Cooking Oil: A Chef’s Secret Weapon

Is cooking oil really a chef’s secret weapon? One of the Best Chefs in America, Michael Pruett and celebrity chef Ingrid Hoffmann think so. Both agree that the cooking oil they use is not only a healthy choice for frying foods, but the right choice for bringing out the sumptuous flavor of dishes they prepare. Which cooking oils do these famous chefs prefer and why?

Ingrid Hoffmann’s Secret for Food That’s Simply Delicioso

The Food Network’s “Simply Delicioso” show host is passionate about food. Ingrid Hoffmann’s mother is a Cordon Bleu chef and Ingrid discovered the joy of cooking at an early age. Now a successful restaurateur and author, Ingrid shares her creative flair and culinary creations with millions.

You might think that a professional chef like Ingrid Hoffmann cooks with exotic oils and ingredients to create the delicately balanced flavors in her signature Latin American style dishes, but her cooking oil choice may surprise you. Ingrid prefers corn oil. Why corn oil? Corn oil’s mild flavor enhances the real flavor of food without overpowering it. It has a high smoke point that makes it an ideal all-purpose choice for stir-frying, baking, grilling and sautéing.

A recent study, conducted by Biofortis and led by researcher Dr. Kevin C. Maki, compared the cholesterol lowering effects of corn oil and extra-virgin olive oil. The findings presented to the American Society for Nutrition’s Advances & Controversies in Clinical Nutrition showed that corn oil actually outperformed extra-virgin olive oil when it came to lowering overall cholesterol by a ratio of 8.2 percent to 1.8 percent. According to Ingrid, healthy and delicious cooking is a combination of simple ingredients and the right choices. The American Heart Association lists corn oil as one of the staples in a well-stocked pantry and it’s Ingrid’s “go-to” choice for frying.

How One of the Best Chef’s in America Fries Fish

Madison’s Cento Ristorante is an Italian restaurant that puts a modern spin on Old World traditions. Cento’s chef Michael Pruett was recently named one of the Best Chefs in America. His philosophy of using farm-to-table ingredients and wood burning ovens treats guests to a unique culinary experience. Cento’s emphasis may be on Italian cuisine, but in a nod to its Wisconsin locale, the menu wouldn’t be complete without fried fish.

What is Michael’s oil of choice for creating delectable fried fish recipes? It’s cottonseed oil. Cottonseed oil has a neutral flavor that doesn’t impart a greasy taste or feel to food, which is an essential quality when frying cod, whitefish and walleye. Michael uses cottonseed oil for other dishes as well, including seared juicy steaks, cooked-to-order pork tenderloins and vegetables such as broccoli, squash and asparagus. Cottonseed oil is also an essential ingredient in Cento’s authentic Italian vinaigrette recipe, balancing the strong olive oil flavor to perfection.


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