Kitchen Gear

I’m in the market for a good kitchen knife, and didn’t see a topic related to kitchen gear, so here we go! What are some of your fave tools to use in the kitchen, be it for cutting, for prepping, organizing, etc?

We cook all the time at the house, but we’ve always used pretty inexpensive tools that tend to break down and need replacing, like some KitchenAid stuff. Just looking for ideas from real people, as opposed to all the ads and generic review blogs I’ve been running into.

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My brother bought me a couple of Wusthof knives for my birthday, and I can absolutely attest to their quality, sharp enough to shave with if you fancy mixing chopping onions with a shave!

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I’ll second the Wusthof knife recommendation. They’re expensive, but terrific. We have one Wusthof chef’s knife that I got years ago, and recently wound up buying a set of other knives for variety, and I always come back to the Wusthof if it’s clean… it’s just so much better at staying sharp than the others.

When subletting from a friend a few years ago, I became completely convinced by the marvel that is the immersion blender. Especially this time of year, it’s essential for soups. I don’t have a particular one to recommend, but it’s an indispensable tool

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We recently stepped up our coffee game with a Lido 3 manual grinder. Using it mainly for pour over. It has Swiss made burrs and is continuously variable so it has a consistent grind quality and can be dialed for espresso to french press.

Incredibly mundane but I love my electric tea kettle… we redid our kitchen last year and got one to use in the absence of a stove and sink…

I can finally make tea with water that is at the right temperature, and quickly so…

It’s an Oxo Clarity model that my wife picked out…

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Cooking is a big hobby of mine and I’ve found quality tools make it a joy rather than a chore. I do tend to also spend a bit more for aesthetics, buts that’s personal. Links may not be cheapest but tried to stick to manufacture sites as much as possible.

That said, I have no training, I think recipes are meant to be guidelines and hardly ever follow any one unless I or my partner has made it through many iterations of preparations.

Prep:
Santoku chefs knife. Only knife I need except for bread. I have a cheap honing rod and use it before use and a good set of sharpening stones once a year to keep the edge.
Bread knife. Cheap, can’t be sharpened so don’t bother with expensive. My partner looked at me funny when I got it, but it cuts through bread like a hot knife through butter.
Cutting board of my dreams. Sturdy, self healing, keeps knife sharp. Loaded it with oil and then sealed with wax when I got it, now I just oil every so often and it’s as good as new. It is a bit heavy, but my petite partner manages with no issue.

Coffee:
Grinder, would love a Comandante but will wait for this one to break or show signs of aging. I’ve had it for years and very little issues with it (handle comes off sometimes and I reattach it by tightening the small screw to clamp it to the lid). Grind size is consistent enough, better than anything else I’ve used, especially for the price. I work shift work and grind right before brewing, so I didn’t want a loud mechanical grinder.
Brew with the standard v60 and chemex, nothing special here and pretty well known. I prefer the v60, particularly the ceramic for it’s heat retention and it not being plastic.
Yama coffee tower. Yes, it’s absurd for home use, but I adore it and the coffee it makes is divine. I’ve got it mostly dialed for each season. Mixing some of the Brew with sparkling water is great for a summer afternoon.
Electric kettle. Temperature controlled and fast, useful for coffee and tea. Spout isn’t as nice as my Takahiro but the temp control and speed means it gets used far more often.

Cooking tools:
Wok, used quite often for stir fry and frying. Big enough without being too big for an apartment kitchen.
Insta pot for all slow cooking needs. Pressure helps speed cooking up, it’s incredibly versatile and pretty painless to use and clean. No issues with it, have a large one for bulk cooking and a smaller for more daily use. Only challenge is finding what works for you with recipes. Every one seems to vary how long and at what pressure level to cook things, so some trial and error ends up being part of the process.
Pot for general use. I actually only use this pot, some day I’ll get another but so far I’ve made due with just this. Three ply was the ideal price to performance ratio for my use, though copper or 5ply would probably be luxurious. Used it 2-3 times a day for years and still looks new.
Stock pot. I guess this counts as a second pot, but for obviously different tasks. 8qts is big enough for my partner and I to batch cook curry for a week at a time, which helps when I’m on night shifts. Lower quality metal here, but not an issue since most applications don’t need excellent heat transfer, save mirepoix like prep, but I’m not worried about suboptimal browning.
Food processor, for prep work, salsas, tahini, hummus, nut flours and so many other things. Until I bought a blender I used it for everything, now some of those tasks are shifted, but it was fully capable at most things a blender can do that don’t involve liquids.
Speaking of blenders, this is what I painstakingly settled on after a lot of research and suffering. What I learned is the more premium high end blenders have mostly the same power and ability to blend things. Once you pay the price of admission, you’re set from a utilitarian point of view. The fancier models offer presets that let you push a button and walk away, all of those presets can be accomplished by using manual speeds for certain lengths of time. This has done everything flawlessly for me that I’ve asked of it: smoothies, nut milks, nut butters (with the jar designed for them), flours, nut cheeses, soup, and I’m sure more that I’m not thinking of. Always good consistency, as long as I blend long enough. Yeah, it’s loud, they all are; unless you spend a lot and get the sound insulated model. I live in an apartment and neighbors don’t seem to mind as long as I blend in normal “day walker” hours.

Those the big highlights, I have some other more niche equipment for pasta making/other such tasks and then more general use items if anyone is interested and wants something more specific. I’m happy to answer more detailed questions about anything I posted as well. I know I personally hate researching this stuff, I’m always so conscious of the suffering I feel being lost in a sea of options that all promise to be perfect depending on the blog you land at.

One last note since it’s related to the kitchen, I’ve found the most valuable “tool” for my cooking is fresh spices from a quality seller (there are many on the internet and likely locally as well) with high turnover. Whole spices are best if ground before use. Tasting the difference between fresh spices and even a premium bottle from the grocery is night in day to my senses.

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I swear by my Kasumi 8" chef knife - I use it for absolutely everything, and one good knife will take you far with a good set of sharpening stones. I also like the OXO good grips range for prep basics such as peelers or garlic press and Microplane graters.

While I do love my engrained chopping board, it is unweildy. I have heard great things about Japanese rubber chopping boards, hygienic, non slip and very kind on the knife edge

I have been using MAC knives daily for over fifteen years now, find them to be the best bang for your buck and you don’t lose sleep over losing or breaking one.

With tools, less is more. One can opener. That’s the only amount any one ever needs.

Plenty of open work space and a large cutting board.
Also get rid of those salt grinders. Diamond Crystal salt for cooking in a bowl, and finishing salt in a smaller bowl. Hate to gatekeep salt, but…

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Cast. Iron. Never going back. I just have a few skillets from Lodge, but I’ve been drooling over these for a little while and may have to pick up one of their chef skillets:

It’s a lot of money so far as as cast iron goes, but I’ve blown more money on less. Plus, the things will likely outlive me by a longshot.

There are plenty of great knifes out there and I guess once you have a list to good knifes it’s up to taste.

Here is my recommendation: https://www.windmuehlenmesser.de/en/products/cooking-knives/

Have the K5 and K2 and I’m very happy with the choice.

After having used a few fairly expensive knives, I would suggest going with Victorinox Fibrox and an AccuSharp handheld sharpener. They are cheap enough where you don’t need to invest the effort of caring for the edge. Just sharpen it back up and go. I’ve had my current one for ~5yrs now, and it is still cutting like a champ and sharpens up quickly.

Not thus far mentioned:

An immesion blender is a really useful tool. I use a basic Prepstick that I have had for many many years without issue. It’s not a daily use tool, but it’s small and extremely helpful when it makes sense.

A steamer basket. I’ve had the same basic steamer basket for almost 20 years.

A chefs/santuko, bread, paring knives will cover 99% of your cooking. I’m a vegetarian, but I keep a boning knife around as a utility knive. It’s extra pointy, so it helps when you want to cut things that aren’t food at the risk of dulling a nicer knife.

I’d like a toaster that isn’t bad at it’s job. I eat a lot of toast. If you own an incredible toaster, please let me know.

PS - You can cook pasta in very little water.

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I have the Balmuda steam toaster. Not sure if it’s properly available in the US, but I like it and visitors always comment on their toast.

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Honestly, my favorite toast comes from a well seasoned small cast iron skillet with some olive oil or butter of choice for browning. A bit more effort, but really tasty and one less thing on the counter. Not for everyone, but thought I’d mention it since you may already have one to try it with.

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Sadly my electric cooktop isn’t particularly great at heating my pan up. I tend to eat toast as a convenience food or adjacent to a quicker meal, but it is a good suggestion!

De Buyer carbon steel pans. I prefer over cast iron–similar performance but I find them easier to handle.

I have a few global knives I’ve used for years and years. I take them to a pro to get sharpened periodically. I really enjoy having a mandoline slicer for making short work of other things to be chopped. Recently I picked up a $20 tortilla press from a local mexican grocer which has been amazing to have. Fresh 'tillas on demand! All my cooking is done with some combination of a Lodge cast iron dutch oven / pan thing.

As a chef I can really recommend a good knife, it will really change how you cook.
I have gotten several excellent knives from https://japanesechefsknife.com/.
Also can highly recommend tojiro flash knives as well. Been using one daily as my main knife for years and it’s been a great investment.
Also a good spatula is irreplaceable. You see a lot of chefs ,myself included, using these for a reason.
https://www.amazon.com/Nogent-Fish-Spatula-flexible-handle/dp/B00V94W6B2
Investing in a few good quality tools will improve your cooking and your enjoyment thereof immensely.

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Highly recommend the 8” Wusthof Classic Chef’s knife. Durable, and easily takes an edge-and comfortable to hold. Reasonably-priced. If you learn how to properly hold a knife and keep it sharp—you’ll have some everyday magic.


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