Go-To Gadgets

Alessandra Meschini

A well-stocked kitchen is key to making meals at home easier—and less stressful. Luckily, you don’t need mountains of pricey equipment. The culinary pros we spoke with swear by a sharp knife and these affordable yet indispensable products. Find them at Kitchen Collage (430 E. Locust St.), Cooking with Alessandra (33 E. Grand, Suite 103), and other kitchen and restaurant supply stores.

Jay Wang, owner of the Wasabi restaurant group: 

“We always have Chinese cast-iron woks in our kitchens. Once woks are properly seasoned, they become nonstick and we can use them for stir-fries, of course, as well as steaming, deep-frying, roasting and braising. The Chinese wok holds much higher heat than a traditional pan—that’s why this kind of wok makes a lot of Asian dishes taste unique.”

Alessandra Meschini, owner and instructor at Cooking with Alessandra:

“I swear by my chitarra, a classic Italian pasta cutter [pictured, opposite page]. It’s one of those kitchen tools that’s also beautiful to display—and it doesn’t make any noise. It’s a simple and fast way to make the best homemade spaghetti. There’s no need to be an expert or have a secret recipe when you have a chitarra.” 

Troy Trostel, executive chef and owner of Trostel’s Greenbriar: 

“I use a mandoline slicer daily to score perfectly even and thin vegetable slices.”

Lynn Blanchard, Test Kitchen director at Meredith Corp.: 

“Having a good meat thermometer helps me cook and grill meat with confidence. It’s definitely worth the investment to help me avoid overcooked steaks or undercooked chicken. Some models can even be programmed with alerts to notify you when your food has reached a certain temperature.”

Brian Dennis, 801 Chophouse, executive chef: 

“A digital scale helps our team create consistent recipes, since we can weigh and measure ingredients.”

–Karla Walsh

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