8 Kitchen Tools Every New Chef Needs
Whether you’re trying to eat healthier or cut back on restaurant spending, you’ve come here because you’d like to start cooking at home. But first, you’ll need to properly equip your kitchen. We’re not talking pots, pans, plates and cutlery — we’re talking key kitchen must-haves that will make getting dinner on the table easier and faster.
1. Slotted Spatula
Pancakes, tilapia, you name it! If you need to flip your food, this is the tool to use. A spatula with slots helps to eliminate extra grease and prevent splattering on the stove.
Many top chefs swear by a great set of tongs. Tongs allow you to grab and turn tough-to-handle foods with minimal damage. Next time you’re sauteing greens, tossing noodles in a sauce or frying up a dish — grab your tongs!
3. Wooden Spoon
If your grandma had one, then she knew what she was doing in the kitchen. The best of both worlds: wooden spoons won’t scratch your metal pans nor will they melt to the side (like most plastic ones). They’re sturdy, lightweight and don’t react to acidic foods. It’s difficult to think of a more tried-and-true kitchen tool.
From eco-friendly bamboo to handcrafted maple or black walnut, there are a wide range of wooden spoons available on the market. Some spoons offer wider handles so that it’s easier to stir through thick stews or chili. Some spoons even have a notch on the handle so they can hang on the pot when not in use. Regardless of your choice, you won’t be disappointed as wooden spoons offer years of service.
4. Pasta Spoon
Pasta can be a tricky beast to handle… It’s slippery, slick and usually boiling hot. But with fork-like tines and a central hole for drainage, the pasta spoon is surely a force to be reckoned with.
Commonly mistaken for a strainer, the colander features pin-size holes to help separate your liquids from your solids. Whether you’re rinsing off some raspberries or some kidney beans, the colander will help make sure that no food is left behind.
Quick Tip: Make sure your new colander fits the dimensions of your sink. Nowadays, you can also find colanders with fold-out legs that suspend over the kitchen counter. If storage is an issue, collapsible colanders offer the same function but take up less space.
You can make do with a fork, but there’s no replacing the functionality of a good whisk. Whip up batters, marinades, egg whites and more like a pro.
Quick Tip: Look for a stainless-steel whisk with a comfortable handle. Rinse them off immediately after use to avoid difficult scrubbing later.
7. Spice Grinder
Freshly ground spices bring unmatched aroma and flavor to your food. Plus, it takes almost no time to grind them up! Black pepper is the most popular; but chili flakes, cumin and cloves are also easy and delicious to grind at home.
Quick Tip: Investing in a coffee mill-type grinder will save you more time. To clean between uses, grind up a few cubes of fresh bread then wipe out the grinding chamber with a paper towel. This quick cleaning tip will lift spice oils from the sides and get rid of any residue.
Although it might not be the first thing you think of, a grater is essential for the kitchen. Cheese is the obvious choice for putting your grater to work, but shredded carrots, beets, apples and potatoes are also common ingredients you’ll find in recipes. While a large stainless steel four-sided grater is the standard, consider investing in a microplane as well. Microplanes allow you to grate parmesan with restaurant quality, not to mention whole spices and citrus peel zest.