Correspondent Ruth Samuelson has been dispatched to scan the brains of the world’s most prolific unfamous cooks, in search of ways to improve your culinary existence.

The following tip comes from Monica Thomas, a personal chef who does everything from prepared meals for families to cooking for dinner parties to teaching a personal-chef class at the Art Institute of Washington.

*Killer chefs love creme anglaise, a custard that consists of whole milk, vanilla bean, egg yolk, and sugar. It makes for a great little treat-ey puddle in which to place a pastry. It takes about 25 minutes to make. Shortcut: Just buy some Haagen Dazs vanilla ice cream. Allow to melt. Serve.