Pros Dish on Their Favorite Kitchen Tools
Chefs, operators, and brewers give some love to their top gadgets.
“I think the most fun and unique tool I have is something that I believe [brewer Charles McManus, see below] created about five years ago. It’s a stick. But it’s a long stick with lines cut into it, and each line represents a barrel (31 gallons). It is how we check the amount of liquid in the boil kettle.” —Todd Bellmyer, head brewer, Wynkoop Brewing Company, Denver
“My new favorite tool in the brewhouse is the Bonsen Kitchen milk frother. I do not use it to froth milk, however; it is my tool for degassing fermenting batches of beer. In the brewhouse, we need to take samples of our ferments daily to assess gravity and pH, as well as overall fermentation health. Our instruments used to calculate this data work best when CO2 gas has been removed from the sample, so I use my frother to effectively disturb the sample and release all the saturated CO2. It works great! I can use a lower volume of each sample and the frother only costs about $12.” —Charles McManus, head brewer, Phantom Canyon Brewing Company, Colorado Springs
“My favorite tool has to be my plating tweezers. I’ve caught a lot of flak over the years for them, but they’re so useful, even if you’re not using them to plate. You can whisk eggs, pick something out of oil or a hot pan, test vegetables to see if they’re done, use them as a makeshift thermometer to temp your proteins, use them to taste food or like chopsticks to eat family meal, and to clean out some pasta dies. In a pinch, I use them to pry open a can. They really are my best friend in the kitchen, and I find myself reaching for them even when I cook at home.” —Zach Patz, chef de cuisine, Il Posto, Denver
“Our tortilla press is the kitchen gadget we use over and over again. As we prepare our artisanal Guatemalan-inspired items, our press is vital to make our champurradas coffee cookies the right size: wide enough for the perfect bite and thick enough for the essential crunch. Plus, we use the press for what it was intended—tortillas made to perfection.” —Kristin Lacy and Vivi Lemus, co-owners and founders, Convivio Café, Denver
“I am constantly using my bench scraper in the kitchen for things beyond its typical use for dough. It is a valuable tool for moving ingredients from the cutting board to the pot with less effort when you’re working in larger volume. Personally, I like the one from Sur La Table with a black plastic handle for its durability and affordability.” —Jeff Osaka, owner, Osaka Ramen and Sushi-Rama, Denver
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