If you can only carry six culinary tools, what would they be? I'm looking for hand-held tools, not pots, pans, skillets, etc.My thought was to canvas chefs who customarily carry the tools that they can't work without. These are chefs who have a lot of experience walking into poorly-equipped kitchens.
Like a carpenter who brings his own tools to the jobsite, these chefs compensate by carrying carefully selected tools that make the job easier. It's frustrating to walk in a kitchen -- especially one that you'll only use for one or two meals -- and find out that there are no tongs anywhere.
I have a personal motive for asking the question. Last week, I accepted a job at a summer camp. Since camp will be covered in snow until April or May, I can't run up and check out the kitchen. Even though the camp is located close to my home, I may not be able to do so until the day I report.
The situation is further complicated by the fact that the camp is located two miles from road's end. I have to be ready to carry the tools that I can't be without on my back.
Anything that I take must fit into a small boat (along with personal baggage, Bible and books, camera, etc.). I have to be ready to shuttle my gear into the camp over a two-mile long trail.
Here's my list:
- Knives--I never leave home without my knife roll; it includes French, slicer, bread and boning knives plus a steel
- Tongs--I use tongs for everything: pick up food, stir a saute or sweat or baste chicken breasts in a skillet
- Dough cutter--Outside of tongs, this is the best all-around tool; I use it for scraping, cutting dough, picking up chopped vegetables, etc.; it can use as a spat in a pinch
- Digital thermometer--A necessity; every chef should own one or more quality thermometers
- Scoops or dishers--I love dishers and keep a bunch in my utensil drawer at home; essential sizes include #8, 12, 16, 24 and 30; they're good for portioning out meatballs or cookies and can be used to measure ingredients in a pinch
- Whisk--I rarely find a decent whisks in kitchens
Bryguy's list was tailored to his cooking style. He included a French knife, vegetable peeler, pastry bag with star tip, spoon, whisk and food processor.
The immersion blender is a necessity if you make a lot of sauces and dishes with pureed ingredients. Even though I could consider it a nice-to-have tool, I probably won't need on this summer.
Tyrone suggested he'd carry a cutting board. That made sense because you want to protect your knives. What better way to do so than with a cutting board that fits your needs. For seven years I carried my heavy Boos block to FC Camp.
Since I drove and could back my truck to the kitchen weight wasn't an issue. I may not be able to take it this year. I suspect that the camp kitchen will have more than one cutting board.
What are your top six culinary tools? Please consider your list and report back by leaving a comment. I'd like to hear what others have to say.