What does it take to be a successful chef? Well, for one, you need the drive and passion to succeed in a hugely competitive industry. Next, you need toughness to survive in what is always an intense environment. Then, you need the talent to create food that you patrons will love and will help build your reputation.
A workman is nothing without his tools, however, and a chef needs plenty to get the job done. If you’ve got the three boxes above ticked already, here’s the key kit you need to make your life in the kitchen easier.
A good set of knives – and a knife sharpener
Some in the industry will tell you that you can tell the quality of a chef by the quality of their knives – and indeed how they look after them. Perhaps the most important tool in the kitchen – not to mention the one that chefs themselves tend to get most excited about – having a set of quality knives to your name is essential.
If you can’t afford a full knife set straight away, the three you need to care most about (according to these two experts at least) are a chef’s knife, a serrated bread knife and a paring knife. Your next priority is to keep them working optimally at all times, which is where the knife sharpener comes in.
An array of chopping boards
The world of cutting boards a vast and majestic one these days, with fancy glass and stone chopping boards available to give your kitchen a big design boost. A chef’s kitchens shouldn’t prioritise aesthetics, though, which is why you should invest in plastic chopping boards as the most practical and least likely to dull your knives.
You’ll want a few separate boards to keep your key food groups apart, and try to pick out options that don’t groove too heavily – that’ll help you keep your boards as bacteria free as possible.
Every pan in the book
Pans, glorious pans. As a chef, you should leave no pan unturned in your quest for culinary excellence, which is why you’ll want to acquire:
- A full set of non-stick pans
- A cast iron pan
- A full set of stainless-steel pots and pans
- A stew pot (rondeau pan)
Depending on the type of cooking you’re doing, you might want to tweak the list as suits, but most chefs need an army of pans to create their menu.
Hygiene and safety products
Health and safety are paramount to success in the culinary industry. One case of food poisoning can ruin a reputation, while one misstep in hygiene practices can shut an entire restaurant down. One thing all chefs should take pride in is the cleanliness of their kitchen, engaging in a full clean as part of every daily close down.
That means you need the right selection of hygiene products to ensure everything is up to scratch. As for the food itself, a digital thermometer from RS will be key to ensuring everything leaves the kitchen at the right temperature.
To be a successful chef, you need to be reliable, efficient and durable, and work with quality every day you’re in the kitchen. You need exactly the same qualities from your tools, so make sure your equipment is up to scratch, too.