Changing things up in your kitchen with Andy Baraghani

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Barghani sets aside chicories and bitter greens as the days warm up, topping them with a variation of a ranch dressing that involves tahini. Photo by Graydon Herriot.

Eschewing early ambitions to be the next Al Pacino in favor of working at Chez Panisse, Andy Baraghani recalls Cal Peternell advising him to go to college instead of culinary school. Working his way up in professional kitchens around the country, Baraghani applies the simple rules he learned through the years in his new book, "The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress." He received a Beard Award in the General cookbook category.

What's the number one rule in Baraghani's kitchen? Forget consistency. "The lack of consistency — the idea of changing things up, changing the ingredients, changing your technique, changing your flavors — is so essential for me as a cook. It allows me to constantly evolve," he says.  

Developing recipes for variants of dishes he learned during his time at Estella and Chez Panisse, Baraghani has a way of making these dishes his own. During the warmer months, when he makes more salads, he dolls up ranch dressing with tahini and uses coconut flakes to sweeten and add toastiness to vegetables and meats.

Andy Baraghani shed his early dreams of becoming the next Al Pacino when he became curious about the intersection of cultures in cooking. Photo by Graydon Herriot.

Striving for consistency is one of the first rules to break in the home kitchen, says Andy Baraghani. His new book is "The Cook You Want to Be: Everyday Recipes to Impress." Photo courtesy of Lorena Jones Books.