<img height="1" width="1" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=403686353314829&amp;ev=PageView &amp;noscript=1">
  • The Chopping Blog

Top Tools for any Kitchen

Posted by Drake on Jan 26, 2023


As a chef instructor at The Chopping Block, I work with hundreds of home cooks all with varying levels of comfort in the kitchen. My goal and hope is to identify where they can find an edge to help them feel that much more confident in their cooking. Along with a wide array of cooking techniques, equally important are the tools you’ll utilize to execute amazing recipes and dishes.  

The world of culinary cookware, utensils, gadgets, and doodads can be overwhelming to say the least. The rabbit hole of Amazon offerings for cutlery and countertop appliances can leave your cache of kitchenware spilling over into the basement, garage and guest room. I do without most singular use utensils and futuristic appliances that claim to “do it all” but only with the addition of a dozen pieces you’ll need to wash and keep track of.   

Once you’ve honed your skills with the essential tools on my list, you’ll basically be able to take your kitchen anywhere in a knife bag. Now, of course, no kitchen is complete without an assortment of pots, pans and some key motorized appliances but we will save those for another blog! For now, we will focus on my personal pick of hand tools that every cook should have in their arsenal.

1. Chef's knife: Your chef's knife is extremely versatile and should be doing a high percentage of any chopping, cutting and butchering. It’s all about finding the right knife for you; it’s a very personal tool. If you keep it sharp and properly maintained, it should last you a lifetime.  

Knives-12. Petty blade: Easily accessible given its petite size. Great for boning and butchering smaller items as well as more detailed knife work.   

3. Bench scraper: More versatile than you can imagine, this is a great tool for working with doughs & flour. Great for cutting butter and is a good partner to your chef's knife to gather or move chopped ingredients off of your cutting board.  

bench scraper4. Thermometer: Preferably a digital instant read thermometer as well as a high temp oil/candy thermometer if you do any frying, candies, or caramels. Using an instant read is my favorite way to temp most of my proteins. This is the most accurate and consistent method of getting perfectly cooked beef, pork, and poultry (learn how to use it to perfectly cook steaks in our Steakhouse DIY class). When it comes to frying on the stove top, it’s important to use a high temp thermometer in order to regulate and maintain proper oil temperature for a crispy golden brown & delicious crunch.  

thermometer-45. Fish spatula: Not only is this amazing tool the best way to handle the crispy skin of delicate fish but is also perfect for pancakes, crepes, or burgers. Typically they are thin and flexible with a beveled edge.  

fish spatula-16. Rolling pin: An essential item for multiple baking and pastry techniques. A sturdy hardwood pin makes a nice mallet and is a go to for rolling out pasta dough if you don’t have a pasta machine.  

rolling pin-1

7. Sauce spoon/ladle: Having a large size spoon in your kit holds many advantages. Between plating, scooping, tasting and a dozen other uses, it’s a simple yet important item to have. In place of or even in addition to the sauce spoon, would be a 2oz ladle. A small ladle holds all the same abilities with the addition of skimming and tempering techniques.  

spoons ladle 8. Silicon Spatula: Stirring, folding, and spreading are just a few of the uses that come to mind with this essential utensil. In the restaurant industry, it's even known as “the million dollar tool!” an exclamation to its ability to scrape bowls, pots, and pans clean of any residual food product as to prevent waste and help with food cost. Silicon is praised for its resilience to high heat, it is also very flexible and great for delicate cookware. 

silicone spatulas9. Microplane grater: Also taking the name of its most popular use “zester.” A “Microplane” is specific to the brand name and comes in many shapes and sizes most accomplishing the same task. Perfect for hard cheeses, spices, and grating ginger or garlic, this is a popular tool among chefs for plating and finishing dishes. 

microplane-110. Whisk: A medium or even small size whisk provides amazing results in the execution of multiple techniques used during cooking. This tool is important when forming emulsions or meringues and to avoid clumping in sauces and batters.  

whisksTake an inventory of the hand tools and utensils that you think you use the most in your kitchen, and see how it stacks up against this list. If there are any tools here you don’t utilize now, try getting familiar with them! I wanted to keep the list tight but here are the runners up and items that I also keep in my knife bag:   

  • Wooden spoon/spatula 
  • Tongs 
  • Chopsticks 
  • Cake tester 
  • Honing rod/steel 

I would say, most importantly, start dialing in your knifework by taking our Knife Skills class. In this class, you get hands-on experience with the chef's knife, bench scraper and honing steel. Come into our Lincoln Square location to find many of these tools and more on our retail floor. We're always happy to let you test drive our knives and tools!  

Join us for an upcoming Knife Skills class:

Topics: knives, kitchenware, Knife Skills, Cookbooks & Tools, tools, kitchen

Subscribe to Email Updates

Most Recent Posts

Sign Up To Get