Cooking isn't just about great, high-quality ingredients. And creating a stand out dish isn't just about technique and skill. Many times just having some great tools will help elevate your food, and take it into a new realm. Below is a quick guide to some of my favorite and most used tools in the kitchen. Some are expensive, but most are very cheap, and you might even have them already in your kitchen!
Note, this is not a brand promo, these are my own views - honestly!
Microplane / Zester: I use this tool daily. Not just for clients, but also in my own food. The mini hand grater allows you to expand the flavor profile of a dish extremely easily and effectively. Citrus zest, cheese, whole dried herbs and roots like horseradish are just a few of the things my microplane sees daily. You can give your mild fish a fresh pop with a touch of lemon zest. A dusting of cinnamon or nutmeg on top of a soup can transform your store bought, box soup close to that of a great restaurant. And fresh horseradish on any piece of red meat will rival any steakhouse sauce. Retailing for a whopping $15, this small hand-tool will be worth its weight in flavor when put to use.
Vitamix: Not a secret, and fairly common in many homes, this blender is extremely versatile. To be transparent, you cannot substitute for this blender. It has to be a Vitamix. The reason is mainly how powerful a tool it is. It's inner workings, variable speeds, and workhouse caliber motor are what set it apart from any other on the market. I use mine for virtually every event. I use it to make sauces, herb oils, soups, desserts, salad dressings and more. It can take on rough cut vegetables and turn them into a silky smooth sauce, and also makes mashed potatoes! I really rely on the blender for herb oils: I take fresh herbs, mix them with a cup or so of vegetable oil and blend it up until there is no trace of herbs other than the color. This then is used on everything from roasted veggies, to accent notes in soup or salad dressings. It will be worth its cost within a few months of purchase. Oh, and for you new mothers out there, use it to make baby food! - Check out my Curry Butternut Squash Soup, using the Vitamix.
Mandolin: The ultimate chefs tool. Efficient, precise, and perfectly consistent. This tool is great for those uniformly thin rounds of radish used to garnish that $7 avocado toast you buy at the trendy coffee shop. But also for things like potatoes, carrots, apples, and onions. I love making a roast potato dish that is so simple, but stunning enough to serve to dinner guests (see below). This adds serious finnesse to your cooking. Pro-tip, buy a protective glove so you don't slice off your finger tip.
Ziplock Bags (quart, gallon and 2 gallon): Yes, I said Ziplock bags. Not just for storing snacks, leftovers, and sandwiches. I use these bags almost every day. Their versatility includes marinating meats, steaming roasted peppers, and also using in sous vide baths. But also, I use them as a piping bag. To artfully garnish a dessert with whipped cream, to piping goat cheese or hummus on to appetizers. Unless you have kids, the snack size bags have little use. The large 2-gallon bag is extremely useful for marinating big pieces of meat, and even brining a small-medium sized turkey. Go pick up the Costco pack, and thank me later!
After six years in the kitchen and many extraordinary events, Kellan has become more than a chef, he’s cooking up experiences. From small intimate dinner parties, cooking lessons, and family meals to large corporate bar-b-ques, beer dinners, and holiday soirées, the Kitchen has it covered. Kellan and crew are not just cooks and servers, they’re hosts, cocktail gurus, and burgeoning sommeliers. With a focus always on the food, Kellan’s Kitchen also pays great attention to hosting, vibe, comfort and the vision of the host. Everyone must walk out with a smile, full belly, and sometimes a nice buzz.