Unless you're the baby of Gordan Ramsay and an upgraded Edward Scissorhands, you'll be needing proper chef tools, especially when those holiday feasts come around. And, like anything else, having the right tools for the job will make you a much better cook. Here are the 10 Most Important Chef Tools (in our humble opinion):
1. Chef's Knife
This one may seem like a no-brainer, however, we want to make sure you have a high quality chef's knife. Just any old knife from Walmart's discount bin will not do your cooking justice. There are a few things that separates a high quality knife from any other regular knife.
One of the most important things being the "tang". Before we continue, please don't lick the knife to try to taste for the tanginess of the blade. The "tang" refers to how the knife is constructed. If the blade and inner part of the handle is made of the same piece of steel, this would be considered a "full tang". This aspect is incredibly important to the reliability of your knife because knives that only have the blade as a separate piece connected to the handle will undoubtedly become unstable. A real chef needs to make precise cuts and that cannot happen when you have a wobbly blade. Not only that, the knife will also likely have uneven weight distribution, which will effect your ability to handle the knife with precision. This may not seem like a big deal, but imagine playing hockey or tennis with an unbalanced stick or racket. It would lead to a horrible game and even possible injury - using an unbalanced chef knife is the same.
Lucky for you Napoleon, one of our top barbecue brands, has made their own knife that meets our standards. If you need a new chef's knife, check out Napoleon Professional Chef's Knife by clicking here.
2. Cutting Board
Now that you know you need a good knife, it goes without saying you'll need a good cutting board. A few traits of a good cutting board include the ability to not slip and that it's made of soft enough material to preserve the edge of your knives. It also needs to be easy to clean to avoid cross contamination, especially with raw meats.
Just like Batman and Robin, a professional chef's knife needs a good cutting board by its side. Click here to check out the Joseph & Joseph Cut and Carve Chopping Board to one of the most innovative cutting boards we've ever come across. Did we mention that it's also dishwasher safe?
3. Peeler or Paring Knife
One way or another, things need to be peeled. Whether you want to use a convenient peeler or a be a paring knife, having these tools will be incredibly useful in your kitchen. You wouldn't use a sledge hammer for a two-inch nail, so don't try to use a chef's knife to peel a potato. Get yourself, or your foodie friends, a peeler or paring knife.
4. Mandoline Slicer
Now that you know what to use to peel your veggies, here's something that'll help you slice them nice and evenly for that "Instagram-worthy" presentation. Of course, you could use a knife for the job, but that's a whole lot of time spent focused on the evenness of your cuts, especially if you plan to cut them julienne
(if you don't know what julienne
is, click here to see our blog about the Top 29 Essential Chef Terms
). Double your efficiency
with an adjustable mandoline slicer that can provide just about any kind of slicing you need... because you know what they say: time is money!
5. Microplane or Zester
Fancier than a cheese grater, but less so than a personal chef. Either way, if you have one of these, you'll not only look like a real chef, all your future zesting will be fuller and more flavorful.
This goes without saying. You need a puree? Blender. You want a smoothie? Blender. You want some pesto, hummus, mayonnaise, salsa, vinaigrettes, or to make any solid food into a liquid, sauce, or spreadable? Blender.
7. Food Processor
A food processor will make you a better cook. Now, you might be wondering, "What's the difference?" On one hand, a blender is best for making liquid-based foods and drinks - or blending wet and dry ingredients. On the other hand, a food processor will be better for the more difficult, non-liquid-based tasks like mixing dough, turning meat into mush, and chopping nuts.
8. Spice Grinder
Although pre-ground spices are completely acceptable to use, freshly ground spices will elevate your flavour. When picking yours, make sure the blades and other internal components will be sharp and tough enough to handle grinding up hard ingredients like black pepper or Himalayan rock salt. Often times, common spice grinders with an electric motor won't have these capabilities. They may look fancy when they can grind your spices with a touch of a button, but the motor will likely breakdown in time when going against the tough ingredients we talked about before.
Additionally, it would be beneficial to you if you could adjust the coarseness of your spices. This will give you much more versatility in everything you season, especially those beautifully aromatic dishes that heavily rely on spices.
Another feature to consider is if the grinder can be easily dissembled and cleaned. We often overlook them when we clean our kitchens, but a clean kitchen is the first step to making great food and your spice grinder is a part of that.
This one may be a debatable one. Some may argue that a "true chef" should be able to know the stage of their foods cooking process by the colour, texture, smell, and other sensory cues. Although this is true and some of the greatest chefs don't need to rely on a thermometer, we're guessing the great Michelin star chefs of this world aren't reading a blog about what tools to use in their kitchens. So, let's just put it this way: if you're reading this, you need a good thermometer.
It just so happens that we have a massive selection for you to choose from, just click here to see our instant and remote Bluetooth thermometers
. And remember, don't determine the readiness of your food by how long it's been on the grill because, like our pro pitmaster staff member, Ken, always says, "Time lies, temperature doesn't".
10. Spatula and Fish Spatula
If you cook anything on a pan, we're guessing you already have a spatula; but do you have a fish spatula? If you don't know what a fish spatula is, it's a thin spatula that will have large holes in the flipper. This is ideal for when you cook fish - or anything like chicken or porkchops - in oil because you can pick up your food without accidentally scooping oil with it.
A fish spatula will often be made of a thin piece of metal, which makes it better for picking up foods that may need to be peeled off their cooking surface, like fresh pancakes or cookies. Just slide the sturdy flipper under and never deal with having to rip bits of your food off their cooking surfaces.
Having a good pair of tongs is like having a good pair of shoes - is it technically an absolute necessity for life to go on? No, but it'll make your life a heck of a lot easier. That being said, it still makes this list of the most important chef tools because you'll find you'll be using it all the time. Whether it's to pick up raw meat, grab something hot, or to neatly adjust the presentation of your plate, you will simply use tongs so much that you may as well get a pair you like.
Last, but NOT Least
Although we've already given you our list of 11 Most Important Chef Tools
, "the sword is only as deadly as the swordsman", which means your chef tools will only be as effective as you, the chef. Without the skills, techniques, and general knowledge behind the art of cooking, these tools won't help you much. That's why we write blogs to expand your knowledge on all things cooking. Just click here to read the rest of of our knowledge-packed blogs
about recipes, tips promotions, and more!