It takes more than a white jacket to stand the heat in the kitchen, and thanks to five Michelin star chefs, we’re giving you insight into which utensils will transform you from an amateur cook, to a showstopping chef.
Known for his fearsome reputation, we wouldn’t put it past Ramsay to scare even the utensils out of the kitchen. Ramsay certainly knows what to say (shout) to make binge-worthy TV, but his restaurants have been awarded a collective 16 Michelin stars, proving his cooking really is something to shout about. Here’s a few of his kitchen necessities:
Ramsay believes that two saucepans are essential to any kitchen: one large (for stews, pastas, and cooking in bulk) and one medium (for heating sauces, liquids, and rice). The Hell’s Kitchen star would choose either copper or stainless steel saucepans, deeming those the most durable materials to work with.
Saucepan secret: the heavier the bottom, the more heat it will conduct. The thinner the bottom, the more chance you’ll have of the food burning.
To become a cutting master, Ramsay puts forward three must-have knives: a heavy-duty chopping knife, a small prep knife, and a serrated-edge knife for carving and slicing. Ramsay recommends holding knives before purchasing them to make sure the grip is right for you.
Knife secret: Make sure the handle is comfortable to hold, the comfier the handle, the easier the cutting. You should choose a heavier handle for more control over your cutting.
Shopping list: two heavy-bottomed, sterling-silver or copper saucepans (one medium, one large); three heavy-handled knives (a heavy-duty chopping knife, a small prep knife, and a serrated-edge knife).
She may be Gordon Ramsay’s protege, but she’s also a great chef in her own right. After the infamous deep-fried tissue on Saturday Kitchen, you might wonder whether Hartnett’s go-to kitchen accessory actually would be tissue. But, it’s not.
Hartnett has a soft spot for her prized kitchen possession, the Le Creuset ridged griddle pan. Hartnett believes “it’s great for giving meat, especially steak, that smokey flavour”. Griddle pans are extremely convenient when cooking quick and easy meals, but still give chefs the opportunity to sear and char their food into something deliciously tasty.
When talking about kitchen gadgets, Hartnett doesn’t really see the point of them. The only item she wouldn’t want to cook without is her Japanese knife made by Kin. With layered steel blades and handmade handles, Kin knives provide chefs with elegant balance when cutting.
Hartnett enjoys home cooking and this is shown through her selection of pots. If you’re looking to become the next Hartnett at home, then follow in her footsteps with a selection of ceramic pots, which are great for slow cooking and represent the true essence of warm and hearty home-cooked food.
Shopping list: Le Creuset griddle pan; Japanese Kin knife; ceramic pots for slow cooking.
Science meets food with Mr Blumenthal. Now, we’re not going to suggest stocking up on liquid nitrogen to help your ice creams freeze faster, but if you want to wear a lab coat whilst in the kitchen, then it’s up to you…
Given Blumenthal’s close relationship with science, it comes as no surprise that his most valued kitchen utensils are closely linked with high-tech gadgets. Blumenthal believes that to cook perfectly at home, one must have extremely accurate scales, an oven thermometer, and a digital probe. These three gadgets all help to ensure temperatures and tastes are consistent. And, well, where would Blumenthal be without consistency?
Those on the lookout for a kitchen adventure might consider a sous-vide (a controlled water bath that vacuum packs ingredients like meat and fish), which Blumenthal say he can’t live without. However, we draw the line at Blumenthal’s hot-tub cooking – unless you have space in the kitchen for one? If you’re a fan of kitchen gadgets, you might consider these appliances, which will take your culinary skills to the next level without bringing the bubble bath downstairs.
Shopping list: Accurate scales; an oven thermometer; a digital probe; sous-vide; hot tub (optional).
Taking New York by storm and opening up the first ever gastro pub in the city, April Bloomfield is cooking up some blooming good British cuisine. Where else in the “Big Apple” can you find devilled eggs and pots of pickles, paired with pints of bitter? Nowhere.
Bloomfield’s most-loved kitchen appliances are the classic pestle and mortar, a mezzaluna, and a Vitamix Vita Prep. Bloomfield sees the pestle and mortar as a chance to get close to food and flavours. It allows chefs to touch, smell, and taste the vibrancy of different foods. Bloomfield sees being a chef as a passion and a craft, so it’s essential to treat it that way, and using hand-crushed herbs and spices ground with a pestle and mortar is a step toward creating the perfect food canvas.
Known by Bloomfield as the “high-power blitzie thingy”, the Vita Prep provides you with speed and ease – something we know is very much appreciated when balancing a busy lifestyle with fabulous cooking. To complement the element of ease, Bloomfield swears by the mezzaluna; a double-handled, curved blade that is used to help the cutting and shredding of herbs and garlic. The mezzaluna can also be used to cut things such as pizza without the toppings sliding off.
Shopping list: Pestle and mortar; mezzaluna; Vitamix Vita Prep.
Michel Roux Jr.
This masterchef favourite joined Ramsay for a stint in Hell’s Kitchen, before flirting his way through Saturday Kitchen with singer Miss Rebecca Ferguson. But, there’ll be no flirting now, as we find out how Michel Roux Jr. navigates his way through the kitchen, and which utensils he favours the most.
For Roux practicality is the most important thing in the kitchen, so he likes to have his kitchen utensils on show for easy accessibility when things get heated. Roux’s must-have gadget for every kitchen is the boiling-water tap, which gives you boiling water to hand, without waiting around for the kettle to boil.
The pot of dreams for Michel Roux Jr. is the cast-iron pan. Owning one that is over 50 years old, Roux openly admits it’s the perfect pan to cook an omelette in thanks to its ability to retain heat. The best characteristic of cast-iron is that when it’s hot, it’s really hot. If looked after correctly, they are also non-stick. So, that’s a very hot, heat-retaining, non-stick pan – sounds like a good investment.
Shopping list: Boiling water tap; cast-iron pan.
So, there’s the sworn-by kitchen utensils, tools, and a few tips to help get your home kitchen its own Michelin star. Whether you see yourself being an adventurous Blumenthal sidekick, or prefer cranking up the heat like Ramsay, keep us posted with your cooking journeys on Facebook or on Twitter @BritanniaLiving.