Five creative kitchen tips from Top Chef René Rodriguez

Born in Ottawa, René lived in Mexico with his family and first started cooking at the tender age of 12 while working at his uncle’s restaurant. He returned to Ottawa six years later and honed his skills in various restaurants, attended Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and completed his Red Seal Certification at Algonquin College. René is co-owner of the Navarra Restaurant in Ottawa and was the season four winner of Top Chef Canada. Now he has partnered with Future Shop and LG Appliances to help you get the most out of home cooking.

Over my years working as a chef professionally and at home, I've experimented in the kitchen and figured out many time-saving techniques that make cooking a breeze with any appliance. To help you out at home, I’ve put together five kitchen hacks that not only make it easier to prepare great meals, but also reduce food waste and save you time as well.

Tip #1: Prep your portions
Portioning before freezing is a great way to ensure you always have food on hand, without risking any of it going bad. It’s also a great solution for small households –as I learned when I moved out of my large family home into my own place. Freezing cooked foods in airtight storage containers means you’ll always be ready when you need a delicious meal fast.

Tip #2: Pickle your peppers
Chili peppers are not just for heat, they add flavour too! Try dicing them finely with red onion, covering the mixture with lime juice and a pinch of salt and pickling overnight in the fridge - this easy salsa can be added to almost anything!

Tip #3: Soften spice
While I love chili peppers, sometimes a dish can be overwhelmed if you use too many of them. If you’ve overdone it, chili spice can be countered with dairy or sweetness. Try tempering it with butter, cheese, cream, brown sugar or sweet corn.

Tip #4: Step up the citrus
With traditional juicing techniques, much of your citrus fruit’s fluid is lost. To make the most of your lemons and limes, try microwaving for a few seconds or rolling them on the counter before you squeeze.

Tip #5: Keep clean
As the chef's mantra goes, "your kitchen is a temple, so keep it clean!" OK, maybe that's my mantra, but it’s certainly true a chef's pride and joy is a clean work space. While cooking, keep a cup with water handy where you can collect dirty utensils as you go. When you're creating your mise en place, try keeping a 'garbage bowl' nearby so that you don't have to keep ferrying scraps over to the garbage (and dropping pieces on the floor in the process).This kind of organization makes clean up a snap, so you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Cooking should be a pleasurable task, so I hope my tips help to make your kitchen adventures just a little bit more fun!

To enjoy more holiday recipes developed by René Rodriguez, visit


  1. Great tips, and #5 should probably be #!!

  2. I loved Rene (and his hair) on Top Chef Canada. Great and simple tips for the home chef.

  3. I like the pickle your peppers tip. I love a little spice in my dishes.

  4. Wonderful facts. Thank you for giving you this kind of beneficial facts. Sustain the good perform and also keep on giving you far more top quality facts every now and then.Creative


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