Nadia G's Ultimate Secret Ingredient

When it comes to cooking, a few things set amateurs apart from the pros. Generally, professional chefs have a whole education and series of jobs behind them, while home cooks learned in their own kitchens, as well as from cookbooks, blogs, and television shows. Professional chefs may work in kitchens that feature top-tier equipment, such as high-end knives or sous vide machines, while home cooks may only possess just the basics.

With their intimate knowledge of a wide range of foods and seasonings, many pros might even have a secret or trademark ingredient that they rely on to bring depth and nuance to their dishes. According to Food Network, 50 professional chefs and food television hosts shared their secret ingredients, with many of the ingredient choices clearly indicating the cooking style of that chef. It's no surprise that Emeril Lagasse reaches for Creole seasoning, or that Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto grabs soy sauce. Nadia G, the salty-tongued comedian-cook and host of "Nadia G's Bitchin' Kitchen," even has a signature, versatile ingredient many home cooks love.

Nadia G's all about balsamic vinegar

Balsamic vinegar is a classic kitchen ingredient that goes back hundreds of years and remains a staple that many cooks have on hand at all times. This tangy sauce just happens to be Nadia G's secret ingredient. The chef told Food Network that she likes the stuff aged. "Balsamic aged for seven years or more adds tang to sauces, makes a wonderful steak sauce (with equal parts maple syrup) and rocks with chocolate and berry desserts," Nadia G said.

Balsamic vinegar even plays a major role in the chef's steak sauce. The condiment features a combination of good maple syrup and aged balsamic vinegar. Nadia G simply mixes the two ingredients together, simmers the sauce briefly on the stovetop until reduced, and then immediately drizzles it over a perfectly cooked steak (via Cooking Channel). If that can't get you excited to start using balsamic vinegar in your own cooking, nothing will.