They say a bad workman always blames his (or her) tools, but there is some truth in the matter. Talent can only carry you so far – you need the right tools for the job in order to push the boundaries into something exceptional. The kitchen is no different – you might be the best at distinguishing thyme from rosemary, and you might know your Julienne from your batons, but without the best tools, it’s tricky to elevate your cooking to the next level.
Here are five kitchen essentials that no budding chef should ever be without.
A good set of knives
Alongside every kitchen gadget your heart could desire, you need the best of the basics too. You don’t need a thousand different shaped and sized knives – you just need a few good ones. Spend a bit of money on getting knives which will last, and you’ll never regret your purchase. They need to be good quality in order to hold their edge – blunt knives are good for nothing, and you’re actually more likely to cause injury to yourself by cutting with a blunt knife than one which is super sharp. If you’ve never worked with amazing knives, you won’t know what you’re missing out on, but once you get your first great knife, you’ll be hooked.
A fully stocked larder
You can’t very well expect to cook fantastic dishes when your larder is half empty, can you? A larder should be brimming with staples – dried pasta, rice, and legumes, spices, dried herbs, and crazy and random flavourful sauces from the world over. It should be full of things you would never consider for a recipe – cornflour, baking soda, and sugar – things which aren’t a central part of a dish, but which the dish wouldn’t be able to exist without.
An amazing library
They say that knowledge is power, and in the kitchen that is certainly the case. You might have the best sense of taste and smell, but you can never stop learning. A reference library filled with ideas for a cream of tartar substitute, what do cook with excess egg whites, the temperature of sugar to make perfect cinder toffee, and the various cuts of beef or pork, is exactly what you need to take your cooking to the next level.
An understanding of your ingredients, and how they interact, is crucial for making amazing food. It is, after all, a science.
Some great pans
Poor quality pots and pans could be really letting your cooking down. With all the best intentions, knowledge, and skill in the world, if your pan is distributing heat poorly, leaching flavour into the food, or letting things stick and burn, you’re never going to make the best food. Spend a bit more money on two or three great pans, and see how your food is elevated to the next level.
Finally, when you’re cooking something special, you need to get the temperature spot on to make sure it’s perfect. Whether it’s a roast leg of lamb or a pot of caramel, they’ll only ever be perfect with the use of a thermometer. It’s such a cheap piece of equipment, but an absolute essential.
Thanks for stopping by. What are your kitchen essentials?
*This is a collaborative post