10 Chefs Share Their Favorite Kitchen Tools

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Cambria Bold)

There are some kitchen tools that are just universally indispensable, but there are also favorites that vary from person to person. While one cook might have never used a mandoline, another may reach for theirs several times per week.

With that in mind, we scoured our archives to find some of the best kitchen tool recommendations from some of our favorite chefs. We have the standards, like vegetable peelers and food processors, and some suggestions that are a bit more obscure — speed grill, anyone? Take a look and then tell us what’s on your must-have list.

  • Pressure Cooker: Meeru Dhalwala, one half of the duo behind Vij’s Indian restaurant in Vancouver, can’t do without hers. She uses it to cook batches of dried beans, chickpeas, or rice in record time.
  • Speed Grill: James Beard Award winner and ABC Kitchen chef Dan Kluger’s favorite kitchen tool might not be on everyone’s list, but he loves this cast iron grilled cheese press (an eBay find) because it reminds him of his childhood.
  • Vegetable Peelers: Whether you prefer a swivel or a Y-shaped peeler, you’ll be in good company. Chef Ludo LeFebvre can’t do without his trusty peeler as he preps tons of vegetables for his twins.
  • Chefs Knife: Choosing the right chefs knife is a personal decision — you have to find the one that’s the right fit for your hand. Chef Charlie Marshall of The Marshal in New York City recommends the Kikuichi Elite Warikomi Damascus Tschime Chefs Knife, 8 inch.
  • Zester: Chef Ignacio Mattos reaches for his zester frequently for everything from citrus zest to grating the Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese that are staples in his dishes at Estela.
(Image credit: Emma Christensen)
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Pressure Cooker (Image credit: Dana Velden)
  • Mortar and Pestle: Writer and chef Tamar Adler can’t do without her Thai mortar and pestle. From bruising the fresh herbs she grows in her kitchen to crushing spices for the jams and relishes she cans, it’s an essential.
  • Bench Scraper: Sara Moulton loves her bench scraper for many reasons. Not only does it help with getting food from the counter or cutting board to the pan, but it also scrapes scraps into the trash with ease and gets stubborn dough scraps up quickly.
  • Butcher Block: Chef Brandon Boudet’s version of the butcher block might be a bit bigger — his is a restaurant-quality metal work table with a butcher block top — but even a smaller version is indispensable in any kitchen.
  • Food Processor: Dawn Casale, founder of One Girl Cookies in New York, isn’t much of a gadget person, but a food processor is on her must-have tool list. From chopping herbs to combining doughs, this appliance is worth the space.
  • Nespresso Machine

    Even chefs need some conveniences. Chef Yigit Pura of Tout Sweet in San Francisco loves his fancy (but easy-to-use) espresso machine.