- Set of Knives
Many households in their kitchen have bread knives and simple steak knives. Yet, they’re not going to get you far as a chef. You’re going to want to invest in a great set of knives. Make sure the package comes with at least a chef’s knife, a bread knife, and a paring knife. Without good knives, it will take you a bit longer to chop and cut the ingredients off.
- Knife honer
Now that you’ve got a great, expensive set of knives, it’s important to make it last. First, do not cut on glass, porcelain, metal, anything frozen solid (you get the idea), because it ruins and chips the tip of the blade. Second, you need to have a honer, and you need to know how to use it. A honer is thereto re-align the tip of your knife, and if you’re concerned about cooking and preparing precision and control in the kitchen, you can hone your knives every time they’re used. While many of them are made of steel, a fine-grained ceramic honer can be good if you’ve never used one before, as it will do less harm to the knife if you really get it wrong.
- Kitchen Tongs
Go to any restaurant, and you’ll see the cooks on the restaurant line carrying the tongs of the kitchen. These are used to fry food, to turn over food when it hits the oven (and even to help remove hot pans from the oven). I also use them to put the finished food on the plate. They’re a workhorse, and I’ve used a lot of them in my life, and my favorite one is a high tensile steel model with a joint bent instead of a spring and pin system. I also like the variant that has a silicone handle material with no slip and also some heat-resistant protection.
- Fry pan
Fry pans are the essentials of every great kitchen. They’re pricey, but they’re made to last. Bonded steel is a great material to be cooked in, providing even heat distribution and true longevity. It’s really useful for everything from cooking meat to pan-frying vegetables to making omelets. Gently sloping sides give you easier time turning and removing food than straight-sided pans, and plenty of opportunity to practice tossing food like a pro. There’s also a non-stick version of the pan.
The Mandolin is a tool that has been used in every professional kitchen that I have worked in. There is still no replacement for the ability to make precise cuts with a knife, but when speed is required, the mandolin can be an important addition to your tool chest.
You’ll most likely find a French mandolin in a professional kitchen; it’s a stainless steel appliance that rests on the countertop and can cost as much as three to four hundred dollars. This usually has a few blade choices and can cut vegetables as thin as paper It can also cut julienne vegetables and, with the turn of the knob, cut French potatoes. There are cheaper plastic types for the home cook. They usually also have various blade types.
- Prep bowls
If you haven’t internalized the idea of “mise-en-place” yet, that’s your homework. “Mise-en-place” means everything in its place that is so necessary in the “busy kitchen.” Even when “busy kitchen” means children playing around and dogs barking, you should have everything you need at your fingertips This way, you shouldn’t run around cutting stuff or picking ingredients while everything else is overco.
- A Large Food Processor
From salsa to pie crusts, shredding cheese and grinding nuts with a food processor is one of those things that makes life easier. Sure, you can use a blender for some of these items as well, but not all of them, and there are some things where you just want to add additional real estate to the food processor. Not to mention all the slicing capabilities of an extra food processor add-on.
- Pasta Strainer
We used large stock pots and pasta colanders in a restaurant to rinse pasta in large batches. Yet, when we went on to have other varieties of pasta options, we started working in small batches, cooking al minuto (to the minute). The pasta strainer is a threaded, stainless steel tool with a handle and is designed to strain smaller quantities of pasta. It’s got smaller perforations so the pasta doesn’t fall in.
It can also be used as a scoop I use mine to extract vegetables from boiling water and as a blanch basket when I want to cook vegetables for just a minute and then refresh so I can do a couple of batches and don’t have to keep heating more water for the next batch.
Each chef has his own selection of spices on stand-by. Some of the most popular spices are salt, pepper, garlic, oregano and chili powders. Although every good chef should have additional spices such as thyme, rosemary, cumin, coriander, bay leaves, cayenne pepper, curry powder, and basil. So, if you’re someone who likes to play with taste, you might have more in your set.
Blenders are used more than just smoothies. I can also make homemade condiments, soups, milkshakes, sauces, pesto, dressings and more. And this is one tool you might need to have more than one to do all the things you need. Hand blenders are perfect for baking, and standard blenders are great for purée and tea.
(source: garrysgrill.com, cleaneatingmag.com, and cheatsheet.com)