A Chef And Bartender's Best Tips For Cooking & Drinking At Home - Exclusive

A recent evening in New York City brought together renowned young chef Rōze Traore, Courvoisier Global Brand Educator and experienced mixologist Zahra Bates, and a handful of diners lucky enough to enjoy some world-class food and beverages. Dwelling on the menu and drinks served that night, which was a part of the "Welcome to Our Kitchen" series of events Courvoisier is sponsoring, will only lead to envy, so we'll let that part lie (via Uptown Magazine).

Fortunately, a subsequent interview with Mashed brought Traore and Bates back together once again, and from that chat we can all benefit, because the chef and bartender discussed how we can all improve our cooking and drink mixing at home.

Asked for a few of his best tips for home chefs looking to improve their cooking, chef Rōze Traore replied: "I would say definitely don't overthink. There's a lot of overthinking that happens when you're in the kitchen. There's a lot of being afraid to just learn about an ingredient, and really create something out of it." Traore explained his mission as a chef is to make cooking more approachable. "And so I think the most common thing is being afraid to dive in when in the kitchen, and learning to have a little more patience and understanding your ingredients, as they're talking to you," he said. The chef also recommended a couple of key ingredients to lean on as needed: butter and salt.

A mixologist's tips for the home bartender

Just as chef Traore is a master in the kitchen, Zahra Bates is a master of making a damn fine drink. And much like the chef said about cooking, her advice pertaining to making the best home cocktails also started with keeping things simple and learning about your ingredients. "I always say start simple," Bates said. "Pick one cocktail that has very few ingredients, and then master that one cocktail. Because one, you're having friends over, or you just want to sit and relax, keeping it simple is a great start. But once you get really good at making that one cocktail in that classic way, then you can start doing your take and your [own] twist on it." That mastery will pay off, Bates said. "That's what, when your friends come over, what they really want. They want to connect with you and hear your side of what this cocktail means. I think that that's the best advice that I can give. Do something classic first, and then put your twist on it."

And what ingredients did Bates recommend the home bartender keep on hand? The classics, of course. Including one specific spirit, not surprisingly, given her association. "Obviously, Courvoisier ... which is super versatile. Have one liqueur that can do a lot of different things. So something that's not super heavy, but something also, that's not super light. So something that can cover a lot of different things, maybe an orange liqueur, because it can draw out lots of different notes from different places. Simple syrup is the easiest thing that you can make ... And then bitters is where you can put your flare, and any kind of fresh fruit, so you can do a garnish."

Follow Chef Rōze Traore on Instagram and be sure to check out his collaboration with Courvoisier.