6 tools that you need to have in your kitchen, according to a top chef
The phrase “A man is only as good as his tools” could be quite apt in the kitchen. This isn’t to say that you need to have the best utensils to be the best chef, but it most definitely helps. However, with so many different whisks, knives, pots and pans to aid your every kitchen need, it can be hard to decide which ones will really take your cooking up a notch.
George Rouse is the owner of the high-end catering company, George’s Kitchen, whose business came from his love of home cooking. He knows every kitchen utensil from the weird and wonderful to the helpful and nifty.
Here are his kitchen ‘must-haves’ for every home cook that wants to create dishes even a professional chef would be proud of.
Quality Set of Knives
Starting with the most basic but essential, is a good set of knives. George says: “Investing in some quality knives is well worth it, especially if you work with a lot of meat. Sharp knifes make cooking easier and safer, especially for novices. I would personally recommend starting with a good paring knife, a larger chef’s knife and a serrated knife to ensure you get off to a good start.”
Taking slicing to the next level, George says: “A personal favourite of mine is a Japanese Mandoline, the diagonal blades are set to allow more control and a cleaner cut. Unlike its French counterpart, the blades are sharp and do not dull as quickly, making the Japanese Mandolin a great way to introduce restaurant-standard uniformity when slicing or chopping vegetables.”
Pestle and Mortar
If you’re looking to add some much-needed flare to your dishes, a pestle and mortar is the way to go. George explains: “So much goodness can be created from this antient grinder, as it brings out the flavour of even the smallest herbs and spices. From pesto, dressings and curry pastes pestle and mortars are a satisfying way of grinding ingredients to make something spectacular. Plus, they do look pretty special sitting in your kitchen.”
Imperial Pasta Maker
George says: “Everyone should have a good quality pasta machine to create quality dishes. I always make my pasta from scratch to make sure it’s as fresh as possible. With your own easy to use pasta maker, you can create six different thickness of fresh pasta – from ravioli to super thin spaghetti. Try and get one that clamps to your work top, it will allow you to feed dough through the rollers onto the guiding tray completely hands free.”
George tells us: “Stand Mixers like KitchenAids are my number one piece of equipment, for speed, for quality as well as for saving my arm muscles. From cakes and soups to pastas and pates, there’s no course these mixers aren’t good for. These have been a catering staple for years, with chefs throughout the industry using it to create a variety of dishes, it’s something that every chef should own.”
Also known as the cream charger, the Espuma gun is great for making light foams or interesting sauces. George comments: “I always have in mind that my clients will eat with their eyes first so anything to enhance presentation is ideal. Designed for professional kitchens, the Espuma gun is great for budding chefs looking to add an artistic flair to their desserts. It’s also great for making incredible textures, without the use of eggs or cream to create volume.”
Overall anything that can take the stress out of the kitchen is worth investing in to take your dishes to the next level. However, make sure you are investing in quality equipment and before splashing out on expensive brands, that you’re researching what will be best for you, your cooking and your kitchen.