The difference between a competent cook and a seasoned chef lies in the kitchen and its tools. Learning to cook can often be intimidating, but the job can be made easier with the right tools and appliances. Even the most expertly designed kitchen is worthless if it does not house the proper cookware and gadgets needed to create beautiful meals. Here are nine items that will elevate your kitchen from basic to serious:
This unique tool enables the chef to blend and puree soups and sauces directly in the pan. An immersion blender can be used to make smoothies and is also an ideal way to take the lumps out of gravy. Hand blenders can be used in either shallow pans or deep dishes. Kitchn explains, “because this tool is small, it does not take up a lot of space in your kitchen and can be brought along to parties to whip up perfect mixed drinks.”
Wood Cooking Utensils
A nice set of wooden cooking utensils is an upgrade from the standard silicone or stainless steel counterparts. Cooking utensils constructed from wood will not absorb food odors because of the non-reactive qualities of the material. Wooden spoons are more gentle on pots and pans, ensuring protection against scratches and knicks. Spoons made from real wood also feel more comfortable in the hand and are less likely to tear or smash the food because of the smooth and elongated curves of the wood.
Digital Food Thermometer
A digital food thermometer delivers precise and fast results, ensuring that your food will come out to the perfect temperature every time. Probe thermometers remain in the food during the cooking process and alert you when it is done. A candy thermometer is an additional tool used to measure temperatures in liquids and is ideal for cheese making and deep frying tasks.
Set of Quality Knives
Investing in a quality knife set is one of the most important decisions to make when equipping your kitchen to be able to handle any cooking task. Vega Direct Restaurant Supply reinforces, “Having a good set of knives is essential for any true chef. Always make sure you are using the best blade for the job.” When shopping for a set of knives, be sure to make sure you purchase a kit that includes a peeling knife, a paring knife, a serrated/utility knife, a chef's knife, and a bread knife. Each knife provides a different function, and it is essential to make sure you choose the right utensil for the job. Make sure you do your research and select a set designed to last a lifetime.
Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
A good cast iron skillet is a cost-effective piece of cookware that is extremely durable and can withstand heat at the highest temperatures. According to Huffington Post, “these kitchen workhorses are ideal for use in a variety of cooking techniques because of their exceptional heating properties which distribute heat evenly. This sturdy piece of cookware will last a lifetime when cared for properly.” Rather than using soap, it is recommended to use salt to clean away the grime.
Savvy bakers understand the importance of owning a durable and capable stand mixer. Not only will this small appliance make baking a breeze, but it also can be used to make pasta, grind meat, and spiralize fruit and vegetables when outfitted with the proper attachments. The heavy-duty steel construction and powerful motor make a stand mixer a piece of equipment that will become indispensable in the life of any chef. As a bonus, these mixers come in a variety of styles and colors, making them the perfect accessory for any kitchen.
As the original all-purpose cookware, this versatile pot is essential for making casseroles, one-pot meals, roasts, quiches, and more. Generally made from either cast-iron or cast-aluminum, the heavy and thick walls of the pot work to cook food evenly. Because they are constructed to withstand high levels of heat, dutch ovens can smoothly go from the stove to the oven to finish off the cooking process. A quality dutch oven lid will trap in the heat and moisture, sealing in the flavor of every dish.
Although it was initially designed to make stock, this kitchen essential is a must-have for making soups, stews, and other big batch dishes. A good stock pot will heat food rapidly and continue the cooking process with the ability to simmer for long periods of time while delivering an even heat distribution. This pot can also be used to boil large amounts of pasta and to evenly cook green vegetables or corn on the cob. Stock pots are made from a variety of materials including copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and more. In addition to the construction material, chefs also need to decide on the preferred shape and size of their stock pot.
Blender and Food Processor
This multi-use tool has multiple functions and is an invaluable addition to any kitchen. Save time on chopping and slicing with the processor attachments and use the blender component to make healthy smoothies and fun mixed drinks. Simply Cooking explains, “a good rule of thumb to follow is to use the food processor for solid foods and the blender component for liquids. A food processor is also capable of making smooth dips and sauces such as hummus and salsas.” If you plan on only using your food processor on rare occasions or if you are tight on space in your kitchen, it would be wise to choose a mini version of the appliance. By simplifying some of the most common arduous kitchen tasks, this tool can become an indispensable part of any kitchen.
Outfitting your kitchen with the essential tools and cookware can turn any space into a foodie's dream. Serious cooks understand that functionality should always be given precedence over style. By choosing tools that will make your life easier, you will gain the confidence needed to elevate your cooking skills from basic to expert in no time. Cheers!
Here’s another article we think you’ll enjoy. It talks about party etiquette and how to host a party. So you can put all those new kitchen supplies and skills to good use!