So You Want to Cook Like a Pro, But Don’t Know How (Part One: The Tools)

Every since I can remember I have loved to cook. I used to watch my mom for hours in the kitchen when I was little just absorbing stuff. When I finally got old enough to cook, wouldn’t you know it I was a natural. Thus my obsession with great food was born. A lot of people will try to make you believe that you have to be classically trained to be a good cook, while that definitely helps a little bit of love and so trial and error and you can be a formidable presence in the kitchen and I am going to tell you how. I am starting my own catering company and do personal chef service. The first thing I tell people is that anybody can cook, if they really want to and not just cook but cook delicious food. So how do you do it? Well first you need the right tools.

cooking-tools

Every cook needs good tools.

Now to prepare great food you don’t have to spend a lot of money, but you do have to spend some and I suggest putting the bulk of that into two things: knives and pots. Now I am not going to tell you this won’t be a little expensive but trust me it’s a must.

The Knives

Every great cook needs great knives. There is no getting around it. You have to spend money here; you need good solid knives that will last. I am talking the kinds that come in a nice block, have a Chef’s knife and a Santoku among others (Cuisinart makes some good ones). I would say don’t spend under a $100 here, personally the set I have in my kitchen now cost closer to $200. That sounds like a lot for knives but over there lifespan if you take care of them they will pay for themselves a thousand times over. They will stay sharper longer and will all know a sharp knife is a safe knife.

The Pots and Pans

When it comes to pots you can’t really fake it either, you got to spend some cash. I personally for the majority of my cooking needs don’t like non stick pans except for certain specific things. In general I cook with a set of stainless steel pots and pans. My particular set also has copper around the bottom that increases and improves heat conduction for more even cooking. I am talking one of these sets with a couple of saute pans, two sauce pots, and a couple bigger pots. Again, the value of good pots can not be stressed enough, they provide more even cooking and you won’t have to replace them as often if you take care of them. Another perk to stainless steel is that they are oven safe, so you can pop the entire pan into the oven which is good when you are cooking a lot of different things. The only downside to stainless steel besides the price is the maintenance of them. They do require a little more care than other pans so you can not put them in the dishwasher you have to always hand wash them. Trust me it’s worth it though. Take care of them and they will take care of you.

There are a lot of other tools you need in the kitchen like a good peeler, kitchen shears, a micrograter, measuring cups and spoons and the like. Didn’t go over them here because I wanted to focus on the two main components you gotta have to prepare good food. This is part one of a series, look for the next one.

6 Comments

  1. Robert says:

    For pots and pans, I highly recommend the Calphalon tri-ply stainless steel line of products. They’re stainless steel on the out- and inside, with a core of aluminum so the heat spreads more evenly.

    Some of the more popular pieces are available as open-stock so you can try out a pan before diving in to the 8- or 13-piece set. You can often score a very good deal on the large sets. I got the 13-piece set at Bed Bath & Beyond, and with a substantial store discount plus two BB&B coupons I got in the mail I spent under $300 on the set — AND got a passel of free stuff (nonstick pan, two cookbooks, pot holder, etc.) from Calphalon as a bonus package. Calphalon apparently teams up with BB&B regularly to offer these special package deals, so look (or ask) for those.

    As for cleaning, they are very easy to keep clean as long as you remember to let the pot or pan cool to room temperature before trying to clean it.

    http://calphalon.com/calphalon/consumer/products/subProductLine.jhtml?catId=CLCat100288

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