Welcome to “Kitchen Essentials,” a new series from Chowhound where chefs and bartenders from around the country invite viewers into their kitchens and bars, unveiling the five tools that are simply essential to their work.
Bon Temps in Los Angeles is an all-day restaurant born from the creative mind of a pastry chef. Lincoln Carson, a bona fide pastry king, rethinks the traditional French brasserie with a warm, bright space serving up the kinds of comforting dishes you’ll want to order all the time: French grits crowned with bacon crumbles and a poached egg; steak frites swiped with a punchy sauce au poivre; and salty blue prawns, ready to mop up cocktail sauce.
Don’t have the time to sit down for a lengthy meal? No matter. You can quickly pop in for a coffee and to taste the morning magic of Lincoln’s French pastries: Buttery pain au chocolats sit in a case alongside flaky seasonal danishes. But if you do have the time, make sure to stay for dessert. Lincoln dreams up s’mores bars, guava panna cotta, soaring chestnut Mont Blancs, and lemon meringue tarts.
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With all of Lincoln’s imagination in the kitchen, it should come as no surprise that his attention to detail and inherent creativity that’s translated from mind to menu is in large part thanks to many of the tools he uses in the kitchen. “I think the reason some of these tools are so essential is through so many years of using these and similar tools,” Lincoln says, “you eventually hone it down to what works the best for your style.”
Chowhound spent the day with Lincoln, sharing his most beloved and essential kitchen tools so that you, too, can become royalty in the kitchen.
Lincoln takes out his honing strop as the last part in the process of getting his knives sharp and straight. Honing strops are made out of leather and strapped to a steel magnet to keep the leather in place. The green color on the leather is made up of a polishing compound that helps produce a very fine edge on the knife. To sharpen a knife, Lincoln puts pressure on the blade and rubs it back and forth across the strop, which ultimately produces a very polished, mirror finish and an extremely sharp blade. Buy Now
Lincoln admits that while there are plenty of cutting boards made from different surfaces, he prefers a hard rubber cutting board for one key reason: The surface you cut on affects how long knives stay sharp, and using a hard rubber cutting board ensures knives won’t become dull right away.Buy Now
Although Lincoln swears by his combi oven—a convection oven, a steam oven, a combi oven (both convection and steam at the same time), all rolled into one—they’re not so readily available outside professional kitchens. The closest thing to a combi oven this Breville oven which is both a convection oven and an air fryer. Buy Now
Lincoln’s beloved painter’s spatula comes in handy for his à la minute cooking and plating. The spatula is bendy yet sharp, and he can use it for slicing, lifting, and decorative plating. Buy Now
As a pastry chef, Lincoln can often be found making quenelles, which is a shape that resembles an egg out of certain foods. The spoon is rounded at the base and tapers to a point—just like an egg—and can be dipped into ice cream to expertly create uniform rounds. Lincoln also uses the tip of the spoon to accurately plate ingredients.Buy Now
For more about Lincoln and Bon Temps, watch the seventh episode of “Kitchen Essentials.”
Header image by Chowhound.