So you’ve finally decided to learn how to cook. Congratulations! Cooking for yourself and others is a rewarding experience that is not only fun, but also good for your health and wallet. Many new chefs have the instinct to go out and buy all sorts of new gadgets to make cooking easier, but you really don’t need that much to have a fully functioning kitchening. Once you get more comfortable with cooking basics, you can experiment with more advanced tools and techniques, but in the meanwhile, here are the must-haves for starting your culinary career.
- Chef’s Knife- A good chef’s knife is the foundation of cooking. Different knives can be used with greater specialization, but in a pinch, your chef’s knife will get most jobs done. If you invest in one high-quality piece of cookware, make it this.
- Honing Rod- A honing rod comes standard with most knife blocks. It’s the thin rod with a handle that looks kind of a like a baton. It may not be immediately obvious, but the honing rod is actually used to sharpen knives, bypassing their edges across it at an angle. Most people don’t sharpen their knives frequently enough; you should use your honing rod to touch up your blades at least once a week.
- Cutting Board - You’ll be using a cutting board almost every time you cook, so it’s wise to invest in a sturdy one that will last you. Look for one that’s dishwasher safe.
- Cookware Set- Okay, this is a kind of a cheat, since it’s really several items, but every chef needs a basic set of pots and pans for stovetop cooking. Look for a set that includes (at least) the following: stockpot/dutch oven, saucepan, saute pan, and frying skillet.
- Food Processor - Admittedly, a food processor does work that a chef’s knife and cutting board can also handle, but the time it saves is worth the investment. Most amateur chefs want to be able to cook and eat their meals quickly after a day at work, and there are few things more satisfying than watching a machine coarsely chop all of your prepped veggies in a matter of seconds.
What about you? What are your culinary must-haves?