The Laws of Cooking, Entertaining, and Halloween Candy

Celebrity chef and Food Network Star Season 8 winner Justin Warner returns to the Clever Cookstr to answer questions about his new book, The Laws of Cooking...and How to Break Them. He also shares some Halloween tricks and tips for fall entertaining.

Kara Rota
2-minute read
Episode #73

Justin's new cookbook, The Laws of Cooking...and How to Break Them teaches you how to be inventive in the kitchen by understanding flavor combinations and why they work. We talked with Justin about the Eleven Laws, his tips for a great party, and his Halloween highlights. Here are some of his kitchen laws:


1) Never run out of flour, eggs, or salt. You'll hit dead ends often if you're missing any of these versatile ingredients. 

2) Cumin is an undersung staple of the spice cabinet. It works both with rich, earthy flavors that echo it and with fresh citrus to offset it.

3) From a few rudimentary elements, you can create complex flavors. Check out Justin's recipes for Twice Baked New Potatoes and Salty Mezcal and Cheese to see the laws illustrated with simple ingredients.


1) The rice cooker. It makes rice without a recipe and without fail.They also work to steam things and to keep things warm, like tacos wrapped in foil. 

2) The immersion blender. It allows you to make pureed soup without mess and with less dishes to wash. 

3) Slow cookers. In addition to being excellent for winter soups and stews, they are great for keeping food warm during a party.


1) Control the playlist! Decide what music you want to play and hide the controls. You don't necessarily want every festive party guest to DJ.

2) Take the opportunity to clean out your fridge! If you have a ton of leftover almond flour or enough avocado for a half cup of guacamole, turn those gems into party supplies with creative recipes.

3) When you're cooking for a big crowd, do as much prep work as possible ahead of time. If you can get food two-thirds of the way cooked, you'll have much less to do when your guests arrive.

4) Cook in batches to order if you're grilling or making food that should be eaten hot. Cook in spurts, let people eat, take a break to hang out, and then cook some more. 

Listen to the whole episode in the player on this page, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher, to hear Justin's favorite Halloween plans, how he makes candy out of leftover mashed potatoes, and many more tips and tricks.

For even more great cooking tips and recipes from Justin Warner, you can purchase The Laws of Cooking...and How to Break Them on AmazonBarnes & NobleBAMApple, and Indiebound.

Images courtesy of Daniel Krieger.

About the Author

Kara Rota

Kara Rota headed children’s programming at Chicago’s Green City Market and studied food politics at Sarah Lawrence College. Kara has been a featured speaker at numerous venues including Food Book Fair, the Roger Smith Food Conference, and the Brooklyn Food Conference. She has written about food for Irish America Magazine, West Side Rag, Recipe Relay, and Food + Tech Connect, and is the former Director of Editorial & Partnerships at Cookstr.com.