- Sarah Carey, the editorial food director for Martha Stewart Living, has been making popular recipes with Martha Stewart for nearly two decades.
- Carey shared with Business Insider the 10 most helpful tips she’s received from the culinary and home icon.
If you’ve had a slab pie recently, you can probably thank Sarah Carey.
Carey, who is now the editorial food director for Martha Stewart Living, gave Business Insider insight into the nearly two decades’ worth of wisdom she’s received from Stewart.
In Carey’s own words, here are the 10 most helpful tips and pieces of advice she’s learned from the culinary and home icon.
1. Always taste your food while you cook
This is the first lesson Martha ever taught me. The very first segment I did for her was a white asparagus recipe with an orange sauce. I made the whole thing and followed the recipe as it was written in the magazine. At the end of the segment she bit into the asparagus, and she looked at me. She said, “This is really tough, did you taste this?” I was speechless and realized I hadn’t tasted it, and it’s an extremely, extremely important thing when you’re cooking.
2. Surround yourself with the best
One thing I have always said about Martha, she chooses the people she works with very carefully. She finds highly motivated, detail oriented, hard working and most of all, talented people to surround herself with. That is something I strive to do in my kitchen. Find people who want to and are capable of doing the quality of work that we require. It’s very challenging, but finding the best team is so rewarding.
3. Know why you’re doing something
- Peter Kramer / Getty Images
The biggest lesson I learned when I was working on the show with Martha was to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Even if Martha doesn’t agree with it, she wants you to have a good understanding of why you’re doing something. You shouldn’t do something blindly because a recipe said so or because someone told you to do so. You should do it because it’s the best choice. Everyone should have that in life.
4. Elevate the everyday
- Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for The Michaels Companies
When Martha started a magazine about living, she focused on the basic things that people want and need, and she improved people’s lives. By elevating both the small (what do you keep your dish soap in?) to large (what color should you paint your home?), she took those ideas and made them bigger by entering into the revolutionary Kmart deal. A person with such a high level of taste was creating amazing products at all price points. Want to live the “Martha Stewart” life? You can, and you can get them from Martha by Mail, Kmart, or Macy’s.
5. Make it useful
There’s a lot of philosophies we embody as a company, and they all come from her. One of her core philosophies is make it useful. She wants it to be useful to all of our readers and our viewers. For example, take a roast chicken. For many people, this isn’t their first time cooking one, so we want to provide them with new insights that will pique their interest, new flavor profiles, etc. For the beginner, we break it down so they will be successful and happy even if it’s their first.
6. Everyone is a teacher AND a student, even Martha
- Daniel Boczarski/Getty Images
She is a very curious person. She just wants to know what you’re doing, and she’s a legend, so of course, that makes people nervous. But she is just an inquisitive person. I learned that when your done learning, you’re done. Be curious. Ask questions. Keep learning. But also, share what you know.
7. Get the right tool for the job
- Flickr/Cindy Shebley
Don’t try to roast a turkey in a flimsy roasting pan. Don’t dig a hole with a shovel that is too short. Pick the right tools, and every job will be done quicker, more efficiently and most importantly, better. That doesn’t necessarily always mean the most expensive either. Our favorite peeler in the kitchen is the Y peeler. It’s one of the least expensive but does the job better than any other. Same for wooden spoons; all those fancier spoons don’t do the job as well as the one you buy from the restaurant supply store!
8. How to seed a pomegranate
- Lentilka/ Shutterstock
To quickly and easily seed a pomegranate you bang on the round side of a halved pomegranate, allowing the seeds to drop into a bowl. Martha loves pomegranates. We all do. They are delicious, they are beautiful, and they are very on brand. Until we learned this method, we didn’t know a good and easy, quick way to get them out. She learned this from a friend of hers who has a pomegranate company, POM Wonderful, and then she showed us how to do it.
9. Work clean and organized
Work clean by keeping a wet cloth and dry towel on your workspace. Keep your kitchen organized and neat and your counter clutter free. When cooking, clean as you go. Keep a scrap bowl on the table for vegetable odds and ends.
10. Don’t be wasteful
Martha grew up with parents who gardened and who were very, very aware of not wasting money or food and taking care of the products they had. So Martha and I are both huge fans of preserving. We do not like things to go to waste. Some of my favorite memories with her are going up to her house at the end of the summer and making jam together. She grows a lot of raspberries and other fruits. She just planted cherries, and those are my favorite.