiculous and obvious, but I'm here to tell you that this is the number one mistake I see with employees, and it's prevalent at home as well. It's essential to make sure that you have all of the ingredients. How many times have you assumed you had an ingredient that you didn't. You also want to make sure that you understand the process of the recipe, and you have the time and right equipment.
#2 Not Assembling The Ingredients
"Mise en place" (putting everything in its place) is critical for a positive kitchen experience. Searching for ingredients is disruptive, and it can lead to mistakes. Think of cooking as if you were doing a cooking demonstration. Have everything you need out and ready to go. "Mise en place" is so important, I have a whole class on it in the cooking club and an entire course available separately.
#3 Using dull knives
Dull knives are dangerous. They require much more force to cut things like squash and potatoes, which can lead to cutting yourself. They also mangle delicate items, like tomatoes. Learn to sharpen your knives, or take them to a knife sharpening place regularly. Many knife shops offer knife sharpening, and some grocery stores will provide free sharpening from time to time. Ask management.
#4 Using the wrong pan
Every pan has a purpose. For example, cast iron is perfect for searing meat and fish - non-stick is not. The size, the material, and the shape all make a difference. Choosing the right pan for the job can make or break a recipe.
#5 Not preheating your pan
Preheating your pan is essential for browning. Browned food tastes excellent and is visually pleasing. Food placed in a cold skillet will not brown as well as food placed in a preheated pan. Heat your pan for at least a minute before adding ingredients.