When it comes to explaining great kitchen techniques and time-saving tips, Ina Garten can generally do no wrong.
But when it comes to making guacamole, her technique for keeping the beloved dip chunky is raising a few eyebrows.
In 2017, the Barefoot Contessa made some people scratch their heads when she revealed that she likes to use lots of fresh lemon (not lime!) juice to keep her guacamole green.
Recently, however, there is a new controversy swirling around the Food Network star's chopping technique for making the perfect guac.
During a classic segment of Garten's original show (which was recently resurfaced by BuzzFeed), she explains that she prefers her guacamole to have a chunkier texture. So, instead of mashing the avocados or even pureeing them, she uses a chef's knife to chop and hack away at the various ingredients.
"I don't puree it," she says in video. "All I do is cut into it just like this so it's really chunky. It mixes the ingredients together, and it stays really chunky."
She maintains that her little trick "is the secret to really good guacamole.”
While we’re all for chunky guacamole with bites of flavor that haven't been pulverized into an unsavory mash, the aggressive chopping technique Garten recommends in the video isn't necessarily recommended for people just starting out in the kitchen. Garten herself even admits that her technique could certainly damage a beloved bowl.
And plenty of chefs agree that if chunky guacamole is the ultimate goal, there are safer — and more efficient — ways to do it.
Use a pastry blender.
"The best and simplest way to mash your avocado without overdoing it and still leaving that chunky texture is to use a pastry blender," Alex Lopez, executive chef at Tijuana Picnic in New York City, told TODAY Food. "Just be sure not to smash too much."
Lopez recommends mashing the avocado first so any other ingredients like tomatoes or diced jalapenos don't get too mushy, either. Before serving, season your guac with lime juice and salt to taste, and mix everything together gently with a wooden spoon.
Use a criss-cross cut to get pre-made chunks.
While Frank Proto, a chef-instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, said that Garten's technique might look like fun, he admitted that it also "seems like a lot of work." Not everyone might be as adept as the Barefoot Contessa when it comes to using a knife and it looks like the blade could easily slip sideways.
Instead of chopping up avocado chunks in a bowl, Proto prefers to chunk up the green flesh when it's still in the shell. "Normally when I make chunky guacamole, I split and seed my avocados, then score them with a paring knife in a criss cross pattern while they are in the skin," Proto said. "Then just squeeze them out of the skin into a bowl, add my other ingredients and serve. Much easier and less dangerous.”
Use your hands.
When it comes to making plenty of dishes, a lot of chefs swear by utilizing mankind's original tools: our hands. “I’d totally advise against it,” chef George Cain of Gahnzalez in Sumter, South Carolina, said of Garten's in-bowl chopping. “I say get dirty! Use your hands with gloves or without, just make sure your hands are clean! Ina’s technique is unnecessary and will ruin your bowl and your knife.”
Invest in a mortar and pestle.
Using a mortar and pestle is one of the most classic methods for making traditional guacamole. Samin Nosrat loves using them for a flavorful pesto, too!
Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya's executive chef Miguel Gómez Vázquez told TODAY that he definitely doesn't recommended cutting avocado directly in a bowl either, however, he's also not a fan of super chunky guacamole. Home cooks should invest in a molcajete, a traditional Mexican stone mortar and pestle, said Vázquez. He believes that stone smashing all of the ingredients together will give you a dip that's perfectly melded together, with great seasoning in each bite.