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10 Kitchen Tools to Help You Cook like a Chef

So we all know the basics — cutting board, chef’s knife, mixing bowls, measuring spoons, etc. But what’s beyond the obvious? It seems like there’s a new kitchen utensil or gadget every day, but not all of them really help save time or effort in the kitchen. To help you wade through the ocean of products out there to find those that will actually help you cook smarter, we asked our chefs at Hestan Cue to pick out a few of their “must haves” (besides the Cue of course!).  
  1. Kitchen Scissors: They come in all shapes and sizes, but most chefs will tell you Joyce Chen kitchen scissors are their favorite. They are small enough to tuck into your pocket, and cut through just about anything. ($21.50 on Amazon)
  2. Tamis: Fine mesh secured across a metal ring, the tamis is a historic kitchen utensil and a must have in any professional kitchen. The key to making smooth mashed potatoes? This is it. Place steamed potatoes on top and press through the mesh to result in a smooth, airy texture that dissolves on the tongue like a gravy coated cloud. ($39.95 at Sur la Table)
  3. Microplane: What’s not to love about microplanes? Whether you’re zesting citrus, grating parmesan, or mincing garlic sans knife, this is your tool. Microplaning gives you all of the flavor of these ingredients with the finest possible texture. ($14.95 at Williams Sonoma)
  4. Mandoline: Slice, julienne, grate, “spiralize:” a mandoline is a miracle worker in the home kitchen, allowing you to achieve restaurant quality cuts. Our favorite trick is to slice garlic, ginger, or shallot before chopping for an extra small dice. You can also use it for paper thin sliced radish or other produce for an elegant garnish. (Our favorite mandoline is the Rosle, $75 at Williams Sonoma)
  5. “Pass Card” aka Bowl Scraper: Though it is a simple tool, the bowl scraper has a multitude of uses that save time (and clean up) in the kitchen. Use it to scrape up dough, push purées through your tamis or transfer chopped herbs, vegetables, etc. from your cutting board to a pot or pan. ($0.89 at Central Restaurant Supplies and other wholesalers)
  6. A Ruler: While it may not be the most glamorous of kitchen tools, a simple ruler is essential to cooking proteins to the exact desired doneness. Over the years, a chef can eyeball the thickness and weight of a steak or chicken breast, but when seeking perfection, nothing is as handy as a ruler to give you a sense of the exact time and temperature you need (though with the Cue, you can substitute 'a sense' with certainty).
  7. Gram Scale: Tired of washing all your measuring spoons and cups? Just use a scale and weigh the exact amounts right into the bowl or pan! Chef’s use this for ultimate accuracy, especially for baking. ($14.99 at Target)
  8. Rubber or Silicon Spatula: I know, this should be a no brainer, but you would be surprised with how many people have plastic spatulas, not the higher quality rubber or silicon ones. These are great for scraping down just about anything in a pot or pan or mixing ingredients without sticking. ($23.97 for 3 from Walmart)
  9. Offset Spatula: This is the much smaller version of the giant spatulas you usually see in the kitchen aisle. Their size lends them to flipping small items, gently scraping under the surface of a protein to make sure it's not sticking to a pan, or creating a fancy swoosh of sauce on the plate. ($19.21 for 3 from Amazon)
  10. Fine Mesh Strainer: These also come in all sizes, but it’s essential to have at least one for all sauces, soups, or custard bases because it ensures that all your recipes are smooth as silk and clump-free. ($9.99 for 3 at Bed Bath & Beyond)
  What’s your favorite kitchen tool? Comment below if you have questions, suggestions for unexpected uses of these kitchen lifesavers, or just to tell us about your favorite tool in the kitchen!

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