Relish Chef Jon Ashton shares his top must-have tools for the kitchen.
1. CUTTING BOARD. I use a wooden Boos Board (go to johnboos.com to order). Stay away from glass, Corian and acrylic boards; they actually dull your knives.
2. MEAT THERMOMETER. A digital meat thermometer gives the quickest read, but the point is to use any thermometer to make sure you don’t undercook or overcook your food.
3. MANDOLIN. To get perfectly sliced vegetables, I use a mandolin. Simple ones cost under $20 at most stores.
4. NONSTICK TONGS. Foods won’t stick or get torn by the nonstick tips. Look for ones that lock for easy storage, such as OXO.
5. VEGETABLE PEELER. A must have. There are so many out there, but I prefer OXO for its nice grip.
6. MICROPLANE. I use a microplane to grate hard cheese, chocolate and ginger. Microplanes cost about $15. Grating lemon rind will never be the same. 7. DIGITAL KITCHEN TIMER. I use a programmable timer at home. It’s handy when multi-tasking.
8. CAST IRON SKILLET. Season it with some oil, and it will be just as resistant to sticking as its nonstick counterparts.
9. SILICONE SPATULAS. Silicone spatulas withstand heat up to 800F and never lose their shape, chip or crack.
10. SERRATED BREAD KNIFE. A good chef’s knife is a must, but so is a bread knife. It’s great for slicing tomatoes, too.
11. WHISKS. A whisk is essential for making any smooth sauce or batter. A good investment is a medium-size balloon whisk.
EDITORS’ HONORABLE MENTIONS—digital timer, butter bell, rotary grater, garlic press, scraper, kitchen shears, pasta fork, laptop computer, and an iPad.