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18 things professional chefs in your kitchen have to say



It's time to take stock of your kitchen. If you're still using a hand-me-down cutting board and the cheap knives you offered for sale at Bed Bath & Beyond after you graduated from college, you'll need to upgrade. We spoke to two professional chefs – Lance Nitahara, associate professor of culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America, and Sabrina Sexton, the former chief culinary teacher at the Institute of Culinary Education – about their kitchen must-haves.

1. Three Knives

Both Nitahara and Sexton agree that you can skip the entire knife set (which is contained in a chic block of wood) and instead invest in a few important things. According to them, all you need is a chef's knife, a serrated bread knife and a paring knife. "For me, these three knives would basically cover everything you need to cut," says Sexton. "And if I was stuck on a lonely island and could still cook, these three knives would be exactly what I need."

Sexton also recommends that you pull forged knives over stamped knives, as they are of a higher quality and a long one Lifespans are longer.

Buy: Peeling and Cooking Knives, Amazon; Bread knife, Amazon

2. Knife Sharpener

The best way to increase the life of your knives is to keep them sharp. How much sharpening this requires depends on your frequency of use and your menu. "I would say sharpen your knives when they get boring," says Nitahara. "If you use your chef's knife every day, I would say once a week to once every two weeks, depending on what you also cut."

While experienced chefs master the art of sharpening Sexton says that a Chantry knife sharpener ̵

1; one of these devices with which you stand on your counter and push your knife through – is easier for beginners and does the job.

Buy it: Amazon [19659002] 3rd Cutting Board

While glass or stone cutting boards can be pretty, Sexton says that wood or plastic is the best choice. "I have a very pretty little marble board that stands on my kitchen counter, but it's more for the show. It will blunt your knives, so I wouldn't recommend chopping hard on glass or stone," she says think the main thing is that you want something that is hard enough that you don't wear it and have grooves in it all the time. "The grooves can cause bacteria to build up, so according to Sexton, you should use your cutting board every few years

Buy it: Amazon

4th non-stick pan

"I wouldn't recommend buying a full set of non-stick pans," says Nitahara, but "one coated Pan could be good if you cook a lot of eggs. "

Buy it: Amazon

5th cast iron pan

In addition to your one non-stick pan, you want a cast iron pan." Cast iron is an inexpensive Path, to get a pan that conducts the heat really well. So it's really good if you want to cook a steak or get a nice kind of sear on a chicken breast or something, "says Sexton." When you try to caramelize the surface of something that really tastes in something like a piece red meat or poultry developed, [a cast-iron pan is] the best place to go. "

" They are a little more work, but they last forever, "says Sexton. This work is called seasoning your pan – or adding a lubricant so your food doesn't stick to it.

Buy it: Amazon

6. Stainless Steel Pots and Pans

However, for most of your cookware, Sexton and Nitahara agree that stainless steel is best. "When we talk about pots and pans, you mostly want to get something that is a heavier stainless steel pan," says Nitahara. "They are a little harder to wash, a little heavier, but they last longer. They have better conductivity if they are made of stainless steel."

Buy: Amazon

7th Rondeau Pan or Dutch Oven

"A rondeau is similar to what many people call a stew," Sexton says, "It has a fairly large surface area, but also fairly high sides – somewhere between 4 and 6 inches high. It's good if you Would like to cook stew or stews. "

Buy it: Amazon (Le Creuset, USD 268) or AmazonBasics (USD 62)

8th Mixer

For the production of soups and purees says Nitahara that a blender is a must. When choosing a blender, he says it's worth saving a little more and spending on something higher. "The cheaper you go with blenders and food processors, the more you get what you get for it pay, "he says." If you try it with a To get a budget, you may buy [a new] one earlier than you think. "

Buy it: Amazon

9. Immersion Mixer

Sexton relies on a hand blender (or hand blender) to prepare smoothies, lather up drinks or chop onions and garlic. "It's a good place to start for a blender because it doesn't take up a specific space. It doesn't have to sit on your counter. It's pretty versatile, pretty cheap, so I think it's a good tool for things."

Buy it: Amazon

10th Food Processor

When asked whether he would recommend a blender or a food processor, Nitahara says you should invest in both. "If I had a choice , I don't know which one I would choose because both are important, "he says. While a blender is ideal for smooth purees, you can roughly chop things with a food processor.

Buy: Amazon

11th Pressure Cooker

Top Chef Fans know that a pressure cooker can be a chef's best friend when he has the time (or his worst enemy if he doesn't know how to use one! ). "It ka nn a little intimidating, but once you learn how to use them they are so great, "Nitahara says of the device. "I make wild rice in 20 minutes, while if you make wild rice in a pot, you want to cook it for over an hour."

Buy it: Amazon

12. Digital Thermometer

Nitahara and Sexton recommend a digital thermometer for inexperienced cooks. "If you want to roast a chicken or cook meat to some extent or whatever, an instant reading is great," Sexton says.

“Many digital thermometers do not need to be calibrated. Nitahara adds. “I love digital thermometers with a cable probe. When I fry something, I put the thermometer in the roast, throw it in the oven, hold my thermometer outside the oven, and set the alarm to sound when I have reached a target temperature. That way it's brainless and I don't have to worry about it. “

Buy: Amazon

13. Microplane

"Microplanes are fantastic," says Nitahara. "They are really great if you want to grate things really fine, parmesan and the like. It was originally developed for woodworking."

Buy: Amazon

14. Wooden spoon

Because plastic can melt and heat up metal, Sexton recommends using a wooden spoon if you are stirring something over a hot stove, and Nitahara recommends buying a wooden spoon with a flat side to make it easier to scrape off the bottom of your pan or bowl.

Buy: Amazon

15th Whisk

Pay attention to thin wires when choosing your whisk, Nitahara says, "When you make emulsions like vinaigrettes, hollandaise sauce, and some others, when your wires are too tight." large and too thick, you cannot emulsify such liquids either, ”he says

Buy: Amazon

16th rubber spatula [19659003] Heat resistance is essential when looking for a quality spatula. "Get a good high-temperature silicon spatula that can withstand temperatures above 375,400 degrees so you don't melt your spatula in the pan," says Nitahara.

Buy: Amazon [19659002] 17th Salad Spinner

Despite its name, a salad spinner can do a lot more than just dry your salad. Nitahara also uses his after washing herbs and "when I wash mushrooms, I always put them in the salad spinner," he says. "They take up a lot of water."

Buy: Amazon

18th Vegetable Peeler

For a better grip, Sexton says she prefers the Y-shaped peeler to the more traditional straight one.

Buy: Amazon

Bonus: Basic Utensils and Small Goods [19659003] In addition, Sexton and Nitahara recommend that you have some basic necessities at hand, including: metal tongs, a trowel, a slotted spoon, Measuring cups and spoons, a corkscrew, potholders, mixing bowls, a can opener and baking sheets.

A version of this article was first published in 2017. It was updated for 2020.

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