If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us, it’s that many of us are serious home cooks. Sourdough bread, cinnamon buns, homemade Margarita pizza … you name it, we’re making it.
So maybe it’s time to step up our game.
That’s right, we’re making the leap from serious home cooks to serious home chefs. But in order to level up, we first need to invest in some professional-grade tools of the trade.
It’s no secret that the right kitchen utensil can be the difference between cooking as a chore and cooking as a pleasure. Working with a high quality chef’s knife or a well-made cutting board makes cooking easier, more efficient, and a whole lot more fun. With the right tools, you’ll be dancing your way through dinner prep, rather than dragging your slippered heels through the shag carpet.
To get some expert advice on what we need beyond the mixing bowls, spatulas, and measuring cups, I asked Kevin Kent, owner of Knifewear in Inglewood and all-round Japanese knife expert, to give us his recommendations on 5 essential tools every home cook needs.
You don’t need one of those run-of-the-mill 5-piece knife sets to cook like the pros. All you really need is a high-quality chef’s knife. Kevin suggests starting with the Haruyuki Mugi Santoku knife: “There isn’t a better first knife than the Mugi santoku. It’s made from super-hard Japanese steel so it gets crazy sharp and stays that way for ages, but it’s more rugged and affordable than a lot of other knives. Good looks and performance, all in one.”
And while we’re on knives, consider the Tojiro Kid’s Santoku & Cut Resistant Glove for the kids: “The Tojiro child’s Santoku is designed with safety in mind, while still having a sharp edge that cuts effectively. And while your child is getting used to it, it doesn’t hurt to have a cut-resistant glove in their size.”
Larch Wood Cutting Board
After a chef’s knife, a large, sturdy cutting board is perhaps the second most important tool for your kitchen: “These larch wood boards are sustainably made in Cape Breton, NS, with end-grain wood that dulls your knives less than other woods. Not only is the end-grain prettier, it also self-repairs and doesn’t warp. This is a cutting board you can have for life.”
Knifewear Food Scoop
Avoid scraping and dulling your knife edge by using this scoop to lift chopped veggies. It easily fits into Ziploc bags, instant pots, or compost buckets, and makes a great garlic-smasher, so you don’t bend your blades: “This handy tool quickly becomes your right hand in the kitchen.”
No kitchen is complete without a zester. Originally used for zesting citrus, the microplane zester actually has over 1000 uses: “Don’t like mincing garlic? Just puree it with the microplane’s little teeth. Nutmeg for your chai? No problem. Parm for your carbonara? You got it,” says Kevin.
Tawashi Scrubbing Brush
According to Kevin, the Tawashi has recently made its way into Canada and is kicking plastic scrubbies out of kitchens right and left: “The coconut bristles are aggressive enough for scrubbing barbecue grates, but gentle enough for cast iron and non-stick pans. What’s more, the bristles are biodegradable, so no more plastic!”
Shop local and visit Knifewear.com to order. Free shipping in North America on all orders over $200.