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Ready to Invest in Cooking? Here's the Kitchen Equipment You Need

So you're ready to bid farewell to microwave dinners and take-out meals in favor of embracing your inner Julia Child or Wolfgang Puck? If so, you're not alone: more and more foodies are transforming seldom-used spaces into gourmet-quality kitchens...

So you're ready to bid farewell to microwave dinners and take-out meals in favor of embracing your inner Julia Child or Wolfgang Puck? If so, you're not alone: more and more foodies are transforming seldom-used spaces into gourmet-quality kitchens perfect for executing meal after meal in the comfort of their own homes. But where do you even get started when it comes to assessing the tools you need? Get started with these key pieces of equipment for every level of chef.

Kitchen equipment
As your skills continue to grow, so will you knife collection.

 

Just Starting Out

Whether you're outfitting your kitchen from scratch or gearing up for making notoriously complicated dishes like boeuf bourguignon and chocolate souffle, there are a few basics necessary for everyone from beginners to experts. Glass mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons for both solids and liquids, and utensils, including a spatula, wooden spoon and ladle, are all essentials. A chef's knife, paring knife, can opener and large cutting board complete the list of small kitchen must-haves.

You'll also need some basic cookware, including at least one of each of the following: a heavy pot, colander, high-quality nonstick skillet, and baking pan -- 8-by-8-inch or 9-by-13-inch are ideal -- which can do double-duty for both entrees and desserts. All of these will require handling and cleaning, so an oven mitt, kitchen gloves, dish towels, and dish cloths should also make the cut.

Essential appliances for the novice and professional chef alike include a blender or hand-held mixer and a timer.

Onward and Upward

As you continue to advance your kitchen skills, you'll continue to stock your kitchen with tools designed to elevate your skills to new levels. These include everything from a garlic press to a microplane grater to an instant-read thermometer. Spring-loaded tongs, meanwhile, serve a multitude of purposes ranging from flipping meat on the grill to lifting blanched vegetables from boiling water.

You should also plan on upgrading your knife collection, adding a serrated knife as well as a long slicing knife. Many chefs also maintain two cutting boards, reserving one specifically for raw meat.

When it comes to your cookware, a Dutch oven offers liberating potential due to its versatility in handling nearly any cooking task. Whether you're roasting, stewing, frying, making a casserole, or even baking bread, a Dutch oven is a truly excellent addition to any budding chef's collection. Another favorite piece of cookware among professional chefs? Cast-iron skillets, which are the ideal pan for browning and crisping everything from potatoes to chicken.

If you do a lot of blending and baking, meanwhile, investing in a high-quality blender and stand mixer offer transformative potential for everything from making creamy soups to whipped cream.

Kitchen equipment
Hands-free, splash-proof convenience.

 

One last tip for budding chefs? As your repertoire continues to grow, so will your cookbook collection. We also recommend investing in a handy cookbook holder to go along with it. Ultimately, whether you buy every piece of kitchen equipment immediately or gradually expand your collection, these tools can help you rule over your kitchen domain. Find all of these and more at Cilantro The Cooks Shop, the one-stop-shop for chefs and cooks of all skill levels.