I am an avid home cook here at Cafe Martin and have decided to take it even further by attending the French Culinary Institute this summer for their Art of International Bread Baking Career Program. I am elated to begin the courses and finally have a career that truly satisfies me.
Since I have been honing my kitchen skills in both baking and cooking, I thought I’d share some of my favorite tools. These pieces have been making life in the kitchen not only more enjoyable, but easier.
Shun Knives – I have recently acquired a complete set of Shun Knives. These babies make cutting almost too easy! The weight of the handle is absolutely perfect which in turn makes every stroke super precise. I also really appreciate the work that goes into making these knives. There is a long history and quality craftsmanship there. Now, I am partial to Shun but there are so many great knives out there. Some may be expensive but they have to be thought of as an investment. A well-worth-it investment.
Boos Blocks Cutting Board – I’ve been using one of these for about a year now and I don’t know what I did before it! Our board stays on our kitchen counter and I use it for everything (except meats and chicken). It really is my most basic kitchen tool that I can’t live without.
Cast Iron Pans and Le Creuset Cookware – As long as I’ve been cooking with my mom, she’s had a cast iron pan. In fact, her pan is from my grandmother. The best part about a cast iron pan is its ‘seasoning’. Seasoning refers to its wear and the flavors it has acquired from being used and cooking on. Her pan is so seasoned you could cook a piece of paper in it and it would taste great. Le Crueset Pans are useful in the same way. They make your food taste great, cook evenly – plus they are beautifully designed (although seriously heavy)!
Great Recipes and Cookbooks – Chefs tend to create their own recipes, but as I said, I’m a home cook. I’ve come up with a few of my own, but owning and using others recipes is nothing to be ashamed of. That’s why cookbooks are made! I have a pretty large collection ranging from the difficult (Ad Hoc by Thomas Keller) to the simple (How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman).
If you have some great knives, a work surface, some basic pots and pans, recipes and good quality food – you’ve got yourself all the basic kitchen tools you’ll ever need! Although cookie presses and meatball tongs seem like they’d make kitchen life more interesting, they certainly aren’t necessary (and quite foolish looking).