Professional chefs are like many of us, they have their favorite tools that they turn to again and again when it comes to the kitchen. It could be a set of knives they love that feel comfortable and balanced, in fact many chefs have their own personal knife sets that travel from assignment to assignment with them. It could be a certain type of wooden spoon made out of a specific type of wood. It could even be something we would consider quite industrial, such as the Berkel slicer for producing perfect slices of meat every time. But just as the right tools make the best mechanic work better, so too do these tools help many professional chefs achieve success in the kitchen day after day.
The Right Pans
Whether you are looking for that perfect cast iron pan to make your favorite Italian dishes or a great soufflé pan, the right pan is critical. Most chefs agree that having at least one good cast iron pan and one great Teflon coated pan is a good start. Add to this the right pot for making great soup, big enough for a week-long treat, and cookie sheets that will keep their heat even. While different chefs might have various brands that they love, once you find a pan that works for your style of cooking the main thing is to keep it in good shape. Make sure you always clean it and care for it, so you have it for the rest of your life. If there was one thing most chefs are willing to spend a bit of money on, it is the right pan for the job.
Mortar and Pestle
This handy little tool should be in every kitchen. While it is true that it is an old fashion tool, most cooks will agree that there are times when it is just the right tool. My sister, who is a great cook, has replaced hers with her old coffee grinder when she bought a new one. Because she grinds up seeds and nuts for recipes quite often, this works better for her then the old fashion hand cranked mortar and pestle. But for versatility you just can’t beat this almost stone age tool for grinding down fresh herbs, breaking down whole pepper corns for that special sauce and grinding seeds to give that recipe a true fresh flavor.
I just can’t emphasize this enough. If you want to not struggle with cooking meat, you need the right knife. Actually, just about anything you can name will chop up faster and better when you have a well-made knife that is sharp and ready to do its job right. While you may be able to pick up a cheap knife in the local store, shopping for a well-made knife is worth the time and effort. Check out the local mall for a specialty knife store or do your research on brands such as Paul Revere (the silversmith not the historical figure that warned the British were coming) to find good knives at thrift stores for cut rate prices.