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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No-Slip Drawer Liner—This rubbery mesh was designed to keep tools from sliding around in the drawer. We never saw the point in that, but we love a square of this grippy stuff under our cutting boards. It prevents our work surface from slipping around on the countertop, and when it becomes dirty, it just goes in the dishwasher. As an added bonus, it’s great for getting a grip on recalcitrant jar lids. (Contact Grip Prints Liner, 18” x 8’ roll, $7.86 at Home Depot.)

5 Restaurant-Supply Items That We Can’t Live Without

Lexans These heavy-duty plastic containers look like Tupperware on steroids. With tight fitting lids and a space-saving square shape, they’re essential for storing bulk staples like flour. And since no one wants a pantry smelling of dog food, they’re great for those massive sacks of kibble, too. (Cambro 18-Quart Clear Storage Container, $19.25 at Harris Restaurant Supply.)

Bus boxes It never fails. By the time the doorbell rings on the night of your dinner party, your dishwasher is full from prepping. Cocktails and first courses only make the clutter worse, and, by the time you need to plate dessert, your sink and counters are jammed with dirty dishes. To keep our workspace sane, we clear dishes into two plastic tubs—one for plates and silver, the other just for glasses. We tuck the tubs out of prime real estate, then—when guests are gone—move the boxes to the sink to load the dishwasher at our leisure. And, FYI, they’re great for transporting food, too: you won’t have to worry that spilled bouillabaisse will soak into your car upholstery. (Tablecraft Products Heavy-Duty Tote Box, $11.25 at Harris Restaurant Supply.)

Parchment Paper Silicone-treated parchment paper takes the stick out of baked goods, while also folding into cornets for piped icing, and envelopes for fish en papillote. But unlike Silpats, which always need to be washed, you can discard the used parchment and place your still-clean cookie sheet back in the cabinet. This pastry essential has become common in supermarkets, but beware those short civilian rolls—the paper is fragile, curls up off the pan, and always runs out just when you need it. (Norpak’s 1000-sheet box of Half Sheet Liners, $33.75 at Harris Restaurant Supply.)

¼ Sheet Pans These high-quality but miniature (9 ¹⁄₂ ” x 13”) sheet pans are perfect for smaller uses—but unlike standard half-sheets (17³⁄₄” x12⅞”) they fit in our narrow side-by-side freezer and also in our dishwasher. We love them for freezing blueberries in season, or for baking just a few cookies. (Lincoln’s ¹⁄₄ Sheet Pan, $6.99 at Harris Restaurant Supply.)

Really Big Bowl Everyone who’s ever tried to toss salad or make stuffing for a crowd has cursed the narrow confines of domestically sized bowls. Aside from salads and stuffings, we’ve used our restaurant-supply basin to make vats of caramel popcorn and to ice down beer and wine for parties. (Update 20 Quart Stainless Steel Bowl, $12.95 at Harris Restaurant Supply.)

Pennywise: When to spend (or save) big bucks

$ Skimp

Pie Plates Fluted $40 Emile Henry pie pans are pretty, but $10 supermarket Pyrex plates—available at Target, Stop & Shop, and elsewhere—are the ones preferred by cooks.

Cake and Loaf Pans Cheap supermarket Eckoware—available at Stop & Shop and Grand Union—beats out pricey department store brands for even browning.

Baking Dishes For lasagna and casseroles, pass over elite ceramics by Le Creuset. The inexpensive glass versions available at most supermarkets (Pyrex or Anchor Hocking) outperform glamour pans at a third of the price.

Wooden spoon Swirly olive wood is pretty, but the utilitarian beige wood lasts longer. We like a spoon with a squared-off tip that sweeps the bottom of the pan and digs into corners.