1. Learn what you like.

Go to a lot of restaurants. Learn styles of food that you enjoy.

2. Use onions.

Add one sliced onion to pretty much every savory dish you cook, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. I’m serious about this. Eventually you will learn to discriminate, but for now, just go crazy with the onions. This will make an enormous difference in the deliciousness of everything you make.

You can do this with garlic too.

3. Learn a basic recipe by heart and adjust it.

Find something you can make easily and don’t mind eating often, and play with it. Adjustments you could make include adding onions, garlic, oil, butter, cumin, thyme, or black pepper. See if you can distinguish the difference in flavor. Learn what you like.

4. Use lots of heat.

Heat causes two flavor reactions: the Maillard reaction and caramelization. Both are indicated by browning. You usually want lots of these to occur when cooking pretty much anything. You’ll only get it with high temperatures or waiting a long time, and you’re impatient, aren’t you? :)

5. Cut meat small.

If you cut your meat into small pieces, you’ll be sure it’s done on the inside when it’s brown on the outside. (See #4.) If your meat is in large chunks, the temperature control is much harder. If you want to cook large-chunk meat, try experimenting with sous vide.

6. Combine tomatoes and wine.

If you’re cooking with tomatoes, add a little wine to the dish.