When you're cooking in your kitchen at home, you might find yourself wondering what kind of cookware a professional would use. No matter how skilled you are at putting together tasty dishes and mouth-watering meals, if you don't have the right tools for the job, it's much harder to make your food as good as possible. To help you out, here's a guide to the tools of the trade used by professional cooks.
Frying pans are used by professional cooks to make things like fried eggs, fried dumplings, or to sear and pan roast different types of meats. Having one with a non-stick coating is essential to make sure the food you're cooking will come off the pan easily and won't leave burnt pieces behind. They come in a variety of materials like stainless steel, cast iron, copper, and carbon steel.
Sauté pans are similar to frying pans, but are deeper and have completely vertical sides, allowing for a lid to be used on them. The professional cooks from Ktchn Essentials say these are great for making any kind of fried foods that you need to move around while cooking or more tender cuts of meat. They can be made of the same materials as a frying pan, but they tend not to have any additional non-stick coating since you don't let the food sit still for very long when cooking.
Most professional chefs will tell you that you should have an array of different knives and a sharpener to keep their blade edges working efficiently. At the very least, you need a chef's knife, a bread knife with a serrated edge, and a paring knife. They often come in a large wooden block where they can be stored when not using them. It's recommended that you get forged knives instead of stamped ones since they will last longer. Using a knife sharpener on them regularly will also extend their life, and if you're using them almost every day, you should be sharpening them once every week or two.
Pressure cookers are deep pans with a sealable lid to prevent water from evaporating while cooking. They can be used to tenderize the meat and reduce your cooking time by at least half. You can get one that's used on a stovetop or a version that's a self-contained appliance with its own heat source. Pressure cookers can be a bit tricky to get the hang of, and if you're not careful, they can also be dangerous. Make sure you handle them with extreme care and seal the lid tight before using them.
Professional cooks suggest having both a blender and food processor in your kitchen since they perform similar tasks for very different results. A blender is useful when you want to make a soup or a smooth purée, while a food processor lets you get coarsely chopped foods like fruits and vegetables. You don't want to buy ones that are too cheap, since the quality of their output isn't as reliable, and they tend to break sooner.
When you're cooking something in a pot or a pan, you should have a wooden spoon that you can use. Unlike plastic, which can melt, or metal, which can get too hot, wooden spoons will let you stir your food while on the stove. Get one with one flat side, so you'll have an easier time scraping the bottom of your pot or pan to get any residual pieces of food off it.
A heat-resistant rubber spatula is great for stirring the more delicate foods or sauces you're making. They can withstand temperatures upward of 400 degrees Fahrenheit, meaning they won't melt when using them on a hot pan. You can get them in different shapes and sizes, so you'll always have one to meet your cooking needs.
Salad spinners will allow you to get your lettuce and other greens much cleaner and dryer than you can when handwashing them. They can also be used for all kinds of other fruits and vegetables. Having less water on your greens means that salad dressing will stick to them better once applied.
Every kitchen should have these essential pieces of cookware stocked up and ready to go. You don't want to be ready to cook something, only to realize you don't have the right pots, pans, or other accessories necessary for the job. Once you get these tools of the trade used by professional cooks, you'll feel like a real chef in no time at all.