In early 2009, we posted a survey asking people about their kitchen skills. As it turned out, the majority of those who took it needed a primer on knives and more practice in the art of cooking a perfect steak.

Now, Nikki Elkins, head chef and kitchen manager for "The Martha Stewart Show," answers these common questions.

The Perfect Steak

Begin by letting the meat come to room temperature. Season the meat heavily with salt and pepper. Heat a grill pan over high heat, then lower to medium-high. Simple, decorative grill marks will enhance your presentation. To "mark" your meat, place it on the hot grill pan at an angle; when marks appear, rotate the steak one quarter turn, flip, and repeat.

The thickness of a steak determines its cooking time -- for a 1-inch-thick steak, grill about 7 to 8 minutes for medium-rare meat. A digital thermometer can be used to check the meat's internal temperature, which should be 125 degrees. (For more information on meat temperatures, download this temperature chart from "Martha Stewart's Cooking School.") Remove steak from heat, and let rest. Slice steak across grain.


There are at least three must-have knives: a chef's knife, a paring knife, and a serrated knife. Basic cuts are easy to perfect with a little practice. To slice, push the knife away from you in a quick, downward motion. When chopping, rock the knife up and down, raising its heel no more than an inch.

GE Monogram

People are always asking what appliances we use on "The Martha Stewart Show." Here at the studio, we use a GE Monogram pro range.


Get more valuable cooking tips with these Cooking School Lessons.

Comments (2)

Martha Stewart Member
January 8, 2019
Hi Martha ~ I ABSOLUTELY LOVE your recipe "The Potatoes are Better Than the Chicken ~ I would like to make the same recipe using a Butterflied or Spatchcock Chicken and I'd like to know the difference in temperature and cooking time ~ Can you help me with that please~ I work aroad and can't check the internet often so if you would please send it to my email address here, I would GREATLY appreciate it and I could see it as soon as I'm back on the internet~ If you post this somewhere I'd appreciate it if you would remove my email address~ THANK YOU so much~
Martha Stewart Member
December 12, 2017
where can I find a link to contact M.S. cooks/helper on a cookie recipe? I really need help on the Espresso cookie she made in 1998 :)