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Top 5 cooking tools to take your skills to the next level

A graphic showing the top five cooking tools stated by writer Justin Lee. These tools are imperative for every chef to have in their kitchen. ILLUSTRATED BY BRITTNEY DIETZ/THE STATESMAN

If you want to take your cooking skills to the next level, you have to get the perfect tools. Here is what a professional cook uses in their home kitchen.

  1. Togiharu Virgin Carbon Steel Gyuto

This knife is an absolute beast in the kitchen. Whether one needs to mince delicate herbs or butterfly meat and fish, it helps speed up the process of almost any culinary task. This is my favorite knife in my arsenal and the one I reach for daily. Its blade is razor-sharp and holds its edge well — making it a dream to use. Wherever I go, this knife will be in all of my future kitchens and can last a lifetime. 

Do I recommend it? Yes, but also no, since it comes at a hefty price. Someone who does not cook for a living might be unable to  justify spending $150 on a knife. I paid for it because I am crazy, but you might be more sane. For a more cost-effective knife, I highly recommend Thyme & Table’s 8-inch Chef Knife. This was my very first chef knife, and it worked perfectly fine. For just over $10, you cannot get much better.

2. Lamson Chef’s Slotted Turner

Next is the Lamson Chef’s Slotted Turner, colloquially called the Lamson Fish Spatula. Now you might be wondering: is this a spatula intended just to prepare fish? No, I promise it does way more than that. Its thin, flexible arms can turn delicate pieces of fish, egg and crepe while still being strong enough to complete other tasks. Flipping on pans and grills is easy with this tool. The tip is slanted on either side for right or left-handed usage, adding a nice touch of convenience.  

Do I recommend it? Yes. It is a high-quality piece of equipment made by a reputable company who has been in the business for almost 200 years. What is not to love?

3. GIR Silicone Spoonula

If a spoon and rubber spatula joined together to have a baby, what would it look like? An abomination? No, it would be a spoonula. It can easily scoop things out of bowls and scrape down the sides. It can even get into the nooks and crannies of glass jars. The spoonula scrambles eggs, spreads jam and perfectly slides food off from pans. It’s truly a marvel of modern technology. 

Do I recommend it? Yes. It is surprisingly useful, dishwasher-safe and incredibly fun to mention in conversation. 

4. All-Clad D3 Stainless Steel Fry Pan 

All-Clad is the stuff of legends among top chefs. Incredibly durable structures combined with consistent heat retention and distribution abilities make All-Clad cookware a league of its own. This specific pan has rightfully earned its way into my kitchen. It is able to sear steaks, fry fish and roast tomatoes without a sweat. 

Do I recommend it? It depends more so on your cooking needs. If you are interested in exceptional cookware that will outlive you — go for it. However, $100 for a single pan is a tough sell for most home cooks. With inexpensive options like Cuisinart on the market selling pans with comparable performance ratings for a third of the price, it is hard to justify paying top dollar. 

5. Tramontina Carbon Steel Fry Pan 

Carbon steel is like the leather jacket of kitchen equipment. These pans are very common in professional kitchens but have yet to be adopted in most homes, as opposed to Teflon pans. While traditional nonstick pans get coated with polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), commonly known as Teflon, carbon steel pans are different. Dozens of superheated layers of oil give them the nonstick abilities of a cast iron at a fraction of the weight. Priced at $35, this is the perfect entry-level pan. 

Do I recommend it? Wholeheartedly. I have put mine through a lot with everything I have cooked for the past two years and it still performs as good as new. It is an absolute workhorse with a delicate touch that can and will blow you away.

 

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