As you might imagine, professional chefs rely on a lot of fancy-schmancy tools to do their jobs day in and day out. We're talking immersion circulators, high-performance blenders, flash chillers, vacuum sealers, blow torches, and beyond. But not every gadget that professional chefs swear by has to cost you an arm and a leg (or look like it belongs in a laboratory).
We reached out to 10 chefs to talk about their favorite cheap kitchen tools that they couldn't live without. Here are their picks which all cost $10 (ish) bucks or less.
"I spent less than $10 on this pull-type two-stage knife sharpener. Most home cooks are baffled and afraid of knife sharpening, but this tool will get you through until you really sharpen them." — Jet Tila, Food Network Judge
2. Silicone Saute Spoon, $12 at Sur la Table
"I bought this from Sur la Table and I call it the spoontula. I love that it's like a heat-resistant spatula — and the head doesn't pop off." — Julya Shin, former chef at Chez Panisse
3. Lux Minute Minder, $10
"The hardest thing to manage in a kitchen is time. In a restaurant kitchen, there's never enough of it. At home, the problem is often too much. The best 10 bucks I ever spent on my kitchen was on a device that manages all that for me. It's a Lux Minute Minder wind-up timer." — Cal Peternell, former head chef at Chez Panisse and the host of the Cooking by Ear Podcast
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Mutsumi Hinoura stainless clad aogami super knives are finally back! For those who don’t know him yet Mutsumi Hinoura forged knives in Sanjo Niigata in his family workshop that he shared with his father Tsukasa Hinoura. Tsukasa studied under the great Shigeyoshi Iwasaki whose work applying scientific analysis to traditional Japanese blacksmithing has been incredibly influential. Mutsumi has been making small improvements constantly to his knives over the last 5 years or so that we have been selling them, this last batch has arrived with slightly lighter, wider, more triangular blades. A bit less flat in the heel and a bit wider on most models. Sanjo knives often have generous proportions and a robust feel, these still have that but just a hair more refined.. L-R 85mm petty $118 135mm petty $165 180mm santoku $250 180mm gyuto $275 210mm gyuto $300 240mm gyuto $345 270mm gyuto $445 240mm sujihiki $325 All posted to bernalcutlery.com (updated photos soon to come...) and in both Oakland and SF shops #handforgedknife #japaneseknives #mutsumihinoura #tsubamesanjo #niigata #aogamisuper #pettyknife #santoku #gyuto #sujihiki #bernalcutlery #bernalcutleryoakland
4. Knife Sharpening Service, $1 per inch
5. Weck Jars, $25 for six at Williams Sonoma
"I bought a few small Weck jars to keep my spices in. It keeps everything fresh and looks nice out on the counter." — Matt Hyland, Executive Chef of Pizza Loves Emily restaurants
6. Japanese-Style Can Opener, $8
"A Ganji Japanese-style can opener. Forget the ones with gears and mechanisms, I am in love with this can opener. It opens square or rectangle cans really easily, which is hard to do with other can openers. It also opens bottles and punctures holes in cans if needed, like when you buy a large can of olive oil and it won't pour out nicely unless it has another hole in it. It cleans up really well because it doesn't have any gears for food to get stuck and never breaks. It's super heavy-duty and comes in handy for all sorts of things I never thought I'd need it for."— Katie Button, Executive Chef of Cúrate and Nightbell
7. Stainless Steel Meat Tenderizer, $15
"Definitely a meat tenderizer! It opens a whole new world on meats — especially ones that are traditionally thought of as cheap cuts or braising meats. A few punches with the tenderizer and almost any meat can be cooked however you want to any temperature." — Jake Nemmers, Executive Chef at Flora Bar NYC
8. Splatter Guard, $11
"My favorite inexpensive gadget is the splatter guard. It's great for cooking things with high fat content, and is especially useful when frying foods like okra or chickpeas that tend to pop up when cooking with high heat." — Linton Hopkins, chef and owner of Resurgens Hospitality Group
9. Ball Keepsake Canning Jars, $12 for four at Jet
"Ball's Keepsake Canning Jars are around $10 and a great way to start your collection. I love the seasonal Stars and Stripes design, and I'm excited about the soon-to-launch snowflake jars for winter. They remind me to give the gift of food for every occasion." — Damaris Phillips, Food Network host
"Easy answer: The mini vacuum container for $10 that I purchased on Amazon. Three of the main enemies of coffee are oxygen, humidity, and light. This little container protects my coffee beans from all three." — Giorgio Milos, Master Barista for illy Caffé
What's the best $10 you've ever spent on your kitchen?