Whether you're just starting out in the culinary world or you've been a professional chef for years, having the right tools in your kitchen is essential. From knives to cutting boards to food processors, having the right equipment can make all the difference when it comes to creating delicious dishes. We spoke to two professional chefs, Associate Professor of Culinary Arts at the Culinary Institute of America, Lance Nitahara, and Sabrina Sexton, the former lead culinary instructor at the Institute of Culinary Education, about their kitchen essentials. A chef's knife is a must-have for any kitchen.
While there are all kinds of specialized knives out there, a good chef's knife is versatile enough to handle most tasks. Investing in a quality knife sharpener is also a good idea. Sexton recommends a canteen knife sharpener for beginners, as it's easy to use and gets the job done. When it comes to cutting boards, wood or plastic is your best bet.
Glass or stone cutting boards may be pretty, but they can dull your knives and should be avoided for heavy cuts. Sexton also recommends replacing your cutting board every two years to avoid bacteria buildup in grooves. A heat-resistant spatula is also essential for any kitchen. For larger tasks, a high-powered mixer can be used for making smoothies, mashing soups and sauces, grinding bread flour, and even as a substitute for a food processor if you don't have space for both.
For browning meat without having to use a frying pan, an Instant Pot is a great time-saving appliance. It also has a timer that works in 30-minute increments so you don't have to worry about ruining dinner. A food processor is another must-have tool for any kitchen. It can be used for making sauces, pie crusts, crumbling cheese and chopping nuts - tasks that can't be done with a blender alone.
A 14-cup food processor like the Cuisinart is large enough to handle most tasks but still compact enough to fit on your countertop or in your cupboard. Finally, no kitchen would be complete without a Staub 6 Quart Cocotte. This pot is perfect for browning, simmering and roasting and looks great on the table too! Knives are the most fundamental tool in a professional chef's kit. The classic chef's knife has a small tip for fine work and a large, curved blade for quick cutting and chopping.
Boning knives have a thinner blade that can be either stiff or flexible depending on chef preference. Paring knives are smaller than chef's knives or boning knives and are used for delicate side dishes or shaped vegetables. For high-volume production food processors, chef equipment types such as rotary grinders and electric slicers offer fast and efficient bulk preparation of meat or vegetable ingredients. Rick Ortiz, chef and owner of Antique Taco in Chicago, Illinois recommends investing in quality tools that will last you for years. He says that understanding how to care for your tools is what takes your performance to the next level. No matter what level of experience you have in the kitchen, having the right tools can make all the difference when it comes to creating delicious dishes. Investing in quality kitchen equipment will help you get the most out of your cooking experience.