Whether you’re just starting out on your culinary journey or whether you’ve been a chef for years, you would probably agree that having the right tools and supplies can make your time in the kitchen productive and enjoyable, while missing even just one key item can be a recipe for disaster. Don’t wait until you’re midway through a recipe to check to see if you have the required equipment. Use this list as a starting point, as most serious chefs would say that these items are absolute necessities to have in your kitchen.
A Chef’s Knife
Coming in at around eight to ten inches long, a chef’s knife is longer than most home cooks typically use. This knife is an important tool for prepping food, for slicing and for dicing. Look for one that has a full tang, which means that the metal runs through the entire length of the handle. It should feel balanced and heavy in your hand.
A Honing Steel
A honing steel allows you to hone your knife before use. Honing a knife doesn’t sharpen it. Instead, it allows you to straighten out the knife’s edge to allow for more precise cutting.
A Cutting Board
Don’t choose a glass or ceramic cutting board, as these can dull the edges of your knives. A bamboo cutting board would be an excellent choice, as would a butcher’s block cutting board.
A Set of Prep Bowls
Consider following the popular chef’s guideline of mise en place, which translates to “everything in its place.” Have a set of prep bowls handy every time you cook, measuring and preparing your ingredients before you begin cooking. This will lessen the chances of your recipe overcooking on the stovetop while you are frantically chopping or prepping the next item that goes in the pan.
A Kitchen Scale
A kitchen scale can be an indispensable tool when it comes to measuring ingredients and making sure that you get the same results every time.
Thermometers are important both for recipe precision, such as in the case of candies that need heated to a certain temperature, and for food safety. Many meats require cooking to an internal temperature of a certain degree to ensure that it’s safe to consume.
A Pair of Tongs
A pair of tongs can be an important tool used for everything from removing corn on the cob from a pot of boiling water to flipping a piece of French toast. Many chefs wouldn’t consider going without tongs in their kitchen.
Comfortable Clothing and Shoes
When you’re on your feet for hours cooking over a hot stove, you learn quickly the importance of having both professional and comfortable clothing. Today’s chef can choose from a wide variety of tops and chef pants, as well as a vast array of supportive shoes.
Whether you’re chopping or sautéing, blending or baking, having the right tools for the recipe will help you get a head start. Pick up one or all of these items and continue your creative culinary journey today.