If you’re a home chef who wants to upgrade your kitchen and cooking skills by trying new recipes, you should know where to look for the right advice. It’s time to take your cooking to the next level with help from the best of the best. Chef Jordan Andino (@@fork_knife) is a master at creating delicious meals with quality ingredients. Luckily, he shares his secrets with RiceSelect® to help you do the same.

Read on to find out why choosing quality ingredients matter: discover the secrets of selection and what it takes to cook like a pro.

Why is it Important to Use Quality Ingredients When Cooking?

Even if you’re a world class chef, you’ll need more than just your cooking skills to put together a good meal. Quality ingredients are vital: not only do ingredients at their peaks taste better, but they are also more likely to retain their beneficial properties. By ensuring your ingredients are up to a high standard, you’re already halfway there in preparing a dish that's rich in flavor and even more visually appealing.

5 Tips for Choosing Fresh Ingredients

Knowing how to select fresh items just takes a little practice.. Here’s a quick guide to help you the next time you’re at the grocery store or farmer’s market.

1. Vegetables: The freshest vegetables are firm with no soft spots. They’re also more fragrant and flavorful. To tell whether your veggies are ripe, take a look at their color: bright, vibrant colors mean they're at their peak and ready to eat.

2. Fruit: Picking fruit is a similar task to picking the right vegetables. Fruit, however, is generally softer, which means it’s quicker to show signs of going bad. Avoid fruit that’s bruised or shows other defects on its skin.

3. Eggs: Check your eggs carefully – make sure none of them are cracked, as this can let bacteria in. You may also want to look out for the USDA grade mark or shield – this is verification that the eggs meet quality and size standards.

4. Seafood: Always buy seafood from reputable dealers. When choosing a fish, make sure it has clear and shiny eyes, firm flesh, red gills with no bad smell. Filets should also be firm with red blood lines. For a quick freshness test, press down on the flesh of a fish and wait for it to spring back. As for shellfish, make sure that the catch is fresh or head to the freezer aisle. Thanks to IQF technology, flash-frozen shrimp may be your freshest option!

5. Meat: Firstly, check that the packaging has no tears or holes. Then, you have to use your senses to make sure you’re getting a choice cut: the meat should feel firm and cold. Also, make sure there's no unpleasant smell coming from it. Chef Jordan Cooking Tip: “Whenever you’re cooking any sort of meat, make sure it sits at room temperature for about fifteen to thirty minutes. That way, it’ll cook much more evenly.”

Expert Tips from Chef Jordan Andino

If you want to make the most out of your high-quality ingredients, brush up on exclusive tips from Chef Jordan Andino before getting started on one of his irresistible recipes.

Top Pantry Essential: Rice

Throughout Jordan’s upbringing, there was one key ingredient that was always on the table: “You actually couldn’t have a meal without rice,” he says. “It accompanied fried pork belly, chicken adobo, lechon, and so much more, no matter the time of day, from 5:00 a.m. ‘til 12:00 a.m.” Chef Jordan loves rice because it allows him to unleash his creativity, referring to grains as a “perfect blank canvas.”

Of course, he’s not content with just any rice. As a chef, he examines the aromatic weight of the rice, the length of the grain, the capacity to rehydrate, and the cooking time. He uses RiceSelect® at home because “it's a proper chef ingredient,” living up to the high standards he maintains for himself, his friends and family, and the guests at his restaurants.

“RiceSelect® makes it easy, because it cuts out any doubt I have. I understand what the final product will be. That kind of consistency allows me to not have to worry.”

Equally important is knowing the optimal time to use ingredients. Chef Jordan always tries to use rice that’s a day or two old when making fried rice because it’s better than freshly-made rice at soaking up all the flavors. In fact, he explains, “if you really want to spice up some rice, if you’re making anything Asian, make the rice, let it sit for an hour then throw in some fresh coconut milk and mix it all together. It tastes delicious.”

So now that you've gathered all of your high-quality ingredients, It's time to cook something spectacular! For inspiration, look no further than Chef Jordan Andino's tried and true recipes.

Royal Blend® Root Vegetable Bowl

Chef Jordan Andino's Root Vegetable Rice Bowl, made with RiceSelect® Royal Blend® Rice, is rich with blissful veggies including parsnips and butternut squash. For this recipe, Chef Jordan heads to the farmers market, knowing exactly how to select his produce. For parsnips, be sure to look for small to medium ones, around 5 to 10 inches in length. Try to avoid any that are limp or shriveled; the points should be firm and acute.


The Chef himself makes sure to cut the veggies into similar-sized pieces before smothering them in some butter and/or oil. Not only will the vegetables cook evenly, but the flavors will also be enhanced. Why stop there? Splash in some liquid - such as water, stock, wine, or beer - until the veggies are tender for even more flavor. Aim for them to be soft yet with texture and bite.

Chicken, Apple and Parsley Tri-Color Quinoa Salad

Chef Jordan Andino's fall-inspired Chicken, Apple and Parsley Tri-Color Quinoa Salad Recipe begins with a tri-color quinoa base, finely-cooked chicken, crisp apple, and fresh parsley.

In the market, Chef Jordan takes care when choosing the right chicken, knowing that it should be pinkish. Also, it shouldn’t have bruises or rips in the skin, which can impact the flavor and freshness.

What is Tri-Color Quinoa?

When making this recipe, Chef Jordan opts for RiceSelect® Tri-Color Quinoa, a nutty-flavored combination of organic white, black, and red quinoa with a fluffy yet firm texture. Quinoa can be an excellent complement to a vegan or gluten-free dish, providing a wealth of nutritional benefits.

When home chefs want to get creative in the kitchen, they know to use fresh, ripe, and ready, and rice that is trusted by a world-class chef. With high-quality ingredients like RiceSelect® grains, you're well on your way to an unforgettable meal.