Tools of the Trade

Every culinary professional has a ‘knife kit’ that he or she brings with them to the kitchen.  This is usually an assortment of knives, tools, practical gadgets and whatever else has been found useful through years of professional cooking.  Remarkably, these knife kits are usually sparse, with only essential items inside.

That speaks volumes about the gadgets and assorted ‘must haves’ found in Williams Sonoma, and other cooking stores. You don’t need 90% of what they’re selling you.

You do, however, need a small selection of very high quality items.  Such items are completely indispensable and no chef or cook should ever be with out.

In my opinion, the ideal ‘kit’ should include the following:

1 high quality forged chef’s knife
1 high quality pairing knife
1 high quality serrated bread knife
good quality 8 in tongs
1 heat resistant rubber spatula
1 wooden spoon
vegetable peeler
honing steel
1 high quality slicing knife
small fish spatula
a few metal tasting/serving spoons

That’s it.  With those tools, you can accomplish 95% of your kitchen tasks.  A good wooden cutting board, decent small wares, and you’re all set.  All the other gismos and gadgets are to replicate and replace TECHNIQUE.  The basics- high quality cutlery and a few professional tools is all you will ever need.

It’s interesting… young cooks in the kitchen usually have the biggest knife kits.  Older chefs have less… With experience, you learn to rely on the basics.


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