Essential Kitchen Tools for the Everyday Chef
Ready to up your culinary game? Of course, celebrity chefs on television have the best of the best when it comes to kitchen gadgets. That doesn’t mean the everyday chef should do without, because even we need to cook and bake up dishes that delight and satisfy our fans. To help ensure you’ve got the proper equipment on hand, we’ve put together a list of kitchen tools the everyday chef needs:
Set of Mixing Bowls
Get a set of glass or metal mixing bowls of varying sizes. You want to avoid plastic because it is porous and can easily pick up odors and stains. Large-sized bowls can prove helpful when whipping up cream or making a cake mix, while you can use smaller bowls for mise en place (putting in place) ingredients for a dish.
Set of Knives
A good set of knives can make or break one’s culinary skills. Knives are one essential kitchen tool that you should be willing to spend some money on. There’s nothing worse than a poorly constructed knife. So, before you shell out the bucks for a blade, hold the knife in your hand to make sure it feels comfortable and light and the handle fits the shape of your hand. The saying is “a knife should be an extension of your hand”; after all, a chef’s knife is one of the most often used kitchen tools.
Set of Pans
Just because pans often come in sets doesn’t mean you have to purchase them that way. Instead, you might want to consider mixing up your pans based on the cooking you intend on doing. For example:
12″, 16″, 20″, or 24″-Quart Stockpot
Depending on your needs, any one of these sizes could suffice. With the bigger pots, you can boil a country ham, several pounds of pasta, or make enough soup to freeze and pasta sauce for days.
This size pot is excellent for heating four to six servings of soup, boiling or poaching eggs, and making a reduction wine sauce.
12″ Straight-Edge Sauté pan
This type of pan is ideal for frying or searing a large amount of food like a whole chicken (cut-up).
Enameled Dutch oven
A large enameled Dutch oven is the perfect pan for searing and braising meat (think pot roast), baking loaves of bread, and making soups and chilis.
Always make sure that pot lids are light yet tight-fitting and have heat or oven-proof handles. Glass lids are typically only oven safe up to 350 degrees (check before you buy and use).
Quality again should be a priority when buying a cutting board. Yes, you can use inexpensive plastic ones for specific foods like meat (because you can sanitize them in the dishwasher), but a top-quality large, thick wood cutting board can protect your countertops and knives and can double as a serving tray.
A high-quality stand mixer can stand the test of time in a kitchen, performing tasks like whipping meringue and kneading bread dough. Add a few attachments, and you’re churning ice cream, shredding vegetables, and making pasta. Even after years of solid use, you can pass it down to the next generation.
Here’s a must-have for any kitchen toolset. A stick/immersion blender comes in handy for making milkshakes, smoothies, mayonnaise, mixing pancake batter, puréeing soups, blending sauces, and beating eggs are just a few tasks this small workhorse can tackle for you in the kitchen. When buying a stick blender, make sure you buy one that has interchangeable attachments like a chopper and whisk.
Cast Iron Pan
Cast iron cookware originated in China during the sixth century BC. Over the couple thousand plus years since its debut, cast iron pans have found their way out onto the plains, and into home and professional kitchens, and historical museums. Once seasoned a cast iron pan is an excellent non-stick cooking surface and can last a lifetime. Cast iron is great for frying things like eggs and bacon, burgers (hence, cast iron on grill grates), and making delicious skillet cookies. The most famous brand of cast iron cookware is Lodge. Avoid cooking any tomato-based foods in cast iron as they can take on a metallic taste.
While we can go on about all the things we have gathered over the years, other essential kitchen tools include a meat thermometer, colander, sheet pans, baking dishes, and metal and silicone spatulas. Do you have any must-have kitchen tools? If so, please share with us on our social pages.