Chef’s gear: The fundamentals

Kristina Williams-Lee

| 3 min read

Regardless of background, all chefs have one thing in common – basic gear that’s essential to a good run in the kitchen. Their lists vary slightly, of course, but certain items are just staples across the board. Check out this list of must-haves in the kitchen. They are great holiday gifts for someone who’s in their very first kitchen this year, or the master chef that broke their favorite spatula on Thanksgiving.
A set of pots and pans
You’ll hear a lot about which sizes and pieces are best to have, but a solid, non-stick or stainless-steel set consisting of a medium-sized skillet, sauce pan, stock pot and Dutch oven will work great for any kitchen. The varieties are endless, so you’ll fare well doing a bit of research.
A baking set
A starter baking set puts a sweet twist of creativity in any home’s nucleus. Who doesn’t like fresh –baked cookies, cupcakes, pies and casseroles? Phrases to look for: Heavy-duty, non-stick, stainless- steel, rolled edges.
Because we’ve all got to chop it up at some point, right? Having the following three blades in your arsenal puts you on the sharp edge of the knife game:
• Chef’s knife: For chopping, mincing and slicing fruit, veggies and meat
• Paring knife: For peeling potatoes, trimming chicken fat or sectioning oranges
• Boning knife: For de-boning meat, poultry and fish
Whether separate or in a set, if you find some that both your hands and pockets handle well, call it a good buy and add it to your cart. While you’re at it, grab a cutting board, too.
Unless you have some strange heat fetish and use your hands to manipulate your food while cooking, you’ll need something to stir, flip and whisk those delightful entrees. Browse utensils based on your (or your loved one’s) handling preferences. Spending a little extra on a better spatula could mean the difference between it lasting two months or five years.
Liquid measuring cup
Though I am pretty decent behind a stove, I can freely admit to my lack of spatial skills when attempting to pour an estimated one cup of anything. And the most complicated dishes require serious precision when adding liquids, so having one of these cups is a must. There are many kinds to choose from, but the tried and true remain the best for under $10.
Wildcard score: Slow cooker
(In my commercial announcer voice) “Give the gift of convenience and classic, home-cooked goodness with a slow cooker this holiday season.” How awesome is throwing all of your ingredients in one pot before you go to work, then returning to an aroma-filled house with dinner waiting on you, not the other way around? As a parent, that’s a gift on so many levels to me.
So what are you getting your chef this holiday season? Give the gift of inspiration and shout them out in the Comments section below.

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