8 Tools Everyone Needs in Their Kitchen, According to Chefs
Do you have eight?
Liudmila Chernetska/Getty Images
Do you consider yourself a serious home chef? Or are you just in the market for some new kitchen equipment? With so many different options to choose from, it’s hard to know which tools really make a difference when you’re trying to cook a special meal.
So we asked professional chefs what they use at home and at work. Their answers are both helpful and surprising. Here are eight tools that everyone needs in their kitchen, according to the experts.
Related: These 10 Cool Kitchen Products Will Up Your Cooking Game
Stainless steel cookware
There are many types of cookware available, but Chef Sydney Willcox of Restaurant Associates tells me that stainless steel is the best choice for home cooking. “It’s a good conductor of heat and a thick material, so it’s very effective at cooking at high temperatures and keeping that high heat. It’s also extremely durable and can last a lifetime if properly maintained,” says Willcox.
Another reason to go with stainless steel cookware? It can be used to cook anything because it is a non-reactive material. “It will lend itself particularly well to foods that do better at high temperatures, such as steak, or any time you want to achieve a golden brown or caramelization,” explains the chef.
As for specific pieces, she recommends a classic pan between 9 and 12 inches with slanted sides, a roasting pan, an 8-quart soup or stock pot, and a 4-quart soup pot.
Related: How to clean stainless steel surfaces and appliances without chemicals
Having trouble slicing or cutting vegetables? Chef Fernando Navas, executive chef and owner of BALVANERA in New York advises keeping a Benriner Japanese mandolin in your kitchen. “I discovered it while working at Nobu and it’s been one of my go-tos ever since. It is super light and precise and easy to work with. It’s also super sharp. You can use it on anything,” he explains.
But Navas is not the only chef touting this tool. Executive chef Amy Sur-Trevino at Ferry + Main in New Hope, Pennsylvania is also a fan and calls it her favorite. “The Benriner mandoline comes with a variety of easily adjustable blades for different needs – staying sharp longer to provide the perfect cut for any dish.”
Want to make margaritas or just blow up a glass of water? Navas suggests keeping a metal lime juicer on hand. “At home, our simple, metal lime juicer takes the prize; margarita magic.” These tools are easy to store and clean and are relatively inexpensive.
A reliable blender
Whether you’re making a smoothie or soup, everyone needs a blender. Sur-Trevino likes the Vitamix Ascent series. “This blender can cover almost every recipe in our arsenal. Ideal for the perfect sauce consistency. Also great for soups, smoothies, dips or frozen desserts,” says Sur-Trevino.
A sharp knife
There is nothing more frustrating than trying to cook with a dull knife. Vasiliki Vourliotaki, executive chef at Kellari Tavern tells me, “Walking into a kitchen without a properly sharpened knife is like going to war without a weapon.”
A Dutch Oven
Vourliotaki also thinks everyone needs a Dutch oven in their kitchen. They are excellent multitaskers. “These pots can do the same job as a casserole or a saucepan. You can boil, steam, poach or even bake! The perfect slow cooker too. The lid helps keep all the moisture in the pot, so it’s great for moist-heat cooking,” she says.
Serious home chefs know the importance of food presentation. Executive Chef Matteo Limoli at Hudson House in New Jersey recommends the Paderno 30cm Tong. “These are the perfect tongs to help you quickly border any long-shaped pasta while giving the most sophisticated presentation,” says Limoli.
Who doesn’t love cheese on top of a salad or a fresh bowl of pasta? Executive Chef Joseph Tartamella at Felina in New Jersey recommends using a microplane grater/grater. “I like to use one to grate cheeses like Pecorino and Parmigiano, which give cheese a snowy effect when flattened.”
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