Pros recall their worst food disasters

caramel disaster

Most of us have kitchen disaster tales about fallen cakes, grossly overcooked meats, or room-clearing smoke bombs. But we're in good company as even the pros have horror stories of food gone terribly wrong. NPR's The Salt talked to three culinary veterans - Ruth Reichl, Jacques Pépin, and Pati Jinich about their most embarrassing kitchen moments.

At least when we flub at home, we don't have an audience. Jacques Pépin wasn't that lucky; his biggest disaster occurred before a live television audience in the early '70s. Pépin "was supposed to make a soufflé. So he showed up, made the dish and put it in the oven. He had no way of checking on it. Pépin didn't notice, but the oven was set on the self-cleaning cycle and the temperature was a whopping 725 degrees.

"You've never seen a soufflé as black as this one, as burned," he said. "In fact, it was so black that the center was still liquid because it formed a crust. It didn't even cook in the center." Keep this in mind he next time you have a kitchen failure, and also remember Ruth Reichl's sage advice: "It's just a meal. There's always another one." 

Photo of diastrously burned caramel from the kitchen of Darcie Boschee

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