My friend Sofia is a really good cook...
She says her secret ingredient is ginger. She's actually pretty secretive about it, don't tell her I told you. She adds it in whenever she uses onion and garlic.
She's really good at improvising, something I wish I could do. She'll cook up a fabulous pasta by saying, ok let's grill some peppers over here, and steam some broccoli and asparagus over there and squeeze in some beautifully cut lemons. All in a very nonchalant way. Then she'll serve it with exotic pomegranate juice and make you feel like you're in a gourmet restaurant.