the top 5 kitchen utensils, part one

For this post I interviewed my friend and chef Gretchen Young.  She is a chef for William’s Sonoma’s store at Columbus Circle and personal chef for a bachelor in New York City.  I will share her top picks for kitchen utensils and equipment over the next few months.

So to begin, this month’s top 5 kitchen utensils.  The things you simply cannot live without.

ONE Pepper mill (and Salt mill if you are so inclined)

Peugot Chateauneuf Adjustable Salt & Pepper Mills

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Did you know that the French car maker Peugot also makes world class pepper mills? The mechanism was created in the 1840s and this same engineering has been the best since then! Sleek and shapely, this traditional grinder is top quality and comes with a lifetime guarantee.

Mini Salt/Pepper Mills

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Let’s say you don’t have a lot of space on your counter, yet you still want fresh pepper or salt on your plate. Try the “Pump N Grind!” In one hand, hold down with your thumb and pump away. No adjustment possible to the coarseness of the grind.  Salt and pepper grinders fit easily in utensil drawer.

TWO Utensil Set

All Clad Utensil Set

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Oxo Utensil Set

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While I prefer All Clad’s stainless tool set, this set has a bit of everything and it is non-stick which means that you do not scratch your pots and pans (something I do not seem to worry about, but does seem to stress out others).


THREE
Wooden Spoons

Beechwood Spoons

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You’ve invested a lot of energy equipping your kitchen. Now it’s about the maintenance. Wooden spoons are the way to go when cooking. They will not scratch metal pans, clean up is easy and there is no scraping. Save the metal spoons for serving. Just remember not to toss wood spoons in the dishwasher.

Batali Wooden Spoons

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A wooden spoon is a basic and beautiful tool to have in your kitchen.  When I pull out my wooden spoons I recall fond moments of watching  images chef’s and home cooks the world over I have watched in their kitchens.  Gretchen likes the beechwood spoons, I love the lines of the Batali spoons.

FOUR Measuring Tools

All Clad Standard Cups & Spoons

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Heavy stainless measuring cups and spoons. All-Clad makes wonderful tools for the kitchen. They are perfect for recipes that call for “scoop and sweep” methods. And they won’t rust. Gotta love that.

OXO Angled Measuring Cup

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The OXO Angled Measuring Cup is another item on the “must have” list. No more raising the measuring cup to eye level to figure out just how much is in one of these things. Just pour liquid into the cup and read levels instantly. Dishwasher safe. Colorful and easy to read.

As for the dry measuring utensils vs. wet measuring utensils.  As Gretchen remarked to me, you cannot use one in lieu of the other, dry ingredients and liquids are volumetricaly dissimilar.


FIVE
Microplane Grater

Microplane Zester Grater

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No more scraping your knuckles with a box grater. This brilliant, versatile tool is used for lemon/lime zest (you’d be surprised how many uses you can find for zesting), for Parmesan cheese and chocolate shavings (on those nights you want to make dinner special for your honey).  Rinses clean, dishwasher safe.

Microplane Grater-Zester without Grip

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This is my favorite, though Gretchen claims that men will like the one above more as she finds it easier to handle.  They both do the same job and do it beautifully.
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Gretchen Young has a culinary career that stretches over 10 years, having satisfied high profile individuals, restaurants, small businesses and non-profit groups through a catering business, cake design studio and as a private chef. She has taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle and the Whole Foods Bowery Culinary Education Center. During the Fragrance Foundation’s 2006 Fragrance Week, she partnered with Takasago Perfumerie and Bacardi to create a multi-sensory experience of food, cocktails and scent. She earned an MBA from the University of Michigan and was trained at the Institute of Culinary Education.

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5 Responses to “the top 5 kitchen utensils, part one”

  1. Patricia Higgins Says:

    Dear Dale: this is just fabulous………great teamwork with
    our Chef Gretchen.

    LOVE
    Patriacia

  2. susan sobo... Says:

    i am proud to say, according to chef gretchen…my kitchen is well stocked…now, if i could only coordinate it all to work better together!

  3. josiah Says:

    Dale, have you been snooping in my kitchen? I own more than half of these things…

  4. Paul Says:

    Dale, you know if you check out my kitchen it will be the top 50 essential utensils. But don’t forget the a Henckels 7″ Santoku Knife that I use for pretty much all my cutting needs, and of obscure things that I use more then I think I do like my silcone spatula, mushroom brush, Lemon reamer,etc. and the other needed essentials….

  5. Hasaun Says:

    Dale, even though I’m a budding master chef, you reminded me how I needed a few things. This is a great story.

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