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5 Must-Have Kitchen Tools and Why

You’ll have no problem finding lists upon lists of “must-have” kitchen utensils. Most state the obvious: an 8 inch chefs knife, mixing bowls, a saute pan, etc. What about the tools most professional chefs swear by that could make a huge difference in your cooking at home? Below, I’ve listed five utensils that you probably don’t own that will help you create better tasting food for friends and family.

Benriner Mandoline
This little device is a true work-horse in professional kitchens because it can generate uniform, thin slices of vegetables. I’ve use it to slice potatoes for baked au gratin, shave radishes for a salad or shred Brussel sprout for a quick sautéed side item. It’s small, durable and the blade stays sharp for what seems like an eternity. The kicker…it only costs $25.00.

Digital Scale
Most professional chef’s write recipes using units of weight instead of volume. This method of preparation is much more accurate than using measuring cups and tablespoons. Precision is especially important when baking so invest in a decent digital scale for an easy way to level up your skills in the home kitchen.

Slotted Fish Spatula
Fish spatulas fit the bill in a number of situations. It’s shape has a slim profile with a little bit of flex, yet the spatula is surprisingly sturdy enough to use it for stirring and moving items around in a saute pan. It’s light and nimble with an angled tip that allows you to easily slip under delicate food items. Some manufacturer’s even make left-handed fish spatulas for the 10%’ers like myself.

Boning Knife
Like the mandoline, a boning knife can also be a workhorse in the kitchen. In the proper hand this knife is capable of  breaking down a poultry with precision, slicing paper thin rounds of roasted beet or skillfully boning and filleting fish. During service I would keep a boning knife on my station to portion cooked cuts of meat while plating a dish.

Spice Grinder
A rule of thumb you should follow is to always buy whole spices and grind them as needed. Never purchase pre-ground spices because their flavor and aroma fade very quickly. A mortar and pestal will do the trick for smaller amounts, but purchase a spice grinder if you plan to prep larger quantities (ex. when making a dry rub). It’ll save to tons of time and effort. Simple coffee bean grinders make great spice grinders.

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