This is a list of 5 of my top-rated tools – the ones that I reach for constantly, for both my personal and professional cooking.
1. Chef’s Knife
A good knife has weight to it. It feels good in your hands, and it stays sharp with a bit of care. I didn’t actually feel like a chef until I learned how to sharpen my knife with a whetstone. A sharp, comfortable knife that is on the intimidatingly large side is useful for a large variety of tasks.
Although I have a set of Wusthof knives, my outright favourite is my Wusthof Classic Ikon 23cm knife. I use it for pretty much everything – from carving meat to cutting veg, to chopping herbs. I keep it sharp, and I respect that it can slice through my finger pretty painlessly if I’m not paying attention. I bought mine from Yuppiechef which was actually the cheapest store and it was delivered all beautifully wrapped in their candy striped paper, even with a coin for those superstitious people who believe if you don’t give a coin with a knife, it will sever friendships (I adore that attention to the little details!)
2. Boards – Meat (Plastic), veggies
These don’t have to be expensive, but if you’re going to be doing things safely, you’ll want separate plastic boards for your meat and fish (so that you can pop it in the dishwasher), and a wooden board for your veggies (it’s easier on a knife than a marble board). I also love my bread board, which I inherited from my mom – it’s older than I am, and still evokes amazing memories of the bread of my childhood.
Note: Never put a wooden board (or wooden utensils) in the dishwasher – the prolonged exposure to heat and moisture damages the wood.
3. Stainless Steel Frying Pan
Another purchase that seemed to be a bit of an indulgence at the time was my 20cm Stainless Steel Scanpan. This is an absolute workhorse. It has a lovely wide base, so that I can fit more food in it without overcrowding the pan, the base is thick and heavy and the handle is metal too so, if I’m making frittata, I can put it directly in the oven to finish.
This is the pan I go to ALWAYS when I’m browning meat. Stainless Steel pans are actually non-stick, when you heat it to the right temperature first. I’ll show you how to do the water trick to get it to the right temperature, so you can use a stainless steel pan without having all that lovely crispy crust sticking to the pan. (If you’re cooking with a soft fish, you may want to use a non-stick pan instead of the stainless steel, as you use slightly lower temperatures to cook fish).
A good saucepan is also wonderful. I have two good saucepans of different sizes. Ages ago, I bought the Jamie Oliver T-Fal set. The stainless steel saucepans have been great, although the non-stick coating of the other pans wore off despite my being careful to avoid metal utensils.
While I enjoy my bigger saucepan (it takes 1.5l, and is lovely for making white sauce, or a quick throw-together soup), I don’t like the little pan as much. It has a lovely solid base, and it is a wonderful size, but the handle is too heavy for the pan and it will tip over easily unless there’s enough liquid to counter the handle’s weight. When you buy your saucepan, make sure to check this.
Note: If your budget only allows for one saucepan, get the smaller one, as you can always cook your larger sauce quantities in the frying pan for now.
5. Immersion Blender – why I like my one.
I bought a Phillips 550w Promix blender and I LOVE it. The stick is designed to not splatter all over you if it inadvertently comes above the liquid line. It is fast, powerful, and wonderful for making sauces like pesto, smoothing out a white sauce (if you haven’t mastered the finer details of avoiding lumps), blending soups, making smoothies, etc.
I have an Omniblend blender, which I loved until the housing broke, and I haven’t had a chance to replace it.. but honestly, I reach for my Phillips far more often. A bonus is that it cleans really easily as well.
So these are the top 5 tools I use in my kitchen. Do you have any indispensable tools that you can’t do without?
Note: These opinions are my own, I bought my own equipment, and I have not yet set up any affiliate links on my blog (although I intend to going forward). I will not recommend something that I haven’t used and loved.