I have been asked a lot of questions that involve “well which one do you use?” So I thought I would start a series of posts that address kitchen equipment. I scrutinize most recipes and try to make them as simple as possible. I really encourage you to cook with what you have and I personally try to avoid super specialized kitchen equipment. My kitchen manager, however, will claim that there is nothing simple about my cooking when he is doing the cleaning up at the end of the night. Definitely clean as you go. Thomas Keller talks about working clean in his book Bouchon Bakery and I have truly tried to practice this. When you look at food you made and think “this looks like a mess” its probably because you aren’t working clean. I cook in a small apartment kitchen but I find it most important to work on one clean countertop that is free of clutter. Its never good to jam up your kitchen with a bunch of equipment when the best tools you have are actually at the end of your arms (and in your knife block). So lets get started with the basics here and then we will move on to more advanced kitchen tools. We will begin by discussing knives.
You really just need one super sharp Chef’s knife. This one is amazing, Victorinox Fibrox 8-Inch Chef’s Knife. There are plenty of super expensive knives out there but this one will perform above and beyond your expectations. If you really have no knives and need a whole set, then get something like this J.A. Henckels Knife Block Set. But I still recommend the Victorinox Chef’s Knife in addition to any knife set.
You should store your knives in a block or in sheaths. If they are bumping around in a kitchen drawer uncovered, they will get dull. It is best not to put knives in the dishwasher. Dishwasher detergent and the jets are abrasive and will damage the fine edge of the knife. Wash them in the sink with soap and water. Sharpen knives every couple of weeks depending on how often you use them. And please absolutely do not scrape your cutting board with the sharp edge of your knife, just turn it to the other edge! These kitchen knives are actually sort of serrated at the microscopic level, this edge is called the grind, and these microscopic serrations will get dull if they are not cared for properly.