As a chef de cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Scottsdale, Chef John Deflieze can whip up a few dishes some at-home cooks would have trouble pronouncing.
For a recent interview, however, we asked Deflieze to tackle some foods most chefs aren't known for.
"I've served dinners before with caviar and lobster" Deflieze says, "and [customers] start talking about the macaroni and cheese."
From his experience as a chef and from personal experimentation, Deflieze has learned tricks to enhance basic foods that can be done in most home kitchens.
"I think a lot of people want the food we grew up with, but high-end," he says.
We agree, and asked Chef Deflieze to share some advice on how to add some spice to dishes Mom used to make.
Check out tips from Chef Deflieze on how to improve some simple foods after the jump...
Grilled Cheese The best grilled cheese starts with, well, the cheese. An aged cheddar or a bleu cheese are both good candidates and Bruschetta ham is the best meat to pair it with.
Macaroni and Cheese If you have leftover mac and cheese lying around your fridge for a day, try freezing it, then cutting it into one-inch cubes. Afterward, you can follow a "basic breading procedure" (like the one found here) and, with access to a deep fryer, cook up some fried mac n' cheese.
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Tuna Salad Tossing in some sunflower seeds, daikon sprouts, and carrots can give your tuna salad some much-needed texture and taste.
Tomato Soup Make sure you're using soft, vine-ripened tomatoes when making tomato soup from scratch. Past that, adding a dash of roasted garlic is the simplest way to add some flavor to your soup.
Meatballs Adding a cup of oatmeal to every 3 pounds of ground beef used to make meatballs helps the meat expand and creates a pleasant, full taste.
Barbecue A lot of barbecue foods, including baby back ribs, can have some zest added to them by using gochujang, a Korean sauce, as a marinade.