The kitchen is everybody’s favorite room in the house, not just for the big meals that come out but for all the little things that make it special. Whether you’re a home chef preparing for your next dinner party or a first-time homeowner setting up your kitchen, stocking the space with essential cooking gadgets ensures that every meal will be memorable. Food industry extraordinaire Fran Walker, owner of Chef Fran’s Kitchenwares in Jamesport, dishes on her picks for tools of the trade that everyone will love to have in their kitchen.
60-Minute Timer, Fox Run
This must-have can also be a cute accessory for any kitchen (Walker has some shaped like roosters). “In my catering business, everybody had a timer that they kept in their pocket—otherwise you forget what you put in, and that leads to mistakes,” Walker says.
Stainless Steel German Slicing and Boning Knives, Ludwig Schiff
Preparing turkey for a dinner party? Look no further: Cut off the turkey breast with a good slicing knife, Walker says, and then slice it diagonally. The boning knife can also be used to remove the breast from the bird.
Wooden Cutting Board, Joseph-Joseph
If you’re looking for a more affordable option, bamboo cutting boards are also great, Walker says, so long as it has grooves in the corner of the board to drain excess liquid.
Stainless Steel Potato Masher, OXO Good Grips
Walker recommends a masher of any brand that folds in half so it can be easily stored in a shallow drawer.
Wooden, Bamboo Salad Bowl, Any Brand
“It gives you a little leeway if you’re hosting a party and you’re a little flustered,” she says with a laugh. If you get a quality wooden bowl, she says, it’ll last for years to come.
Silicone Oven Mitt with Cotton Lining, Mastrad
These 425-degree-resistant mitts made the top of Walker’s list, as these handy tools are useful for nearly every meal preparation.
Silicone Flexible Measuring Stir and Pour, 1-Cup, NorPro
This multi-purpose tool is essential for bakers and chefs alike, Walker says.
Four-Cup Glass Fat Separator, Any Brand
What appears as a pitcher can efficiently separate fat from other liquids. If you’re looking to make a creamy gravy, this gadget has a removable spout at the bottom for an easy pour.