Cooking skills for foreign domestic helpers
Explaining your helper what you expect from her for cleaning, tidying up, taking care of your kids could be simple as long as you explain her in details how she should do. If you want her to cook with the tastes you like, may not be a simple task and it could probably take time for her to improve her cooking skills to prepare dishes suitable for your tastes. Of course, if you go to the grocery store yourself to buy food, basically she is not supposed to prepare ingredients you dislike. However, she still can make it too salty, too oily…
Here are some tips that could be useful for you and for your helper!
1) Prepare a recipe book and a list of the ingredients you dislike
You can prepare a detailed recipe book of the dishes you eat on regular basis. Write down all the steps she needs to follow (wash /cut/cook) with accurate quantities. For the helpers who are good enough, you don’t necessarily need to go into very detailed steps.
This book will amazingly help her organize your meals. Tell her in the morning what you want, and basically you will have your dinner all set after work. You can then only focus on your kids and other stuffs you need to take care at home. If you have plenty of recipes in the book, you can even organize your dinners for the whole week!
Make a separate list of the ingredients you dislike (or your food allergies!). If she is going to the supermarket to buy food for your family, at least she can follow this list to know exactly which ingredients she should avoid. Make also a separate list if you have kids. Your tastes may be different and your kids may not be able to eat the same food as yours…
You can of course keep on telling her what you don’t like to eat but she may forget and she can check the list whenever she needs. It seems more convenient.
2) Make a list of the brands you usually select for cooking
It will definitely help her choosing very sharply the food you are expecting, no surprise in terms of quality, taste and price as well! It does happen that some helpers would try to save your money and pick the first price items which may not suit you at all. On the other hand, others can select some premium ranges, and you could be surprised when you see the receipts. So having this list is really effective.
If you like organic foods, you should also mention it in your list. We all know how important healthy eating and organic foods are to us and our family. However, your helper may not understand the reasons (prices differences, avoid GMO, pesticides…). You really need to explain that choosing fresh foods can help you feel better and preserve the environment.
3) Go to the supermarket with your helper
Nothing will be more efficient than bringing her along with you when you go to the grocery stores. She will see what you put in your trolley, the brands, how you like the fresh vegetables and fruits (ripe or not), the origin of meat and poultry, frozen or fresh food. She will have a better understanding of the quantity you will buy.
While walking in the supermarket, you can explain to her why you would prefer this and how you are choosing it. Then, you give more chances for her to better monitor her next shopping.
Do it a few times, it really helps.
4) Cook a few times with her and let her taste
When you are cooking, she can stand next to you to see what good you are at cooking! It will be easier for her to visually see how much salt, pepper, oil you add in your pan. Even if you tell her you want the dishes to be less salty, we may not have the same standards about tastes. Besides your aim to make her improve her cooking, it is always a nice moment to share: have a little chat and discuss about different topics.
Then once you have prepared all your delicious dishes, make her taste them. She would probably prefer to eat her own food, but ask her to try. She can then understand the tastes you are used to, and she will try to cook the same way for you next time. It is also a way for her to discover new cuisine and dishes, how nice it is!
If you have no time to teach her, why not start her off with cooking classes specialised for domestic helpers? A lot of Chef are offering a wide array of courses for helpers including Chinese, Thai, French, Korean, Indian, Continental, Middle-Eastern, and more…
5) Give her regular feedbacks
If she has cooked some dishes you don’t really enjoy, you may feel embarrassed to tell her that you don’t like it. But not telling her will make her think that you are actually fine with her cooking, so not a good way if you want her to improve. Give her regular feedbacks without being too tough, she can totally understand.
Of course, if she did a great job, congratulate her also. It shall give her more motivation and perhaps she will try to be creative in her cooking! More tips on our blog!