Is Ina Garten's Pepper-Dicing Method The 'Pro Tip' She Says It Is?

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"Holding the pepper upright, cut down the sides, and dice." Does that sound like a pro tip? Ina Garten thinks so — she included it as a pull-out quote in her "Cook Like a Pro" cookbook. Ina Garten is a pro among pros herself, with 15 best-selling cookbooks and several Food Network hits under her belt, including "Be My Guest with Ina Garten," which premiered in 2022.

Over the course of her storied career, Garten may have learned that some of us are, shall we say, kitchen-logic challenged. Some people know how to cook intellectually, but pragmatically? When it comes to the patience and panache the kitchen requires, like learning knife skills for simple tasks like dicing a pepper, our will to do it ourselves is not enough. For some of us, it's not such a stretch for a cookbook author to call something that might seem obvious a pro cooking tip.

Even so, there do seem to be fewer uncoordinated home chefs than there were a few years ago, and certainly fewer than when Garten published "Cook Like a Pro" in 2018. According to Good News Network, many home chefs believe they've dramatically leveled up their skillsets since the start of the pandemic.

Pro tips for dicing a bell pepper

While a jalapeño or habanero pepper might be for a special recipe, the bell pepper is a staple found in many people's crisper drawers. Unfortunately, it's still awkward to cut. Garten advises you slice it vertically so that when you dice it, you'll end up with flat, professional-looking diced peppers.

Another convenient trick that makes cutting bell peppers a breeze is chopping off the top and bottom of the pepper, slicing it down one side, pulling it open, and easily swiping out the inner core. This is a clean way to dispose of the pepper's bitter seeds, but it does involve a cardinal sin that conscientious home chefs usually like to avoid: produce waste.

Another proficient (and relatively waste-free) tip for those who've been cutting bell peppers all wrong is to flip the pepper over stem-down, then slice down vertically at each indentation of the pepper's bottom. Then just pry the four quadrants apart, and you can remove the sphere-shaped core intact, seeds undisturbed. Trim off any excess left around the core, and voilà!