How to Outfit Your Kitchen Like the Pros
Outfitting Your Kitchen for Performance. We’ll tell you what to pick up and what to pass by in this handy list of kitchen essentials.
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Walk down department store kitchenware aisles and what do you see? Chocolate fountains and fondue sets sporting the grinning mugs of TV chefs. “Buy my pans,“ the product packages suggest. “They’re what I use in my own restaurant kitchen, and don’t you want to cook like a pro, too?”
Tempting…but, with respect to TV chefs everywhere, they’re lying.
We’re here to tell you that beyond the swinging doors of the elite kitchens of America, you’ll find few flame-orange Le Creuset pots. There are no gleaming nests of All-Clad pans, no Calphalon spatulas, and not one single item designed by Jamie Oliver or Rocco Dispirito. In fact, the most sublime food in American restaurants is cooked in dinged-up utilitarian pans that you can purchase rather cheaply from any local restaurant-supply store.
But there’s a catch. While you could run out and pack your kitchen with all sorts of pro-grade staples, home cooks use their cooking equipment differently than chefs. Unlike the nearly disposable pans stacked above a restaurant cook’s station, home cookware is meant to last. Cleanability is important, as we have no on-staff dishwashers in home kitchens, and since we’ll be using this stuff for a while, it would be nice if it were easy on the eye. After that, we want the same performance that pro chefs get from their equipment—and often we won’t find that next to the fondue sets in the housewares aisles.
With an eye toward satisfying the pro’s need for performance with the home cook’s need for durability and style, we outfitted Westchester Magazine’s semi-pro kitchen, and supply information on local sources.
The Basic Blades
While you can always embellish your col-lection with boning, bird’s-beak, granton-edge, and slicing knives, the following minimalist trinity will accomplish most tasks. Before you branch out with extras, be sure you have these basics covered. PS: we didn’t give prices here, as the differing lines at our two outlet stores vary considerably in price and quality, and frequent sales offer unpredictable reductions.
|8” Cook’s Knife This deep-bellied, arc-edged knife is a utilitarian blade that will find its way into your hand and never leave. It’ll slice, chop, carve—you name it. Since it’s virtually indispensable, it’s great to have two or three on hand, so that when company comes to cook—or you’ve allowed number one to become dull—you’ve always got another within reach.|
8” Bread Knife About an inch-wide, this serrated-edged, rigid-bodied knife will slice the crustiest loaf of bread without compressing tender crumbs. It’s also the best choice for ripe, bursting tomatoes and cracker-crisp dacquoises.