by Reece Nelson
The kitchen can be an intimidating atmosphere. With sharp blades and hot flames everywhere, it can be hard to motivate yourself to get in there and cook. However, with the right tools, your kitchen can become an enjoyable space where you can express your creativity. There are thousands of different utensils that all have very specific purposes, but you really only need a couple of items to make delicious home-cooked meals. Keeping it simple is the best way to start your journey in the kitchen. So, here are our five essential kitchen utensils that every chef should have.
A chef’s most trusted tool is their knife. The chef’s knife is what your whole kitchen should revolve around. It is the primary utensil and is how you, the chef, interact with the raw ingredients. It is used for mincing, dicing, and even sometimes to debone poultry. You’ll use a knife almost every time you prepare food, so it is important you have a reliable one at your side. The standard is usually 8-12 inches, however, a smaller knife is definitely suitable when working on a budget. This is an item you should feel comfortable investing in because, with proper care, they will last years if not decades. It is important to take proper care of your knife by drying it immediately after hand-washing and generally handling it with care.
The cutting board is the surface where all your chopping and preparation takes place. In my opinion, the larger the cutting board, the better. Larger cutting boards offer more area to work and less slipping as you chop. However, nice wooden cutting boards do get expensive as they grow in size. As an alternative, get a medium sized cutting board and place a damp towel flat underneath to prevent any slippage.
Cast Iron Skillet
A cast iron skillet might be one of our favorite items on this list. They allow you to get a mean sear on any piece of meat and provide you with a go-to pan for caramelizing or sauteing. The best part is they get better with age! A cast iron, after every use, should be wiped down with oil to build up the flavor in the pan. When washing your cast iron, remember not to use soup – it will destroy your progress. Over time, you will have a permanently non-stick pan that provides great flavor.
Such a simple item, but it is vital for many meals. Without a baking sheet, your oven is practically useless. Utilizing your oven is a perfect way to clear up space on your stovetop and help manage your kitchen space. Baking sheets are not just for baking cookies, they also provide you with a nice surface to roast any vegetable, which is an easy and delicious way to incorporate vegetables into your next meal.
This is a less common item, but one we find to be extremely useful. A mandoline slicer is a flat board that has a blade set into it, creating very thin slices of whatever you slide across it. Considering many people don’t have the knife skills to cut thin slices, the mandoline slicer can act as an alternative. This item is perfect for creating toppings for your salads or any cold dishes. It is fast, easy to use, and a must have in your kitchen.
With these five basic tools, you will be set to make a wide variety of dishes in the comfort of your own kitchen. Cooking should be fun, not scary, so use these tools to dazzle your friends and family with delicious home-cooked meals!