Being a chef has been an all consuming career and a huge part of my life for almost thirty years and I love it!! Along the way I have learned a few lessons on how to make things easier in the kitchen and today I would like to share those with you.
A GOOD KNIFE
For a chef your knife becomes an extension of you and is the workhorse of any prep. Having a good knife is so important! A knife needs to be able to hold a sharp edge, be the right length for you and the right weight. The size of the knife depends on the size of your hands and what you are comfortable with. You should be able to handle the knife from the handle and not have to hold the blade at all. If you cannot control the knife from the handle ,you made need a smaller knife. This is the knife I use and have used for almost thirty years.
Here is the link : https://amzn.to/3XRVUel
KNIFE SHARPENING SET
SO once you have a good knife you are going to need to keep it nice and sharp. For the home chef this needs to be done at least once a month. Knives need to be sharpened on a stone and it is important to do it the right way to keep from damaging the edge. Here is my favorite sharpening stones and kit. It actually comes with Japanese water stones that are an efficient and effective tool for keeping your knives sharp. Using just a few drops of water (no soaking necessary), your knives will be sharp in a matter of minutes - no oil necessary. This Kramer by ZWILLING set features a coarse 400-grit glass stone for dull knives or for reshaping blades, a finer 1,000-grit glass stone for honing, and a 5000-grit glass stone for finishing touches. The bamboo sharpening stone sink bridge holds the stones when in use. Also included in this set is the easy-to-follow Sharpening Instructional DVD by master bladesmith Bob Kramer.
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3InZIht
A HONING STEEL
On the same thought as we were in number 2, it is soooo important to keep that knife sharp and straight. Part of keeping the knife straight is honing a knife EVERY TIME you use it. Yes , EVERY TIME! As you use your knife it gets folds in the blade from being used on glass, granite or marble cutting surfaces. It also gets fold in the blade from being banged on the cutting surface to hard. These folds make your knife appear dule and the steel straightens out the folds in the knife.
Here is my favorite steel
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3EvtHTQ
SALT BOWL OR SALT PIG
Salt bowl are very important in cooking because you can easily grab the salt at any time. I believe the fact that you are feeling the salt helps to monitor the amount you are using better that just pouring . These vary in decorative choices and I have several around the kitchen but these are some of my favorites. Click on the pics for the link for each
A GOOD PEPPERMILL
Just like the salt pig , a good pepper mill is important as well and you definitely get what you pay for with this one. The important part is the grinder and how well you can adjust it. If you get a cheaper version then you will have to deal with less control of the size of the pepper as well as the grinder breaking. Fresh ground pepper is always best because once pepper is ground it starts to lose flavor. The age of the ground pepper determines its flavor. Although the pepper is still safe to consume, the flavor profile will be different. Fresh ground is always best! Here is my favorite peppermill:
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3Z3Q2Qk
There are so many different types of cookware and we all start out with a starter set that flakes and dents and the handles come off and we keep having to replace them over and over til we finally invest in a good set that lasts forever. So I guess in hindsight we should have purchased the good set all along and saved ourself a lot of money in the long run. This is another great example of "you get what you pay for". Also you can buy seperate pieces and not the whole set and that helps with the cost as well. Great cookware makes it easier for you to cook because of the way it conducts heat. They are easier to clean and once again they last forever. You really don't want a cookware set that is all nonstick either because you are unable to build up fond while cooking. You do need a nonstick pan for fish and eggs and we will cover that next.
Here is my favorite cookware sets
Here is the link : https://amzn.to/3Ku8JZk
Since that is quite an investment , here is my second choice
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3lX4ZFq
But above all cookware I love enameled cast iron cookware the best and use it more than any other pots or pans that I own. This is quite an investment and they are heavier than other cookware but they cook like nothing else.
Here is the link for my favorite set
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3Sskhhx
NON STICK PANS
Remember when I said you don't want your whole cookware set to be nonstick? You do, however , need two nonstick pans in your life. One pan for fish and one pan to cook eggs because these are the two things that are easier to cook in nonstick cookware. In my opinion you need a small nonstick to cook eggs and be able to flip them ( without a spatula). Here are my favorite ones
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3Kph2pa
And here is a less expensive option as well
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3KoQtQZ
WOODEN BUTCHER BLOCK
Every chef or home cook need a space for all of the prep work. The best space for this is a wooden cutting board. A wooden board is better for your knife and keeps the edge from getting dull as fast. We will need another type of cutting surface for some things like raw meats and eggs, I will cover that next, but other than that we want to use a wooden cutting board.
Here is my favorite:
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3XMEAHr
PLASTIC CUTTING BOARDS
We can cut most everything on the wooden cutting board but we need something different for raw meats and raw egg products. These are thin boards that can be placed right on top of the wooden board to protect it when we are cutting raw meats. These thin boards are also easy to clean as well.
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3lUEYXe
WOODEN COOKING UTENSILS AND RUBBER SPATULAS
Wooden cooking utensils and rubber spatulas are a must have in every kitchen and the quality of those are as important as the cookware. The last thing we want is chips of rubber or splinters of wood in our food. Wood is great because it does not conduct heat and if you forget and leave them in the pan they do not heat up and burn you when you grab them again. The rubber spatulas are great for deglazing pans because they can scrape the bottom of the pan well to get all of the fond up.
Here are my favorites
Here is the link: https://amzn.to/3IKAc7B
Here's the link: https://amzn.to/3IGQMEr
While this list could have gone on forever , I tried to condense it down to the most important items that we use EVERY day. If you try out any of the products listed please let me know and if you have other suggestions let me know too.