The pandemic made most people spend the better part of the last two years cooped up in their homes. While it undoubtedly came with both uncertainty and frustration, this period also brought with it one unexpected benefit – free time. During their time at home, people suddenly had time to try out all the hobbies they would have never thought of before.
Between composting and puzzle solving, one activity seems to have struck the right cord with most – cooking. In truth, most self-taught pandemic cooks won’t be applying to Michelin-star restaurants any time soon. However, those who have discovered that cooking is both their passion and their calling might want to see all the kitchen essentials they’ll need to become a professional chef.
A knife set
When asked to imagine a chef in a professional kitchen, most culinary rookies will dream up a white hat roaming around with a knife in hand, ready to chop up some vegetables – and this is just the right image. A kitchen knife is an essential tool for any aspiring chef. However, contrary to what 24-hour shopping channels will have you believe, professional chefs don’t actually require a woodblock set of knives.
In reality, there are three knives that all chefs agree are essential – a chef’s knife, a paring knife, and a serrated bread knife. These knives will cut and chop just about any ingredient needed for a dish. Because of their quality and longevity, it’s recommended to always go with forged instead of stamped knives when purchasing this set.
Where you cook is just as important as what you cook. While rookie chefs may not have a Michelin-star kitchen, they should have versatile appliances that allow them to prepare a variety of dishes. One such is a wok burner – an appliance designed to produce a massive amount of heat in a relatively short time. Because of this, chefs can get their pots, pans, and woks on the burner fairly quickly.
A wok burner also allows for versatility in style. This appliance is designed for everything from searing steak to steaming and deep frying. In short, it will give beginners a chance to perfect different dishes and styles before moving on up.
Another appliance that is a must for an up-and-coming chef is a blender. Although a quality blender will cost you a pretty penny, it’s more than just a solid investment. Blenders are the go-to appliance for purees and soups. Top-shelf ones will last longer and make high-quality dishes. In addition, because of the quality of their motors and an array of options, more expensive blenders will bring the spices and flavors together better than cheaper ones.
A cast-iron pan
Now that you have a place to cook, the question is – what to cook in. One essential from the pots and pans aisle is a cast-iron pan. A quality cast-iron pan won’t leave a visible mark on your wallet, but it will make all the difference when it comes to your dishes.
Cast-iron pans are designed to conduct heat, making them ideal for searing a steak or chicken breast. They caramelize the surface of the ingredients you pour into perfection, especially when it comes to red meat. If this wasn’t enough to convince you, know that iron pans are a one-time investment – they’re made to last forever.
Even though this list is by no means finite, it does cover the kitchen essentials that provide any chef with a chance at versatility. By combining the knife set, wok burner, and cast iron, you’ll be able to make just about any dish that comes to mind – and with the right blender, you’ll have just the right soup to go with it!