Cooking Tools for Pro Chefs
With a pandemic roaming around and lockdown restrictions across the nation, what better time to perfect your MasterChef skills? All you need is a kitchen, inspiration, and the following tools that pro chefs can’t cook without.
1. Pasta Maker
Italy is world-famous for its fantastic food, and nothing is more synonymous with the country than pasta. But the truth is a pro chef will never settle for the store-bought variety. Real chefs make their own pasta, and they need a professional pasta maker for the purpose. These machines can help you make anything, from short pasta such as fusilli or penne to spaghetti or linguine. Alongside your pasta maker, don’t forget to add a pasta drying rack to your kitchen gear collection.
2. Butcher Knife
A knife is to a chef what a sward is to a warrior — aka, an indispensable tool. Knives come in all types and sizes, but one that can’t miss from your kitchen is a butcher knife. It is primarily used for processing meat — together with a meat cleaver — but its size and blade shape makes it suitable for a wide range of chopping and slicing purposes. You can either get a standalone tool or check our knife sets to get both a butcher knife and a variety of other knives and kitchen tools.
3. Chopping Board
Unless you have a marble or stainless steel countertop that is scratch-resistant, you need a quality chopping board. Options vary from bamboo or wood to stone boards, but picking one goes beyond budget considerations. Wooden boards are the best for your knives, but granite or composite ones double as trivets, too. If your budget is low, pick a silicone chopping board rather than plastic.
4. Quality Pots and Pans
There won’t be much cooking happening unless you have a set of quality pots and pans. Again, the market is full of choices, from thin aluminum options to copper to cast iron. Each type of cookware serves a purpose, but there are a few items that pro chefs can’t cook without, including a stone frying pan, a wok, and a cast iron skillet.
Perhaps not as essential as a butcher knife but still important if you want to polish your chef skills, a mezzaluna knife is all you need for pro-like herb chopping.
There are two kinds of mixers out there, and a pro chef needs both. A hand mixer is ideal for making emulsions, creams, and sauces. A stand mixer, on the other hand, is useful for making dough, batter, whipping cream, making mayonnaise, and a variety of other purposes.
7. Spice Grater
From adding nutmeg to your béchamel sauce to grating citrus peel for your recipe, there are countless uses for a spice grater. No doubt, an essential tool for any aspiring or pro chef.
8. Mortar and Pestle
Another of the essential tools that pro chefs can’t cook without is the mortar and pestle. Used since antiquity, the combo comes in handy whenever you want to crush herbs or garlic. Modern chefs often use it for making pesto, but you could also create spice blends or even use it instead of a garlic presser for a finer crush.
9. Cheese Slicer
If you’ve ever tried to slice cheese with a knife, you might already know what effort goes into the process. To speed up things while minimizing effort, you need a cheese slicer. There are various models on the market, but no matter your choice, you’ll surely be able to slice cheese faster and better.
10. Gram Scale
Professional chefs use grams rather than ounces or cups to measure ingredients, and you should do the same. A gram scale will make it easier to follow any international recipe without spending ages to convert measurement units — not to mention that it can drastically improve your cooking results.
While a mixer is an essential tool to have in your kitchen for both cooking and baking purposes, a blender can’t miss from your arsenal either. It comes in handy when you have to reduce steamed vegetables into purees, to make gravy, or come up with creative smoothies. Similar to mixers, blenders come in handheld and standalone versions, so you can pick the most appropriate one for your budget and needs.
12. Indoor Grill
Cooking on a stovetop is all fun and games, but you can’t call yourself a chef unless you can produce juicy BBQs, too. That’s where an indoor grill steps in. You can use it all-year-long to cook tender steaks, burgers, and even grilled vegetables.
13. Meat Tenderizer
Some meat cuts are intended to be cooked as they are. Others require tenderizing. If the recipe you want to cook calls for it, a meat tenderizer is a must. Meat apart, you can also use this tool to crack nuts, crush garlic if you don’t have a garlic presser at hand, and an array of other alternative purposes.
14. Meat Thermometer
Whether you’re making a BBQ or cooking roast beef in the oven, the only way to ensure perfect results is with a meat thermometer. This device consists of a probe that goes deep in the meat and tells you the core temperature as you’re cooking. As any pro chef can tell you, this is the only way to prevent ending up with an overcooked dinner.
15. Kitchen Torch
Last but not least, another tool that pro chefs can’t cook without is a kitchen torch. It serves a wide range of haute-cuisine purposes, such as roasting peppers, finishing off a meringue, caramelizing fruit, or melting the sugar over your crème brulee. Most models work with propane and are readily available in home stores or online.