Tools of the Trade

Citrus Juicer – Rob Gentry, creator of Blue Plate, Local 191, and ROBAR

Gadgets16You can make professional-grade cocktails at home without the professional-grade juicer—and its price tag. At Local 191 and ROBAR, we have experimented with a variety of commercial juicers to supplement our bar equipment and have found that the Proctor Silex Alex’s Lemonade Stand Citrus Juicer allows you to control the amount of pulp for citrus-based cocktails. Pick up this little workhorse for around $20 and enjoy!

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Gadgets18Cast Iron Skillet – Taylor Monen, co-owner at Taco Mamacita, Urban Stack, Community Pie, Clyde’s on Main, and Milk and Honey

Call it cliche, but this is my must have. I remember seeing my granny’s super-seasoned, super-old cast iron skillet on her stove as a child and it always seemed intriguing to me. Once I learned how versatile it was, I had to have one. None of my pots and pans get as much use as my cast iron. It cooks evenly and well, and the more I use it, the better it performs.

 

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Sushi Knife – Masa Gi, Hayashi, Executive Chef at Totto Sushi & Grill

Gadgets20Knives are very important to all chefs, but especially to a sushi chef. There are many different types of knives for sushi. When a chef is presenting sashimi, the knife must be very sharp so the chef can cut fish in a short time without altering the texture. A sushi chef’s knife is a very personal belonging. There is a saying between sushi chefs: “I do not want anyone to touch my wife or my knife.”

 

Tongs – Tony Parys, chef at Tony’s Pasta 
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Tongs are my go-to utensil for just about every kitchen task. They’re great to have on hand whether I’m grilling, sautéing, frying, and even mixing fresh salads.

Potato Ricer – Patrick Halloran, owner and executive chef at Hummingbird Pastaria

I find a potato ricer to be an indispensable tool in my kitchen. When used with either baked potatoes or with boiled potatoes, it keeps the starch intact. We’ve all had mashed potatoes that have been put into a mixer or mashed by hand that are gummy or lumpy. A potato ricer avoids both of those issues by creating a uniform size and consistency. It’s the ideal tool for perfect mashed potatoes, twice-baked potatoes, and especially gnocchi.

 

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Gadgets15Torch – David “Spoon” Gauthier, chef at The Bitter Alibi

I’ve been known to be somewhat of a pyromaniac in the kitchen. In all my years of cooking, I can’t remember a time when my torch wasn’t in reach. Every home cook or professional chef should play around with one and get creative.

Food Processor – Michael Adams, chef at Blue Orleans

Gadgets28Creole cuisine calls for large amounts of bell peppers, onions, garlic, and celery in dishes such as gumbo, red beans and rice, and crawfish etouffe. Having to cut up the ingredients by hand would be extremely time-consuming. The food processor cuts my time in half, affording me more time to focus on the flavor and quality of the dishes.

 

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Rice Bowl – Yasushi Watanabe, Owner Taizo Watanabe, Sushi Chef At Sushi Nabe

Gadgets14The authentic, wooden Hinoki Hangiri Rice Bowl is critical in the process of creating our traditional sushi rice. It’s the customary way to create perfectly seasoned rice that holds a moist texture that is ideal for sushi.  After the rice is cooked, it is transferred to the hangiri where it is tossed in a marinade and cooled.  The wooden bowl is perfect for absorbing any excess liquid from the steam or marinade so you end up with perfect rice.

Dough Mixer – Dorris Shober, owner at Lupi’s Pizza

Gadgets13Each Lupi’s has a dough mixer and
without them we wouldn’t be in business – no dough, no pizza. We use the vertical cutter mixers and can mix a batch of dough to completion in less than five minutes.

 

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Microplane and Mandoline – Cindy Messinger, co-owner at Mt. Vernon

Gadgets12Both are handheld and easy to use. I use lemon zest and garlic in probably 75% of what I cook, and I can grade them very thinly with the microplane. I slice potatoes, carrots, and other vegetables with the mandoline. I still have my first mandoline and use it even more than my new one.

Torch Attachment – George MacEwan, chef de cuisine at Two Ten Jack

The Searzall by Booker and Dax is great at searing food without leaving that torch taste. It’s brilliant!

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Thermometer – Billy Sparks, chef at Café 7

As a cook, you learn to judge the temperature of chicken, meat, and fish by its look and feel, but sometimes it just isn’t possible. Whether you have perfect crust on fried chicken that you can’t destroy, or a whole pork butt that’s been on the smoker for 10 hours, there are times when a good thermometer is a necessity. The Javelin from Lavatools has a quick, four-second response time, +/- .9 degree accuracy, and a thin, tapered probe that leaves an undetectable mark in the food. On top of that, it’s cheap at only $28.

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