Kitchen Must-Haves From the Pros
Restaurant and bar pros dish on their favorite kitchen tools.
“The small tool that I could not go without is my lame (pronounced “lahm”). I use it to score every loaf of sourdough bread I bake. Every loaf that leaves the bakery is adorned with a signature pattern depending on its flavor. The traditional sourdough has three wheat stalks. [I make] a flower for rosemary and swooshes for garlic. I have used many types of lames until I finally settled on a UFO lame, made by Wire Monkey. A UFO lame is a razor inside a circular wooden handle which allows me to make intricate scoring patterns with ease. I absolutely love it! The lame is personal to each baker and everyone prefers different ones. I feel that my lame is a part of me and contains the memories of all the loaves I have touched.” —Christie Rich, owner, the Bread Chic, Fort Collins
“My spoons! Every station has to have spoons. It drives me crazy when they don’t. Kunz spoons are classic and workhorses. I love collecting old silver spoons as well. If you lose Kunz spoons it’s a bummer, but you can always buy more. The antique spoons tend to mean more to most chefs. Most of mine were gifts from friends, chefs, mentors, etc. It’s like a trip through my career. I keep them aside…I tend to use them for special dinners and off-site events.”—Chris Schmidt, chef-owner, Craftsman and Bird Craft, Edwards and Frisco
“My favorite kitchen tool right now is Ultra Bag 200 micron sieve. This reusable, ultra-fine bag-style sieve is flexible, giving it the advantage of fitting in a variety of different size vessels. It is heat-resistant up to 425°, making it excellent for straining consommés, stocks, aguachiles, and infusions. It reduces the time it takes to skim sauces and stocks. It’s a tool for anyone who loves cooking.” —John DePierro, chef, Perdida and Lady Nomada, Denver
“My favorite bar tool is my Smoking Gun [cocktail smoker]. It has the ability to add such great flavors and complexities to so many cocktails, and it’s a show for all of the senses!” —Ravin Buzzell, general manager, Bezel, Denver
“My newest and most favorite culinary tool is my ‘Work Sharp’ Ken Onion sharpening belt sander. It’s small, it has adjustable speeds, it utilizes multiple branded belts, and it allows me to use varied grit paper to sharpen any knife to any angle perfectly, every time. Three minutes with this tool saves me 20 minutes breaking down 70 pounds of top sirloin—amazing! This tool is never more than three feet from my workstation.”—Mike Thom, executive chef, Hotel Boulderado and Spruce Farm & Fish, Boulder
Talk to us! Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to email@example.com.