3 Must-Have Kitchen Tools

knife@1800 Culinary Team Member Kellen Ferkey shares his favorite–sharp–kitchen tools and their uses.

Knives are very important tools in any kitchen, and it’s very important to not only have a good quality knife, but to have one that suits your purpose. I have spent plenty of money on knives, but they all have their places. Specialty tools are made for specialty jobs. Generally I use a Santoku style knife for most kitchen duties and would recommend one to everyone for general home or professional use. A Santoku can handle meat and vegetables with ease and also make quick work of herbs.

Zyliss has made peeling an art form, and I count myself as a Swiss cult follower. The ergonomic design of their Y Peeler is genius; it has helped take the strain off of the wrists and fingers of those suffering from carpal tunnel. The blades are incredible; I like to use mine to take the skin off of butternut squash. It has a very satisfying feeling as it hogs off the material. I also use it regularly to peel giant carrots, not wanting to take the time to cut the area where the greens sprout out; I just swipe away with the peeler to get to the good stuff. They also have a Julienne style peeler in their lineup. With that kind of tool you can make cucumbers into spaghetti, or an apple into a slaw. They also produce a stick peeler with a paring knife in the back end, which I can imagine would do a number on some carrots as well.

The Benriner Mandoline that I picked up from the local Asian market has been a best buddy of mine for quite a while. It has adjustable thickness and a single razor sharp blade that can help you make a bucket of pickles in 10 minutes. They average about $20 and, for me, are indispensable. They come with multiple blades for making different cuts of vegetables. If you do pick one up, there are a few things to remember: The blades are stainless steel, just like any other high end kitchen knife, if you leave water on it, it will rust. Also the finger guards for most mandolins are kind of a joke. You are your best finger guard. Pick up a Kevlar glove if you are hesitant about using a mandoline. And lastly, all mandolines have a heavy appetite for fingers. Keep in mind that these tools are recommended for professional chefs, but they will take a bite out of anyone’s finger.

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