Kitchen appliances and tools are not cheap; they require an investment and time. However, for any home chef, there is nothing more satisfying than a well-stocked kitchen, allowing for equipment worthy of a five-star meal.
While it is often challenging to choose amongst different tools, initially selecting only what is essential, there are several tried-and-true staples every amateur chef needs. The following nine items should get you started on the right path.
1. Chef's Knife
Starting with the most fundamental of all kitchen essentials, the chef's knife is a must-have. You do not want to buy a cheap knife. Cheap knives equate to poor results and quality.
Japanese-style knives are pretty popular and for a good reason. However, know that your investment will require some maintenance, including washing and sharpening, but you can find a service to help.
2. Wood Cutting Board
While many might scoff at the idea of a wood cutting board, these kitchen staples have remained for decades. With proper care, there is no reason the cutting board shouldn't last years.
A good quality cutting board is heavy and durable. It will require frequent oiling, but it also acts as a beautiful decoration when not in use.
3. 10-Inch Stainless Steel Skillet
One of the most versatile pieces of cookware is the 10-inch skillet. Stainless steel skillets conduct heat well and are perfect for searing and roasting large pieces of meat. You will want to ensure the skillet you select has an oven-proof handle to reduce the chance of burns.
4. 9-By-13-Inch Baking Dish
One-pot meals are vital to successful family meal-planning, and they would be so much more difficult if it weren't for the 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish. From lasagna to casseroles, a baking dish is a requirement of any home kitchen. You will want to ensure there is enough depth for a proper meal. Most 9-by-13 dishes are a minimum of 3.8 quarts.
5. Roasting Pan
If you host Thanksgiving or cook roasts often, you need a quality roasting pan. A quality copper and stainless steel roasting pan are sure to make an impression, not only because of their beautiful combination but also the even distribution of heat. Additionally, a quality and well-cared for roasting pan has the potential of being an heirloom piece.
6. Dutch Oven
If you are looking for versatile cookware that can do it all — bake, batch, braise, etc. — look no further than a quality Dutch oven. When looking for this particular piece of cookware, opt for models that are cast-iron and enameled. The right model can last a lifetime, especially when maintained properly.
7. Food Processor
A food processor helps expedite food prep. Do you have onions that need chopping or pie crust that needs prepping? A food processor can do the job quickly and efficiently. Essentially, most jobs you do with a knife can be done with a food processor, but you want to make sure you buy one that's large enough.
A professional blender is essential for a home cook that enjoys making pureed soups, sauces, and smoothies from scratch. Unfortunately, the best blender, a Vitamix, is also the most expensive, but according to America's top chefs, it is worth the price.
9. Stand Mixer
A mixer is not crucial to a well-stocked kitchen, but it is a tool that makes cooking, especially baking, so much easier. Additionally, some top mixer brands have several attachments that make the device more versatile.
What are the tools you consider essential to your kitchen and cooking?