Ask Lou: How to get over the fear of cooking a bad meal

Today I’m answering a question submitted to my Ask Lou mailbox: How can I get over the fear of not cooking perfect meals. AKA how can I get over the fear of cooking a bad meal.

At the end of the day, we all make mistakes. It’s a part of being human (and not a robot). But there’s a fine line between a kitchen disaster which cannot be fixed and a flop that’s sneakily covered up with some genius ingredients. You need kitchen wins to spur on your enthusiasm for cooking, otherwise what’s the point? But there is magic in the mess of a failed meal and this is how I suggest you get over the fear of cooking a bad meal.


  • Why messing up your meal is important and the key to your kitchen success
  • My secret ‘Dude Food’ toppings that can get a meal over the line in my house
  • The best ingredients to ‘save’ a failed meal


Here are some additional tips to help you overcome your fear and become a more confident cook:

  1. Start with simple recipes: Begin with simple recipes that have few ingredients and are easy to follow. This will help you build your confidence and skills in the kitchen.
  2. Follow the recipe: you may know by now, I’m not so keen on recipes. I see them as the ‘training wheels’ of cooking. But if you’re lacking skills, they are a great place to start. Please note – they’re NEVER the end goal. Follow the recipe carefully, paying attention to measurements, cooking times, and any special instructions. This will help ensure that your dish turns out as intended.
  3. Practice: You MUST cook to get better at cooking. There’s no way around it. You can watch all the pretty Insta reels but until you chop that onion and sautee it in a pan, you’re not reallly getting any better or more comfortable in the kitchen. Confidence is everything in the kitchen. Try to cook something new every week or so to challenge yourself and build your skills.
  4. Accept mistakes: Accept that mistakes will happen. They are a natural part of the learning process. Don’t be too hard on yourself if a dish doesn’t turn out perfectly – instead, use it as an opportunity to learn and improve for next time. My best tips for this are in the video above.
  5. Get feedback: Okay – this one is tricky. We don’t want to place the final verdict on the other people around our dinner table. Sometimes we focus TOO MUCH on them and this is why we’re lacking kitchen confidence in the first place. Ask for feedback from family and friends who try your dishes OR listen to what they’re saying or not saying around the dinner table already. I also believe we can do this ourselves without involving them whatsoever. And look, we don’t want to ignore their opinion and needs for life. But ignoring them can help you find your path again, especially if you’re finding cooking tough. This can help you identify areas for improvement and build your confidence.
  6. Have fun! Cook what you’re excited to cook and what you love to eat. Remember that cooking should be a fun and enjoyable experience. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things, and enjoy the process of creating something delicious in the kitchen.



Hey I'm Lou

Hey, I’m Lou

Lover of crispy bacon, homemade popcorn and Mama to BJ.  I’m here to empower you to cook delicious and doable meals for the modern day – even when you’re busy.

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