Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just like to dabble in the kitchen, the right tools can help refine and simplify your culinary skills. No one knows this better than the people that cook at some of the best restaurants in the country. So, in our search to recommend the best kitchen gadgets, we headed straight to the source and asked chefs at AAA Diamond Designated restaurants.
AAA Diamond Designations are based on expert inspections and denote clean, comfortable and hospitable hotels and restaurants. Each Diamond level reflects the type of experience you can expect, with One Diamond restaurants being good places to grab something quick and Five Diamond restaurants providing an evening of “wow” moments.
It’s no surprise that many of these chef-approved tools come with a pro-grade price tag (most of the chefs we spoke to were very specific about their favorites, right down to the model number.) However, you can rest assured that these tried and tested items will last in your kitchen for years. And not all the gadgets all pricy – one comes in under $10!
Must-Have Chef-Approved Kitchen Gadgets
While an often-overlooked tool, kitchen shears are incredibly versatile. Recommended by Andrew Scola, chef de cuisine at AAA Five Diamond Ocean House in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, kitchen shears make prepping and cooking easier for both seasoned and amateur chefs.
“I keep my scissors on hand all day, starting from snipping herbs in the garden in the morning. And then trimming tops off of vegetables to breaking down chicken and even fish when preparing dinner,” Scola said.
At home, shears are perfect for cutting food into bite-sized pieces for kids. Buy them here.
No kitchen is complete without a good spoon. Daniel Rose, executive chef and partner of AAA Four Diamond Le Coucou in New York City is partial to the Winco 18/8 Stainless Steel Spoon and uses it for just about everything from tasting food to banging the stove to get everyone’s attention.
Rose said that “many spoons that cooks bring to work are not heat-safe and are plated in metals that alter the taste and even the color of food.” He thinks the Winco spoons are inexpensive and indispensable. Buy it here.
John Castellucci, culinary director for Cooks & Soldiers in Atlanta likes to use a cake tester, but not for what you might think.
“Cake testers are essential to cooking all proteins,” he said. He and his chefs put the cake tester into proteins and sense the temperature on their wrists to determine if it’s ready. If you want to up your game in the kitchen, this is an excellent method to try. He explained that it helps chefs learn what a true medium-rare or medium actually feels like.
Of course, you can always use it to tell if your cake is done. Buy it here.
Luxury Chef-Approved Kitchen Gadgets
“Yes, it’s expensive! But it’s well-built and really is the best pepper mill ever,” Schwartz said. His only caution is to stock up on black pepper, as you’ll blow through your stash quickly.
Freshly ground pepper can make all the difference in a dish. If you typically use pre-ground black pepper, this pepper cannon will elevate your dishes. Buy it here.
Brian Young, chef at AAA Three Diamond Gallaghers Steakhouse in New York City, recommends the Ankarsrum Mixer. Little-known and rare, Young likes this mixer because of its superior design, motor and construction. “It has a blender, food processor, meat grinder and food mill attachments that make it versatile and useful,” he said.
While pricey, this mixer is worth it if you spend a lot of time in the kitchen. It will help you be more efficient, and it looks nice on the counter. Buy it here.
The most prized kitchen gadget of Alan Chandonia, executive chef of AAA Three Diamond Ecco Midtown in Atlanta, is a brass pasta wheel cutter, which makes simple work of homemade pasta. “The weight of the brass lets you glide through dough with a lot less force than other, cheaper metal ones,” Chandonia said.
Ridged or smooth, wheel cutters work well for puff pastry and pie crusts, too. Buy it here.
|Even More Kitchen Gadgets
|Seropy Roll Up Dish Drying Rack Over The Sink for Kitchen Sink 17.5x15.7 Inch Drying Rack Folding Dish Drainer Mat Rolling Dish Rack Sink Rack Stainless Steel Kitchen Dry Rack
|Checkered Chef Mezzaluna Knife - Rocker Knife, Mincing Knife, and Mezzaluna Chopper w/ Single Blade and Cover/Sheath - Vegetable Cutter & Salad Chopper
|EZ Off Jar Opener for Weak Hands - Under Cabinet, Easy Grip, One Handed Jar & Bottle Opener - Removes Tight Jar Lid for Seniors with Arthritis - Essential Kitchen Gadgets for Home Assistance - White
|Kitchen Gizmo Snap N Strain Pot Strainer and Pasta Strainer - Adjustable Silicone Clip On Strainer for Pots, Pans, and Bowls - Lime Green
|Cucisina Aluminum Lemon Squeezer, Citrus Juicer - Commercial Grade Aluminium Lemon Juicer - Ergonomic Hand Juicer (Red) - Essential Kitchen Supply
|OXO Good Grips 3-in-1 Avocado Slicer - Green
|Dexter-Russell Sani-Safe 6 x 3 Dough Cutter/Scraper
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Looking for even more tips from Diamond designated restaurants? Check out these Diamond Dish recipes.
What’s your favorite kitchen gadget? Tell us in the comments below.