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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Tongs Rubber tips are unnecessary, name brands are silly, and locking mechanisms only frustrate. Your best bet is multiples of no-name restaurant-supply tongs from Harris Restaurant Supply.

V-Slicer For waffle cuts and quick juliennes, Bron’s classic (and unwieldy) stainless-steel mandoline can cost $150, while a plastic “Little Beni” costs only $36.95 at Harris—and it goes right in the dishwasher.

Mixing Bowls Nests of English ceramic bowls are so pretty—and so expensive. Plus, they’re heavy, prone to chipping, and their glazes craze in the dishwasher. Instead, pick up cheap nests of restaurant-supply stainless bowls—you’ll never regret it.

$$$ Splurge
Spatulas Rubber heads degrade and stain, then pop off with minimal use. Bite the bullet and buy the cupped silicone version, which also takes the place of a kitchen spoon. (Le Creuset set of three silicone spatulas, $24.95 at

Cookie Sheets Unlike stamped, cheapo supermarket versions, Winco’s heavy-duty anodized aluminum half-sheet pans with rolled edges won’t warp, crease, or rust. $8.99 at Harris Restaurant Supply

Silpat This squishy silicone mat is a necessity for bakers, eliminating the cement-like stick from toffee and caramels. It also eliminates the need to grease cookie pans, but a single liner will cost you $17.97 at

Knives Forged, rather than stamped, steel knives are expensive—but they’re more comfortable to use and last longer than bargain versions.

Roasting pans As with cookie sheets, quality pays. Look for sturdy handles and rolled edges so your $150 rib roast doesn’t end up on the floor. Also, quality pans can pop right onto the burner for de-glazing and sauces.
Peelers Cheap swivel peelers are uncomfortable, rust, and are quickly blunted. Instead, check out the ergonomically designed peelers from OXO ($10.99 at, or the classic Zena Star Economy Peeler ($7.95 at
Pepper Grinders Budget grinders bog down, are difficult to load, and require constant adjustment. Suck it up and invest in a Peugeot or a Perfex, which can range from $50 to over $100, depending on source and model.

 Source: Harris Restaurant Supply 25 Abendroth Ave, Port Chester (914) 937-0404.

Julia Sexton is an award-winning food writer, restaurant critic, and ex-professional cook. Her pupils markedly dilate when she encounters a restaurant-supply store.




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