15 Things Every (New) Chef Should Have in Their Kitchen

Good morning my loves! So I have this friend, see?

She’s clever. Super hot – something we all look for in a good friend. Supportive. Wicked funny. Honest beyond words…seriously. You can just tell from her face or her body language exactly what she’s thinking and she doesn’t hide it. I love that about her.
She is everything I could ever want in a friend. Except for the fact that she maybe doesn’t drink enough wine. Just kidding, just kidding.
We were talking a while back about blogging – yes she is a fellow blogger – and she digs my blog. But the thing is, she doesn’t have all the tools necessary to make everything I post, despite the fact that she got married last year – apparently gift registries are out of fashion. Just giving you a hard time k because I heart you so much.

When she said that to me I was like, “mamma what!”There are some things you can live without in a kitchen. Like this:


And then there are other things that if you’re gonna be cooking, you just gotta have. So… Here is my top 14 things that every (new) chef should have in their kitchen. Why 14 you ask? Because those are the number of things I thought of. Right? Right! Here we go:

14. A Decent Vegetable Peeler. A good veggie peeler will take care of potatoes, carrots (though I don’t recommend peeling those – all the nutrition is in the skin!), apples, and even allow you to create ribbons of zucchini, chocolate, and who knows what else!
13. A Basic Mandoline. Need to slice or julienne something in very uniform thickness? So quick. So easy. So cheap. So easy to skim off the end of your finger – please make sure to use the hand guard! So something you should get. Look how beauty those zucchini slices are!
12. Cheese Grater with multiple grating sizes. Often a regular grate size will do – but if you want something fine (ie melting parmesan over polenta), you’ll want a finer grater. Do it all with one, keeping your drawer uncluttered.
11. Cutting boards (2). When you’re cooking, you don’t want to have to worry about the transfer of uncooked meat bits to fresh veggies. Or if you’re strictly a carnivore, fresh veggies to meat. Nor do you want to have to wash the cutting board every 10 minutes. So get yourself two decent sized chopping boards and you’ll be good to chop baby chop!
10. A Cast-Iron Pan/Skillet. You can use it on the stove, in the oven, and on the camp fire. You can cook meat in it, vegetables, sauces, breakfast, desserts, corn bread, and anything/everything your little heart desires. And evidently, use it as a recipe holder. Why wouldn’t you want one of these?
9. A Big stock pot. Preferably one with a rounded handle like this or two handles on either side – unlike mine which has been missing one for ages. Unsafe! 
One word: Soup. Another: Chili. One more: Rain drip catcher.
8. A food processor. Honestly, this has to be one of the most used tools in my kitchen. From tomato sauce to guacamole to bread crumbs to just about everything else – I heart my food processor.
7. A Good set of Mixing Bowls. Really, you don’t need a ton of these but a good set with about 3 to 5 bowls is excellent. Shoot for high edges and deep bowls to help keep stuff inside when mixing, blending, beating, pureeing, mashing, etc… If they’re too shallow you’ll end up with more food stuffs on your counter than in the bowl. Which is great if you want to eat off the counter. But I’m guessing most of your don’t.
6. A whisk. No, not that whisk… and no one need know how close I am to this little guy…. shhhhh…
6 – take two. A Whisk. Yes, this is better. You want air in those eggs? You wanna fluff that cream? You want those pancakes fluffy? This is your key to whisking away your diners with ease… Did I really just say that?
5. Wooden Spoons. Maybe not this many. Or this fancy. But they sure are good for stirring sauces, soup, sauteing vegetables, or reductions. Plus they look cool. And if you absolutely don’t use them in the kitchen, you can spank that brat for complaining about the grater slide.
4. GOOD quality olive oil. Trust me. The stuff you generally get at the grocery store is a joke. Think about tomatoes and the ones you get in Winter from the grocer compared to the ones grown locally in the Summer. It’s that kind of difference. And it’s that difference that separates a decent dish from a great one.
3. GOOD quality balsamic vinegar. See above.
2. Wine. Obviously. Do we really need to go over this?
1. A GOOD chopping knife. Keep it sharp. And you can do anything from julienne kohlrabi to dice apples to chop bread to dispense of that unwanted and annoying noisy neighbor. I didn’t just say that. Seriously though – out of all the things on this list: Spend the money and get yourself the best chopping knife money can buy. I recommend this brand.
What item do you absolutely need in your kitchen? What’s the one thing you wish you had but didn’t? What do you have that you find you have no need for? Do you agree with my list? Are there things you would omit from it? What gets you cookin’?

P.S. Go say hi to my friend. She’s lovely.


  • Amanda Cobb
    July 16, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Good list! I approve this message.

    We have a Slap Chop, which I can’t recommend highly enough. I was seriously skeptical when the boy first brought it home, but that thing is awesome and such a time saver.

    We still need to a get a Dutch oven. We have a big cast iron pot which can do stove/oven, BUT it doesn’t have a lid, so that limits us a bit with one-pot meals.

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:24 PM

      bahahaha! i’ve heard the slap chop is a nifty device! just slap and chop!

  • Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe
    July 16, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Love this post! I agree with all of your items, especially the wine. And I would add my Kitchen Aid mixer to that list – bakers shouldn’t live without one!

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      those are beautiful! i am afeared if i got one though i’d bake all the time… baking all the time = one fat kristy.

  • Rituparna
    July 17, 2012 at 11:11 AM

    My chopping board, my knife and my measuring spoons. Love the post. It really takes care of all the basics.

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM

      measuring spoons are key as well! yes!

      • Raj @
        September 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM

        Are they though? Measuring is only important now that I publish recipes on my blog. My style is “a little of this and touch of that -ohhh, definitely needs more that! Perfect!!!”
        Raj @ recently published…Paleo Breakfast SausageMy Profile

        • Kristy Gardner
          September 10, 2014 at 11:24 AM

          I think for a LOT of people Raj they’re very helpful. Especially with baking but also in getting people feeling comfortable with amounts. I don’t use them too much unless I’m baking (because I suck at baking) but I totally understand that not everyone feels comfortable adding a dash, pinch or splash. Hence the reason you post measurements on the blog 😉

  • Jess
    July 17, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    I use so many spatulas everyday. I especially use the tiny one that I made fun of every time we saw it for about 4 years until I bought it. It is amazing. I also use the food processor a lot. I make marinades and hummus and homemade pasta dough in it. I like my all-clad baking sheets and my dutch oven is a must in the winter. Finally, a good blender. I have a Vitamix that I use for smoothies, popsicles, ice cream, and salad dressings. I use it at least once a day.

    Great post!

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      i’ve been meaning to get a better blender. mine is crappy for smoothies – pretty much all i use it for. but damn it i love my smoothies!

  • Shut Up & Cook
    July 17, 2012 at 7:06 PM

    Immersion blender! Gotta have it.

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      i just got one of those! actually, i wrote an article on it for Cook Culture (local cook shop) – it’s wonderful! not so good for breadcrumbs though unless you want it to rain bread crumbs. ya never know.

  • Lindsey at NW Backyard Veggies
    July 17, 2012 at 9:55 PM

    I would add a ceramic compost bin for the counter with a top on it. I use mine ALL DAY LONG (well, not really ALL day, that would be weird.) But I use it a lot. I think of it as a tool, right??

    The List is perfect, lady. I love my cuisinart. The thing is older than I am and I use it at least weekly.

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      brilliant lindsey!

  • FrugalFoodieMama
    July 17, 2012 at 11:09 PM

    I must have a good chef’s knife. Cannot live without that. I do wish that I had s stand mixer. Or maybe an ice-cream, maker… 😉

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      sometimes i wish i had an icecream maker but at the same time, no. haha

  • patience
    July 18, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    haha maybe i should be insulted…but how can i deny that all this is true! it should be said that i have six of these items – but two of them you bought for me! one of them was jon’s idea and another a friend sent to me because i didn’t have one when she was here! (peeler. we use knives to peel potatoes, tee hee). oh i am so sad…

    but you must admit i don’t lack for cutting boards!
    except a plastic one…i should get one of those for meat…

    • Kristy Lynn
      July 20, 2012 at 3:28 PM

      don’t be insulted! it’s in jest, my love. 🙂

      p.s. yes. you have lots of cutting boards.

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