As a professional chef, I can think of few items you actually NEED besides the obvious ones – knife, pots, pans. But there are a few things that I’d recommend asking for this holiday season if you’re looking for multi-use kitchen tools that can help you be more efficient and effective in the kitchen.
Ask for these Holiday Gifts to be More Efficient in the Kitchen Next Year!
- Food Processor – If I were looking for one “big” appliance to invest in a food processor would be it (followed closely by a blender). The reason is that it’s super versatile and can help with all kinds of food prep, which is often the longest part of cooking. With a food processor you can quickly slice, dice, shred, or puree many things. It especially makes weekly “meal prep” a breeze when you can chop up multiple onions and then divide them up amongst their respective recipes. Also noteworthy is that it can go in the dishwasher.
- Sharp knife – Put down the bargain basement Martha Stewart serrated chef’s knife (I’m looking at you, mom). You want a nice, sturdy, sharp knife that you can use for slicing veggies, chopping meat, and cutting into lasagna. If you’re looking for a great one at a good price, this is the one for you. (Which is why it’s on almost every list I’ve ever made.) With this in your arsenal, you’ll really only need a serrated bread knife and your knife collection will be complete.
- Big cutting board – Likewise, that flimsy, dinky, plastic cutting board is causing you more heartache than it’s worth. Get a big, sturdy cutting board that will keep the food you’re chopping from flying all over the counter. I like to make sure mine are dishwasher safe because I’m lazy like that. In addition, this one won’t dull your knife, though I would keep a plastic one on hand so that you have a different surface for chopping raw meats.
- One good nonstick pan – Yes. Only one. I won’t go into a whole diatribe here today over what pan collection you should have, but I will tell you that if you want make eggs or crepes then you’ll want one smallish nonstick one. I prefer a ceramic surface over Teflon because I’m crunchy like that.
And a Few Great Stocking Stuffers Too!
- Vegetable peeler – A good vegetable peeler can shave cheese, skin a butternut squash, and do everyday tasks like peeling a carrot or apple. This one is great and would be a lovely stocking stuffer.
- Silicone baking mat – Another great stocking stuffer. Even though I’m not a baker, I love my silicone baking mat because it keeps me from wasting foil or parchment paper when making roasted veggies and such. Plus there’s no measuring! You just lay it down on the cookie sheet and it fits.
- Microplane – I use mine for both grating parmesan and nutmeg and finely mincing garlic. I love that it serves multiple purposes and stays super sharp.