Here's What You Should Learn To Cook First, According To Rachael Ray

We're always told you have to crawl before you can walk when learning a new skill. Sometimes, it can be tough to be patient, especially when learning the many ins and outs of basic cooking skills. But every chef — even the most famous celebrity chefs — got their start somewhere, and the relatable and down-to-earth Rachael Ray is no different. Back in 2006, the self-proclaimed "hick from the sticks" told ABC News about her inspiration to get started in the food world, saying, "I think that cooking was just a byproduct of the way we lived, and life happened around the food. We were always in the kitchen and talking and sharing, and it was just where you had a good time." 

Ray is the first to note that she did not go to culinary school and actually eschews the word chef, instead preferring to be called a cook. But whatever the TV show host and author wants to be called, Rachael Ray has been helping fans of her famed 30 Minute Meals show gain confidence with their own cooking skills through her tips, tricks, hacks, and advice over the years. It is that same foundation Ray learned when she was young that still follows her today. So, naturally, when aspiring chefs ask Ray which recipe they should learn first, she has some common sense and confidence-building advice that really helps. 

Rachael Ray's advice: Keep it simple

Rachael Ray advises that when you first start cooking, you really want to "keep it simple." In fact, this should be your mantra when you are a newbie learning any basics. Her recommendation is really smart, as is the advice she dishes out about the first recipe you should learn to make. Per Food Network, she says, "Teach yourself to cook your favorite meal first." So, if you love a good grilled cheese sandwich or a hearty and delicious mac and cheese, that's the best place to start because, quite simply, you will be motivated.

Ray has had a lot of first meals herself. In fact, the first dish she ever made for our favorite media queen Oprah was her famous "You Won't Be Single For Long" Penne Alla Vodka (via The Rachael Ray Show). There's also the first recipe she ever made for popular weatherman Al Roker when she appeared on The Today Show. It was chicken and dumpling soup, according to ABC News. And then there was the first dish she made on the Rachael Ray Show, which was a pancetta-wrapped shrimp with sage. Ray went on to share that she had to make it so many times to get it perfect, she never made it again for 15 years. So rather than wait that long to make your favorite dish again, remember whatever meal you choose to learn to make first, keep it simple and have fun.