10 Kitchen essentials every serious cook/baker must own
1: A good Knife
I showed up to my culinary class with a set of knives I had at home. They were decent, and cheap (How I usually describe my purchases when I do not want to spend too much on something). My chef asked to borrow my knife so he could instruct me on how to thinly size a tiny little grape. Needless to say that he was frustrated with my decent and cheap knife. Me being a first generation desi (south asian) thought to myself- "I am not sure what he is talking about because it can cut things. Plus it was cheap." It would've worked well if I had just left that as a thought to myself. Chef D, knowing my passion for photography, quips, "Is there a difference between a disposable camera and a DSLR?"
"Well, your knife is a disposable camera"
Chef D dropped some harsh wisdom that day.
He made me use his knife- which is an absolute honour in the culinary world and I was able to slice a grape into many thin slices. Proof:
His knife is a Shun Knife. It is the most coveted knife in the culinary world. It is japanese and made with a varying grade of metal. It lasts a lifetime.
2: A stand mixer
My life as a home baker, before I joined culinary school, changed when I got my first stand mixer as a gift (Thank YOU sister!). It made following recipes, baking quick breads, and ice-cream, that much simpler. The most popular one is the Kitchen Aid Stand mixer. It comes with all sort of attachments and bells and whistles to successfully create a dish.
Although, if you need a stand mixer as a piece of conversation and are not into baking, I will point you towards this beauty from SMEG X DOLCE and GABBANA. WANT.
3: Cast Iron Pan
You can make all sorts of dishes using a cast iron pan. Think, pan pizza, breads, naan, omelettes, stir fry, etc. The list is endless. Make sure you read up on how to look after a cast iron pan though!
All my regular followers know that I recently hosted a weekend party for my family. One of the tools that helped me, was a mandoline cutter. Think julienne or thin slices in a short amount of time. I flew threw a bag of onions- the golden vegetable when it comes to south asian cooking. I needed lots of it to last me through the weekend. I could not have done it without my mandoline cutter. I recommend getting a good quality one as blades need to be sharp for this one. If you are a clumsy cook, I would not recommend this- you can seriously damage your hands with this if you are not careful. Most of them come with a vegetable holder as a precautionary measure.
A good scale is VITAL. I do not care if you can convert everything to a cup measure and use that. GET A SCALE. I cannot stress this enough. Especially when it comes to baking. No measurement is more accurate than actually scaling out all the ingredients.
6: citrus press
It is a simple tool that really makes your task easy. In cooking and in baking, a lot of recipes call for citrus juices. A handy press will make this job fairly simple. Have a whole bunch to juice out or simply love a freshly squeezed glass of OJ? go for this one from Breville.
7: A grinder
It is important to compare your equipment size to the amount of cooking you usually do. For grinding spices, coffee beans, or quickly grinding a vegetable puree, I recommend the magic bullet. It grinds everything from tiny spices to ice cubes for a frozen smoothie.
If you have a lot more to grind on a daily basis and need a more powerful grinder, I recommend the robot coup. We use this in our culinary class, and it comes with a citrus juicing attachment!
8: A heat resistant spatula
Looks fairly simple right? However, I use this for everything! Whipping things with my hand, cleaning out bowls, flipping pancakes, and skillfully flipping omelettes. You get these in heat resistant handles so you can actually leave it to rest in your pan and it wont melt.
9: Bench Scraper
Want to clean out scraps from your work space? Want to quickly lift diced vegetables or herbs and drop it in your pot/bowl? Want something to cut your dough? The bench scraper is excellent for this. This multipurpose tool is absolutely essential in my kitchen. Some of them also come with a handy ruler on the cutter side.
10: A shallow and large cooking pot
Whats the difference between a regular pot and the one I just described? Most big North American pots tend to be deeper, and not just bigger. Having a shallow and a wide (big/large) pot, making cooking a lot more easy. Shallow pots help cook rice to the perfect texture and temperature. It is also essential for making an excellent biryani.
Those were the essentials I think are important in my kitchen. I use these on a daily basis and especially when I host a party. What are some of your essentials?