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Must Haves for Any At-Home Chef


With the holidays on their way soon, many people will be beefing up kitchens to handle the increased demand for 'fit for a king' meals. Not being a professional Chef shouldn't stop you from being able to cook like one. But, you'll need the right tools to create those tantalizing dishes. Read on and find out the five tools that no kitchen cook should be without.

Mixing Bowls

Make sure that you have a good, quality set of mixing bowls on hand - the bigger the better! Many dishes need to be beaten, blended or mixed. You'll be glad you didn't skimp on the mixing bowls when you need to perform any of those tasks. Most professional chefs prefer to use stainless steel mixing bowls. However, there are many quality plastic sets available, like the ones made by OXO. But be aware that plastic bowls can become hard to clean over time, especially if used for heavy duty sauces, and may need to be replaced.

Pre-Seasoned Cookware

Cast iron skillets, pots and pans have long been a choice of the pros. But, cast iron cookware can be a little daunting. Seasoning, pre-seasoning, re-seasoning, cooking the seasonings in, oils to use, etc. to ensure your skillet is ready, is a hassle many cooks would rather not deal with. Now you don't have to. You can buy cast iron cookware galore - already seasoned - so that you have no fuss and still get the same great benefits of those using simple cast iron. Lodge is a well known maker of pre-seasoned cookware and offers many different types of cast iron cookware. Be aware -soap nor dishwashers should be used for your prized possessions.

Specialty Measuring Spoons

If you've ever seen one of grandma's old recipes refer to a pinch, smidgen or dash and have had to take a guess at the meaning (and hope you're right) then you absolutely must grab a set of pinch, smidgen or dash measuring spoons. No more guessing or testing your interpretations on your guests (as fun as that may be). This set also makes a great conversation starter - especially at family gatherings where elder members may take you on a trip down memory lane.

First out Pie Spatula

What could possibly ruin the perfect homemade Dutch crumb apple pie? Having it fall apart while you try to get that first piece out of the pie dish. Well, here is a secret of the pros - use a first out pie spatula. You bake the spatula in with the pie. When the pie comes out of the oven and cools, you make the cuts and lift that first piece out in perfect appetizing condition!

Kitchen Companion Guide

Ever wonder how long you need to steam asparagus? Not sure how to stick a thermometer in a turkey? Never butterflied a pork chop before? For all the weird, rarely used information you may need, while preparing a feast, you can turn to a kitchen guide. Look for a kitchen guide which specializes in everything and anything you may need to know while cooking any meal in any kitchen. For a complete guide that has gotten rave reviews, check out the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Companion: The A to Z Guide to Everyday Cooking, Equipment and Ingredients.

Many of the above items may not be featured at your local retail store, so you might want to find a local kitchen specialty store near you or do your shopping online. But, if you enjoy the art of cooking and want to be armed with the best tools possible, you now have a few more to add to your arsenal which will help you cook like the pros.

Mike Tinnes is a retired chef who spent most of his time as a Head Chef in New Orleans after training in France. He spends his free time cooking for family and friends, as well as serving as a contributing editor for CookingSchools101.com which offers information on Culinary Schools for those wishing to enter the trade.


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