So you consider yourself a good home chef eh? Maybe you spend hours watching cooking videos on Youtube, and know how to Google recipes with aplomb. Below are some items the budding gourmet chef will need, sooner or later.
Fish Bone Tweezers, Made in Japan
Who knows fish better than the Japanese, whose sushi, sashimi, and teriyaki style fish have become global cultural staples? A high-end fish bone tweezer will come in handy when working with fish fillets, where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of your diner getting poked by a fish bone.
Lemon Juice Squeezer, Good for a Lifetime
As you work with more and more recipes, you will come to appreciate the versatility of lemon juice as an ingredient. From adding that refreshing acidity, or that dash of zestiness, knowing how and when to use lemons will be a part of your arsenal for years to come. A stainless-steel lemon squeezer should also be part of your arsenal, as it can handle both slices and wedges, helping you get every drop out those stubborn lemons.
Sous Vide, Not Just for the French
Sous Vide, or immersion cooking, is a great way to basically par-boil your meats before cooking. Best for steaks, but also useful for other cuts of meat from tenderloins to chicken thighs, a sous vide will let you get the meat fully cooked before finishing the exterior on a pan or grill. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting that beautiful outer sear on your meat and then finding out the inside is still raw. Try using one for your next rib-eye steak, and you will be astonished how easy it is to create restaurant level steak at home.
Cast Iron Pan, Lasts Forever
One of the most versatile and used pieces of equipment in my kitchen is something not everybody has. A good cast iron pan (mine is Made in the USA by Lodge) has the ability to cook up some friend eggs and bacon like nothing else can. Perhaps because this was what the cowboys cooked with in the old west, and numerous generations of grandmothers, but you can’t help but feel nostalgic when you cook with one. Not only is it good for searing meats, cooking vegetables, all while providing an all-natural non-stick cooking surface, but it is excellent for frying, as the high specific heat of the cast iron helps keep the oil hot, so your fried foods don’t get soggy. A top-quality cast iron pan can cost only $30, yet be passed on to your children and your children’s children.
Magnetic Kitchen Timer, More the Merrier
When preparing dinner or getting ready for a party, I often find myself with multiple pots on the stove (there’s a reason they come with 4 burners) with multiple dishes at various stages of completeness. In order to get everything cooked correctly, it’s absolutely imperative not to leave a pot on the stove for too long. I love these magnetic timers that can be left on the refrigerator which saves space, yet are loud enough to hear from the other room when they go off. I use these as my primary timer, as other kitchen timers, such as microwave timers, are sometimes too quiet and can be missed.
Fish Spatula, Not Just for Fish
Deceptively named, fish spatula are designed for flipping fragile fish fillets in the frying pan, but they are actually very useful for other foods as well. The edge of the fish spatula is made extremely thin, so whenever you need a stiff and thin spatula in order to work with a fragile dish, the fish spatula is the go-to tool. Think French omelets or those fluffy-yet-delicate pancakes. There are times a good fish spatula is exactly the tool you need.
Knife Sharpener, Straight or Serrated
You can’t do good food prep without sharp knives. And you won’t have sharp knives unless you have a sharpening tool. These days you can buy knife sharpeners that fit easily in your kitchen drawer. They can handle both straight and serrated edges, so these are a great and inexpensive way to get more use out of your knives, and a more pleasant slicing experience. Keeping knives sharp should be part of your kitchen routine.