Having the right tools in your kitchen is essential for getting the best results. Of course the sky is the limit as far as quality and scope when it comes to culinary inventions, but it’s good to start with high quality basics like the following tools.
The two main factors for pans are heat distribution and non-reactive surfaces. Generally aluminum and copper are good for heat distribution while stainless steel will provide a non-reactive cooking surface. However, to get both effects a great stainless steel pan with a copper core works well. All CLAD is a great choice. The pans need to be thick and they should be fitted with solid handles.
Non-stick pans for the preparation of eggs and other delicate dishes are an essential addition to your pan collection as well.
Many chefs also swear by the very versatile cask iron skillet. A roast can be seared on the stovetop and put right into the oven for slow cooking to perfection. Veggies for a frittata can be sautéed on the stovetop, before the eggs are poured over and baked in the same pan. These pans get better with age. Wipe a little olive oil after use. This seasons the pan and gives great flavor to anything cooked in it. Staub and Le Cruset are staple brands for cast irons.
When purchasing pans, it is always best to start with a few very high quality pans and add to your collection slowly. A great pan can be passed on for generations!
A Chef’s knife is another tool where quality is of the upmost importance. It is better to have 2 or 3 high quality, heavy-handled knives than a set of low quality ones. A good rule of thumb is if a knife cannot be dropped off at local knife sharpening store, it should not be in your kitchen. A great start is a paring knife, a Japanese chopping knife and a traditional chef’s knife.
Color coded cutting boards are a great way to make sure you are not cutting your vegetables on the same board as your proteins. Having 2 cutting boards for vegetables , 1 for chicken, 1 for fish and 1 for beef and pork is all you need to be prepared for any culinary occasion.
An electric hand mixer has wide variety of uses. Whipping cream is a snap. The small immersion blender attachment purees a quick soup before straining. There’s also a small mini chopper attachment that is a perfect time-saver for mincing garlic or ginger. Its many uses make the hand mixer a great first purchase in your arsenal of kitchen equipment. Don’t forget stackable mixing bowls to mix things in.
SPOONS and SPATULAS
Stainless spoons are suitable and they should be strong enough to resist any bends. You can also add high quality wooden spoons to be used for stirring delicate dishes. A rubber spatula is an important purchase for eggs and whipping cream, while a large plastic one is great for flipping pancakes in your non-stick frying pan.