Learn more about the essential equipment that you can take advantage of in the kitchen, as recommended by chefs and cooks.

Where do you start when setting up a kitchen in readiness for a lifetime of cooking? You've got the space, the oven, the hob and if you're a keen cook or indeed a novice, you want to make sure you have the very best kitchen equipment. Good quality kitchen essentials, although an investment, will make the task of cooking easier and quicker too. And the better the quality, the longer the utensils will last.



Fortunately, the web is full of advice from both professionals and amateur cooks alike and you can lean on their expertise to source the essentials for cooking. We can probably all admit to having drawers full of kitchen utensils that barely see the light of day. They might have seemed like a good idea when they first launched on the market but their usefulness ended there. We hope that this article will guide you in streamlining the kitchen equipment you have.

Essential kitchen equipment to use





Many of us reconnected with cooking during Covid and you could barely log onto the internet without being confronted by yet another recipe for banana bread or sourdough. However, given that cooking became part of our daily rituals, we’re hoping that this continued and has become part of our everyday routines. Cooking your own meals, although requiring planning, is so much cheaper than buying ready meals or using Deliveroo. Most importantly, it’s healthier too as there are none of those hidden sugars in the dishes you prepare at home.

It’s always interesting to seek the advice of chefs and cooks, finding out the type of knives that Gordon Ramsay uses or the basic cooking equipment that Jamie Oliver recommends. After all, they have spent hours and hours in the kitchen and if there are any shortcuts to be made, they’ll be the ones in the know.

Last year, Time Out ran an article asking chefs around the globe to name their favourite life-changing kitchen tools and it makes for an interesting read. One chef picked Ikea’s milk frother which costs £1.50 and is seemingly not essential, if you’re looking to cut back on trips to your local café, you’ll definitely get the cappuccino effect with one of these. Our own treasured Delia Smith says, ‘I'm always being asked what my favourite piece of cooking equipment is, and the answer is unequivocal: a small, flat skewer (I keep a whole bunch of them hanging near where I cook). It's the only way I can tell how my meat or fish is cooking, and whether, say, a cauliflower floret, a potato or a Brussels sprout is cooked. A very small, sharp paring knife will do the same job, but a skewer is better. This is an item I don’t think I could ever cook without.’



To read the article in full click here.

We have drawn up a list of kitchen equipment that will help you be more efficient and save you time, from simple utensils to investments.

Knives and peelers



Gordon Ramsay says a small collection of high-quality sharp knives is better than drawers full of dull, second-rate ones and we definitely agree with this but of equal importance is a quality knife sharpener. You can watch videos online to see how to perfect your knife sharpening skills which are worth tuning in to.

Chef’s knife



Henckels is Gordon Ramsay’s preferred brand for knives and a chef’s knife is a good all-rounder. Use it for cutting up vegetables, meat and fish, as well as chopping herbs or crushing garlic.

Microplane grater



Whether you’re zesting a lemon or grating cheese, the American brand, Microplane, is famous for its super sharp blades that cut effortlessly through hard or soft foods, without tearing or shredding. Grating requires less effort with a Microplane as the repeated groove pattern is spread evenly across the grating surface and thus there is less resistance, all of which can help give maximum flavour to your ingredients

Speed peeler



For peeling in a hurry or when you’ve got large quantities of root vegetables to prepare, you can’t beat a speed peeler. The Deglon Serrated Speed Peeler has two facing serrates making light work. The family own French brand’s reputation is global and its Y-shaped peeler can be found both in commercial kitchens and homes around the world.

Mandoline



A personal favourite of ours, this Japanese-made mandolin is one of the sharpest on the market. Slicing fruit or vegetables with a mandolin certainly elevates your cooking and the end results look very professional. A word of warning though, make sure you don’t get distracted when using one of these: a sliced finger is not a good look.

Vegetable peeler




Some cooks prefer a traditional peeler and choosing a Victorinox one is a no-brainer. From the makers of Swiss Army pen knives, this double-edged peeler is a sturdy, professional tool which can be used in the home or a restaurant.

Cookware and bakeware



Much has been written about the number of saucepans and roasting dishes you need in a kitchen and it’s an argument that will continue to rage. With space in your kitchen at a premium, if you can have the bare minimum, we say this selection of basic kitchen equipment should cover all bases.

Cast iron skillet



It is said that chef, Marcus Wareing is a keen devotee of Netherton Foundry’s pans as is food writer, Diana Henry. As Netherton Foundry says, ‘When Christian Stevenson, aka DJBBQ, the Tsar of the steaks and the King of the coals asks you for a steak skillet, you ain't gonna say "No".’ The result is this Shropshire made heavy duty skillet is a pan that can handle heat giving you the perfect char on steak. You can remove the oak handle if you want to put the pan in an oven or under the grill.

Steel skillet




Recommended by the folks at Buy Me Once, this Samuel Groves frying pan is perfect for everyday use with excellent rapid heating and heat distribution. It can be used on induction hobs along with traditional hobs. Engineered in the UK for durability and performance, the Samuel Groves tri-ply range has been designed to withstand a lifetime of heavy use.

Saucepan



Our Place’s Always Pan has built up a cult status since it hit our shores in 2021 as it claims to replace seven pans in your kitchen armoury. With it, you can braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, boil and take to the table to serve. It’s easy to clean with a nonstick ceramic coating. You cannot put this particular model in the oven, but don’t worry about that as Our Place has panned for that as well.

Baking sheet tray



Make sure you buy a baking tray that doesn’t buckle or warp the minute you put it in a hot oven. Mermaid is the brand to choose from, making high-quality aluminium bakeware in Birmingham for over a century. These hardwearing and versatile baking trays have an anodised coating that will never flake, peel or rust. Chosen by professional chefs, they are guaranteed for life.

Cooking tools and kitchen utensils



These are tried and tested products that work and will enable you to work swiftly and safely in the kitchen.

Kitchen spatula and scraper



A kitchen spatula is essential and with many on the market that don’t do the job properly, you’ll be pleased to read that this sturdy one from Divertimenti fits the bill. Its sculpted head and curved edges are perfect for folding cake batter, as well as being heat resistant up to 250 degrees, making it good for sauteeing spices, scrambling eggs and more.

A scraper ensures that you use every last bit of your ingredients whether you’re scraping dough or removing ingredients from a bowl. The rounded side makes it ideal for any type of container or bowl and it’s dishwasher safe.


Spoon set



With a knack for making the mundane fun, Joseph Joseph four piece utensil set includes a solid spoon, a slotted spoon, a slotted turner and a ladle. They're comfortable to hold, have heat-resistant handles, integrated tool rests that prevent utensil heads from touching the work surface when placed down and come with a compact storage stand.

Oven mitts



Although these gauntlets might seem like overkill, you’ll save burning your wrists when fishing a pan out of a hot oven. From Aga, these gloves are extra long allowing you to reach back into your oven.

Trivet



Save your kitchen worktops from heat damage or scratches with this chrome trivet which is large enough to hold a casserole or a smaller pan or tray. With rubber non-slip feet, it will protect any surface - whether countertop or dining table and it goes in the dishwasher.

Tongs



Every cook should have a pair of quality tongs and these Cuisipro Silicone Locking Tongs were designed to handle both cooking and serving tasks. With non-stick nylon ends, they also have a loop for hanging.

Draining spoon



If you’re cooking a small number of vegetables or pasta, consider using a draining spoon instead of a colander so there will be less to wash up. Joseph Joseph comes up trumps with this colander spoon.

Appliances



These are the investment pieces to have in your kitchen but you need to think carefully before you splurge on a new coffee machine or state-of-the-art blender. Work out realistically how often you will use the machine, where you will store it and so on.

Coffee maker



With our weekly budgets being tested at the moment, buying a coffee maker isn’t a bad idea and Nespresso is the brand we would head to fulfil our daily caffeine fix. Now that coffee pods are available from numerous brands, your coffee menu has expanded enabling you to drink a menu of interesting artisan brews. Our advice is to buy a straightforward coffee maker and if you want to froth up milk, you could always resort to the £3 frother from Ikea.

Hand mixer



If you want to quickly whisk up egg whites or ingredients for a cake, a Kenwood hand mixer is your friend. They’re sturdy, long-lasting and reasonably priced.

Nutribullet



A nutribullet Blender is not just for smoothies. You can make blended vegetables for warming winter soups, silky sauces for pasta or nutritious milkshakes for little ones.

Kitchenaid mixer



Championed by Nigella Lawson when she became the nation’s Domestic Goddess, KitchenAid will help you become your own GBBO champion at home. This model is a revamp of the timeless classic and comes with a range of culinary tools so you can prepare cakes and traybakes, pizza, pasta, dips and sauces.

Thermomix



The Thermomix has twenty-four cooking modes that not only prep ingredients but also cook them to perfection. The all-in-one multicooker is easy to use with a huge selection of guided recipes to ensure that mealtimes are delicious.

Cook Expert



It’s worth noting that Magimix has its own version, the Cook Expert. It can chop, slice, grate, steam, sear, brown, simmer, stir, blend and knead, helping you prepare meals for 2-12 people. It is engineered to combine the functions of a stand mixer, food processor, blender, two-layered steamer, slow-cooker, soup maker, warming and proving oven and digital scales, alongside an auto-rinse programme to make speedy work of clearing up. The stainless steel dual-walled Thermo Bowl cooks and keeps food warm for up to two hours, a Simmer & Stir function for ‘hands-free’ slow cooking for up to four hours, as well as a smart induction feature for cooking up to 160° and intelligent temperature control. It’s expensive but you’ll save oodles of time and the results are fantastic.

Cuisinart blender



This powerful Cordless on the Go Blender is compact and lightweight, which can be used anywhere, at home, at the gym or even in the office.

Bamix swissline hand blender



Swiss brand, Bamix is synonymous with quality, durability and versatility and whose products are used in professional and home kitchens. This high-end processor makes light work of mashing vegetables, chopping fresh or frozen fruits, chopping ice cubes and more. It comes with a lifetime warranty on the motor and the remaining parts are easily replaceable.

Other kitchen essentials



There are of course many other kitchen accessories and gadgets that should have a place in a home kitchen, but depending on the lengths you want to go to or the space available, the following are desirable but not essential.

Pasta roller



Pasta is incredibly easy to make and you really can do it by hand. What makes the job easier is a machine to roll it out and the Marcato is the go-to Italian brand. Available in a number of colours, this is a handsome addition to your worktop. Our only advice is to make sure to use it regularly and don’t let it fester in the back of a cupboard. Home-made pasta is truly the best, even if you’re a beginner.

Gas torch



To get the professional finish on crème brûlée, you need a gas torch to caramelise the sugar. The Rösle Kitchen Torch has an adjustable flame regulator that features a child safety setting to make it extra safe.

Spiralizer



Deliciously Ella brought the spiralizer into our lives when she released her first cookbook on plant-based recipes. You might have thought this was a fad at the time, and perhaps you still do but it’s a brilliant piece of kitchen equipment that doesn’t cost much but can turn your mealtimes into something more interesting and healthy. Spiralized courgettes are always a hit with kids and adults alike. Served with grilled prawns with garlic and chilli and you have a meal fit for a king.

Summary



We’ve given you plenty of ideas of the essentials you need for a kitchen, all of which are relevant to the amount of time you’re going to spend cooking. The kitchen equipment we’ve chosen are performers, regardless of their price, some inexpensive, others high end. Our advice is to research the products, make some rough calculations on spend per use and then draw up a list of your cook’s essentials. It’s worth noting that the better the quality, the longer the life of the product and many chefs can be seen using utensils they bought years ago.

By Team GWG
September 2022

Team GWG

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