Chef’s Choice: Thomas Kaltenecker’s Essentials for All Skill Levels

Whether perfecting that hollandaise recipe or cooking pasta al dente, chefs – novice or pro – are only as good as their tools. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to empty your cabinet of every item. Simply stock up on a few key necessities.

Here with your must-have checklist? Chef Thomas Kaltenecker from the Escoffier Online International Culinary Academy. From his mother’s kitchen at age nine to pastry shops, family businesses, and hotel restaurants, this seasoned foodie knows his tools.

Must-Have Tools for Cooks of Every Skill Level

Novice cooks need:
1. Quality knives, including one of each: chef, paring, serrated, and butcher.
2. Cookware set with a sauté pan, stockpot, and saucepan.
3. Cutting boards. Preferably wooden.
4. Cast iron pan.
5. Utensil set with spoons, spatulas, tongs, and whisks.

Pro cooks need:
1. Immersion blender for small-scale soups and sauces.
2. Steamer basket in bamboo or stainless steel.
3. Nonstick baking mats. (You’ll never butter another pan.)
4. Mortar & pestle for grinding herbs and spices.
5. Garnishing kit with a melon baller and butter curler.

The Rue Cooking School Boutique opens Friday, April 25, at 11AM ET.

By Julia Ivins, Staff Writer

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April 25, 2014