Gourmet cooking may seem inaccessible, something only wealthy people can enjoy, or even intimidating. There's no reason to feel this way about it. If you're interesting in gourmet cooking, that's the most important part. If you've never tried gourmet cooking before, don't be afraid. With a little trial and error and a sense of adventure, you can get into gourmet cooking. You know the difference between what you like to eat and what you don't, right? And you can tell what quality tastes like, right? Then you have the necessary tools to be an amateur gourmet.
To begin with, what makes a certain style of cooking "gourmet"? Gourmet cooking utilizes fresh, high quality ingredients. Take something common like garlic, for example. You can buy dry powdered garlic in the spice aisle at any grocery store. The gourmet will avoid this, though. They'll even walk by the jars of chopped garlic. Only freshly chopped garlic will do for the gourmet cook. Another example is basil. Let's say you have a recipe calling for basil. Again, you could get a jar of dried basil flakes from the spice aisle, or you can find fresh bagged basil leaves in the produce section. Gourmet recipes will prefer the fresh stuff. Better yet, grow your own! Whenever possible, if you can use ingredients you grew yourself, you'll find that they make a world of difference in the taste of your gourmet experiments.
Another word for gourmets is "epicurean". An epicurean is someone who likes only the finest food and drink. Or you can describe a gourmet as a "connoisseur". Like an epicurean, connoisseurs are people who know what's good and what isn't.
To get into gourmet cooking, there are a few ways you can go about learning how. Most obvious are books. Your local bookstore will have plenty of selections on cooking for novices. Don't be intimidated. There's tons of help out there for the newbie. Often grocery stores will have books which are meant to introduce you to gourmet cooking. They'll cover all the basics starting with describing all the different knives you can use to how to clarify butter and make stock.
Another resource for the budding gourmet chef is local restaurants. Nobody's going to give away their secrets but just by going out to eat in nice restaurants every so often and trying things you've never had before, you'll develop a broader range in taste and expand your knowledge of food. Don't be afraid to ask your server to describe an item to you which you don't know about. Ask what goes into the sauce. Ask what's sprinkled on top. Take mental notes and give it a try at home.
Of course you can always finds tons of information on the internet. The internet is chock full of information of all sorts and gourmet cooking is no exception. Innumerable sites provide recipes and cooking advice. Countless forums have been set up to aid the novice and give the experts a place to trade tips and recipes. Don't be afraid to go online and ask questions. Make sure you read what you can before posting questions, but rest assured that there are lots of people out there who are willing to provide advice.
Once you've decided to give a gourmet recipe a try, you may find that your local supermarkets don't have all the ingredients you need. Whenever possible, shop locally but if you can't find what you need there are a number of online food stores which will ship fresh food to your doorstop at a reasonable rate. Yes, gourmet ingredients tend to cost more but their quality and great taste will make it all worth it when your friends and family are being blown away by your latest excursion into gourmet deliciousness!