If our Director of Food and Beverage, Hunter Hallmark, was stranded on a desert island, what kitchen tools would he want to have by his side?! With an extensive background in the culinary arts, he knows what tools are indispensable to make any kind of meal, and what tools are a waste of money (we’re looking at you, Onion Goggles). So we put together a foodie cheat sheet featuring Hunter’s top 5 essential kitchen tools.
Hunter: “Obviously, my two hands are the best tool when it comes to cooking, but there are definitely a few items I almost always reach for. Unfortunately, there are a lot of superfluous tools on the market, so I’m happy to tell you lots of chefs actually don’t have that many tools.”
Invest in a high-quality grater, preferably a Microplane. You don’t have to use it just to grate some fresh parmesan over your hot pasta – although I can highly recommend this – but you can also grate chocolate over some whipped cream, grate garlic, or even root vegetables like fresh ginger and carrot. And don’t clean your Microplane in the dishwasher, it will get blunt much faster.
A chef’s knife
Treat yourself to a high quality chef’s knife and I can guarantee you will use it. All. The. Time. Make sure you don’t buy one that’s too big or too heavy, or makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t buy it online, you have to feel the knife. Remember, you will use it every day, so it’s almost like buying a car. I also recommend stainless over carbon, it’s less maintenance and good enough for most people. And remember, no dishwasher.
The Y is for peeler…
A peeler is a must-have to quickly peel potatoes, carrots, and what not. It doesn’t have to be expensive. I prefer the simplicity of the Y-peeler: quick, easy, and cheap.
A heavy Dutch oven
To be clear, we are talking about a large cast-iron pot covered in bright, glossy enamel. You can also pick one that doesn’t have the enamel layer, but then you have to season it. Yes, this is probably the most expensive one on the list, but you will use it many times, for many years. Say, you buy one for around $80, and you use it for the next 10 years (yes, it WILL last that long). That’s not even 0.02 cents a day. Skeptical that you’ll use it everyday? Don’t be. It’s versatile and will make delectable stews, soups, pasta sauce, meatballs, it can even poach a chicken, bake the perfect loaf of pan bread… do I have to go on?
BIG wooden cutting board
There is nothing more irritating than a tiny plastic cutting board, and constantly transferring food to small bowls because it won’t fit on the cutting board! Invest in a wooden cutting board, big enough to fit all the food you’re prepping. Ikea sells a decent wooden cutting board. If you’re visiting the high country, we have several local artisans who make beautiful, large wooden cutting boards. Check out some of Neil Joyce’s work. Chop, chop, off you go!
What kitchen tool do you think is the most essential?
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Author: Sanny Visser