There are many companies that need to sell new stuff every year, whether you need it or not, so kitchen stores are filled with ridiculous gadgets. In my opinion, the best tools are simple, efficient, easy to clean, don't break, and aren't limited to a single narrow purpose. On these pages you'll find products that have stood the test of time in my kitchen.


Mini Offset Spatula – The Pastry Cook’s Secret Weapon

Mini Offset Spatula

These little offset spatulas are workhorses for pastry chefs. The offset-handle design keeps your hands out of the way of the work and lets you reach down into baking pans and get right up to the edge. They are also fantastic for frosting cookies and cupcakes. No more sticky fingers. I like the Ateco model …

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Heatproof Silicone Spatulas

I still love my wooden spoons, but honestly I reach for silicone spatulas much more often these days. Silicone spatulas are versatile. It is worth owning a few in different sizes and shapes, because they can scrape out containers with various contours (even blender jars), mix ingredients for baking, and stir hot ingredients. They are also …

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Mandoline – Preferably an Inexpensive Japanese Model

Benriner Japanese Mandoline

A mandoline is simply a sharp blade mounted on a flat platform, with adjustable screws to set the depth of cut, allowing you to make thin, consistent slices very quickly. Extra attachments allow for a variety of julienne cuts. The inexpensive Japanese models are just as good as, if not better than, the $100-plus European …

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Microplane – The Grater That Changes Everything

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Microplane graters are one of the greatest kitchen inventions of the late twentieth century. Originally developed as woodworking tools, they are covered with tiny, ultrasharp teeth that make crazy-quick work of grating hard cheese, ginger, citrus zest, nutmeg, and just about anything else you can think of. They come in a variety of shapes and …

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Paring Knife, Bread Knife, Tomato Knife

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Besides your chef’s knife, you’ll want to have a small paring knife and a good serrated bread knife. If you were to add just one more knife, especially for vegetarian cooking, I would make it a “tomato knife,” which is a little larger than a paring knife but serrated to slice easily through the tough …

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Chef’s Knife

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No other kitchen tool is more important or personal than your chef’s knife. Whole books have been written about what makes a great knife. I can’t tell you what knife to buy, because it is a very personal decision that depends most importantly on how it feels in your hand. But I will tell you …

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