We have all been there – attempting to recreate our favourite dish from our favourite restaurant in our own kitchen. The results are predictably disappointing – the food lacks flavour, the sauce is lumpy and everything is overcooked. No matter how hard we try, home-cooked food is never the same as restaurant food.
The good news is that it’s not your fault, you have been let down by your tools. Your kitchen lacks the equipment that professional chefs use every day. The even better news is those tools are available to buy. So we found out what six professional chefs recommend for the home kitchen.
Shark Skin Wasabi Grater
Recommended by – Ken Oringer, Chef / Restaurateur
OK, even the keenest home chef doesn’t grate wasabi often but this grater is ideal for ginger, garlic and horseradish (true fact – wasabi is part of the horseradish family). The shark skin has a texture like sandpaper and produces a much finer pulp than a traditional metal grater. At £14 the grater is a cheap addition to the kitchen and a way to turn a teeth-filled, apex predator into a something useful.
Recommended by – Kevin Love, Head Chef
It has been called the ‘£4000 ice-cream machine’ which is half-right. A more accurate description would be the ‘£4000 mash anything frozen machine’. Simply put, the Pacojet takes a big lump of anything frozen – milk, vegetables, meat – and turns it into the smoothest ice-cream / puree / pâté you’ve ever eaten. It does this with a special blade which shaves wafer-thin slices from the food and then aerates them into a pulp lighter than an angel’s feather. And because there is no heat or cooking involved, the food keeps it flavour. The Pacojet is a serious bit of kit but your kitchen will never be the same.
Recommended by – John Woodward, Development Chef
Everyone knows that meat has to be at the right temperature to cook properly but how many of us check? A meat thermometer is a no-brainer for any kitchen and the Thermapen is one of the best. It has an antibacterial coating, is water-resistant for easy cleaning and takes just three seconds to measure the internal temperature of your choice cut. At £60, there is no reason to risk of serving “e-coli surprise” to your guests.
Recommended by Ed Shaerf – Chef Patron
Remember James Bond’s Aston Martin to which Q added machine guns, rotating number plates and an ejector seat? The Thermomix is what happened when Q got his hands on Bond’s food processor. It slices & dices like the best but it can also cook the food, stirring as it goes. The Thermomix can also be a vegetable steamer and can emulsify the perfect mayonnaise. With a library of recipes and fully programmable (you can use your smartphone) everything is automated. Just add the ingredients, press the button and wait for your perfectly prepared food. At £900 the Thermomix is not cheap but neither is having a professional chef in your kitchen.
Recommended by – Ming Tsai, Emmy award winning chef, author
Filling your house with smoke is a bad thing which makes it hard to produce with that delicious wood-smoke flavour in the typical kitchen. The Donabe Smoker is the solution. Add a small pile of wood-chips to the bottom of the clay bowl. Layer the food above the chips and place the lid on before moving the whole thing onto the heat source. A clever water channel forms a perfect seal between the bowl and lid, keeping the smoke in. Leave the smoker for 20 minutes while it does it thing and by the time you open the lid the perfectly cooked food has absorbed the smoke. They are brilliantly simple but be warned – they are hard to get in the UK and will cost you about £300.
Recommended by – Aarón Sánchez, chef, restaurateur and TV host
Apparently the Mason Shaker is brilliant for creating infusions such as chilli oils but that is not important. This glass jar is perfect for mojitos and this is reason enough to own one. With its Americana, deep south vibe, you will be distilling moonshine and playing the banjo before you can say deliverance.