When money gets tight and eating out is just too much of a strain on one’s finances, home cooking is the answer! Or so the professional chef, Bobby Rahman, recommends! In the interview below, Chef Rahman shares tips on cooking on a budget: Hello! Thank you very much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us! Why don’t we start with a self-introduction?
Bobby Rahman: It is no problem! And okay — my name is Bobby. Bobby Rahman.
I work as a professional chef at one of Canada’s most renowned restaurants (which just recently earned its Three Michelin stars). We specialize in authentic Canadian cuisine — which encompasses a variety of different cooking styles (from English, French, Scottish, and Indigenous) and celebrates the ingredients that we cultivate here in our homeland.
Now, to move on to our topic for the day, which is tips for cooking on a budget! Do you find yourself cooking often outside of work?
Bobby Rahman: Yes! It is harder sometimes, of course, to find the will to cook after spending all day and night already slaving away in front of a hot stove, but cooking has always been a passion of mine, so I do it as often as I can.
How do you manage your meal planning in the midst of your long work hours?
Bobby Rahman: It’s a bit like menu planning on a restaurant. It’s a good way of exploring new and different recipes and it helps save money too.
Find Recipes: First, I look through my cookbooks, my recipe books, or online sources to pick out a variety of different recipes that I want to try for the week or the following weeks. I like to find as many as I can at this stage so that I have a lot to choose from later. Pick Recipes: After finding the recipes that I want to try;
Grocery Shopping: With my meal plan and a list of ingredients in hand, I then go to the grocery store to buy everything as fresh as I can.
What other tips do you have for using less money while at the grocery store?
Create a grocery budget!
Once you have your grocery list prepared, create a budget for yourself to limit your spending by keeping yourself shopping for food items only.
Shop for in-season produce!
Not only are there usually good deals on bulk fresh produce that are in season, but they come in larger quantities too! So, you can cook on a budget even while enjoying the fresh produce in your meals the season has to offer.
Buying in bulk will help ensure that the prices of the products you buy remain comparatively cheaper. It will also give you a good working stock — should you need it for future recipe ideas.
Buy cheaper brand products!
Pay attention to the price tags on your grocery items and go for the inexpensive ones occasionally. If you end up not liking the quality, you can exchange it for the better-quality ones next week. By doing it this way, you can try out cheaper ingredients to see if it’s worth the extra money to buy the more expensive brand product.
Plan for leftovers!
Take into account what leftovers you think you will have throughout the week. That should give you an idea of what your grocery bill should be like.
What are the benefits of cooking on a budget?
Bobby Rahman: With these tips for cooking on a budget, I hope to have encouraged your readers to eat healthier and be more mindful of what they cook and eat.
Cheaper food does not equal bad food. So, keep up on it! If you must, try to remind yourself that this is good for you. After all, you can cook healthy meals to eat for yourself and your family while protecting your budget and exploring recipe after recipe to further your progression in the culinary arts.
Do you have any other last-minute tips for our readers that can help them save money while cooking at home?
Bobby Rahman: Have faith and start slow! Cook food that you know you will enjoy and learn from any lessons that might have come up in your last week. At the same time, remember that this isn’t something that you can really get perfect on the first try. Instead, it should be something that you keep perfecting a bit at a time.