This section is all about the tools of the trade. And a few things that we use a lot in the trade or even in the home.  Where can you put it all?  I had to design and build a mini-pro NSF kitchen in my condominium. Condominiums have little space to waste.  Heres how a chef makes it usable in a sub size workspace in the non-commercial Condo kitchen and what works.

What You Need  -  Get Past The Hype And TV Chef Endorsements

The newer pots and pans hawkers sell on TV today are both different in hype, lies, design, production process and materials.  It’s not as simple as the Made in USA, your mothers Farberware or Lodge.   I have somewhere buried in my collection of pots and kitchen tools items from my mother and one item from her mother easily from the fifties, thats seventy plus years.  The answer is buy quality and you won’t have to buy again.   Quality - Made - In - America - Tough Stuff.

I generally cook three times a day, and my kitchen pots and pans get used a lot but they are heavy duty good quality and kept well, they look like new.  

 I also have my three  Lodge Cast irons, the best chicken frying pans in the world. And a Lodge Dutch Oven  —  Cast iron is the winner and a bigger trend with modern chefs today, almost a revival, many Chefs prefer using LODGE after you season them well because of irons consistency in heating.  

Thats quality and nothing does chicken better than Lodge.  One of them I inherited  works on electric, induction, grill and bonfire.  It was from the 50’s also.   Under Chicken Wars find the KFC recipes and get a Lodge.  You’ll never go back to KFC again. 

If you buy good, you have to buy less.  Not the case today where a high percentage of profit goes to a celebrity cook or endorser rather than quality paid for and works for HLN, QVC, Tellebrands, ASOTV, etc.   And with promise of incredible surfaces that never wear out, really?  

Lodge and Good Stainless do not wear out, the rest do… but when you are lacking skills or have little knowledge of time, temperature, properly  assessed food you are about to destroy, and amounts of oil to use… non-stick. might be good for you.   

HINT:   Check Garage Sales for LODGE pots, pans, sauciers etc that the people are practically giving away.  Because Lodge cast iron requires being kept oily to prevent rust.  Thats it’s stick free. So they buy the crap on TV which will last about a year or two and let the LODGE skillet pan rust away.  An idiot can restore the pan to new just by simple home techniques, brillo pads, elbow grease and love and you find a 70-90 dollar pan under that thin coat of rust and when removed you reseason the pan to new.

Celebrity Chefs Don’t Make Pots  - They Make Money Touting Them  — 

  • TV is the lamp that attracts the moths.  Its simple,  when they say,  NOT SOLD IN STORES… it’s because you would see what a cheap Chinese crap product it really is, you won’t bother.
  •  If you held it in your hand you saw a thin stamped aluminum  pan coated with the color of the week with secretive properties.   Two rivets and a flat handle.  Whether you got the copper, the green finish, the black granite finish it’s all the same made in the Gotham plant, just the flavor of the week.
  • There is another side to that.  And when they gave you two for one, the value of what you just committed to decreased by 50%. Then decreased by profit 50% and now you know that was a three dollar pan.  
  • It came direct from China via the Chinese Le Junk Fleet on a pallet in Los Angeles every seven days.  On the largest of three pallet ships in the world with an overall length of 1312 feet and up to 20,000 containers .  Not a misprint!
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  • Like all the other TV stuff, it was sold on tV because many stores refused to sell low end garbage.   Lifetime Guarantee  To Replace It If   — The importer scammer is till around and If you can afford the fifteen dollars to send it back to get a new one when you only paid ten dollars for that piece of equipment.
  •   The free garlic chopper you get with the TV offer has been around in various incantations for forty years on the TV and the cost net from China is about a $1.50 including shipping in bulk regardless of color.  That has gone up recently.
  • The other part of the scam is the “Not available in stores” because there is none of the product in the United States. Without inventory, and un-tariffed direct sale to China keeps cost down because of no warehousing and personnel costs.   And direct from China to your door means when the last one goes out so does the lifetime warranty. 
  • And like everything else the cooking phenomena has been eclipsed by the Celebrity Cook syndrome, AKA "The Endorser".  If they can stuff it in a bag and put his or her name on it and it sells, they have been successful.  
  • A good chef rarely brings more than his knives to the kitchen.  It’s his skills and knowledge of what he is working with, the results needed and good people to work with.  
  • Tools, they are designed to hack, chop, blend, emulsify, whip, congeal, slice, dice, and destroy in some cases, fingers and in some countries enemies of the state.  ( Limited to North Korea, Russia and China )
  • WARNING:  Some of these TV pots are light in weight and slide dangerously on some electric ovens, when cooking fast, I just call them dangerous.  Chefs cook quick and do not leave things unattended.  

WHERE TO Shop  —  I usually do not endorse businesses unless I specifically deal with them on an ongoing basis, these I do endorse and I receive nothing for my efforts from any of them and would not accept anything.  You can’t buy honesty, it’s never been canned or discounted.  If I said it I meant it.  

Anything they send me is appreciated and this is where many chefs, real Chefs and those who love good cooking and stuff that cooks good buy from. I usually donate a knife set once a year to high Schools with Culinary Training. I also donate electronics and computers to science classes.

These stores, many are industry suppliers have some of the best quality accessory items some of which you might didn’t know exist all in one catalog on line in PDF.  Amazing tools you never even thought of… used on a professional level. 

Rarely will you find good stuff in Target to Wal-Mart, you find priced Chinese knockoffs.  

In small hand tools the winner is OXO,  fair priced and good quality, also they have on some items soft handles for us older folks…

Professional and Personal Gear Such As  —  Tools —  Knives — Clothes  —      

High End Consumer - (Pro Level) And House Accessories   — 

  • For the local home aficionado chef consumer the better lines for  settings and accessories including cutlery are carried by Williams Sonoma, Cutlery and More, Crate and Barrel, Sur Le Table and these places are both in or near malls and on on-line establishments.  Good stuff, high quality does cost more but I am using some sixty to seventy year old tools.  They only made good stuff in that era.  Forged not stamped, hand made not pieced together.
  • Both Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table are high end stores and you can get some great bargains through them if you are patient and know what to look for both in their store where you can see it and hold it and on line when they run a sale.  
  • But the brand is the critical point and there are many, but for the better, I like Wusthof, and Shun.  Nice selection, in Henckles stay away from their promotional lines, their 4-star and 5-star are Euro made but they also make the cheap stuff all over the world which is cheap stuff period,  for the Wal-Mart’s and Targets.  OK. The rest is Le Junk —  
  • Commercially, if we do a fund raising event, trade show or charitable show, I do not bring 150-200 dollar knives, they have a habit of vanishing.  We sometimes bring the volunteer helpers tools, or as gifts for their efforts and support.    GFS and Tramontina, (Costco has Tramontina from Brazil,  Sam’s sells China knockoffs ) has some good pricing on knives for the restaurant trade, so does GFS.   
  • All  mentioned are in reasonable affordable price ranges and restaurant quality and work well.  Cook for six hundred people with a team and a good knife is a must.  I use these, they hold an edge, sharpen easy, and safe white no-slip handles.   With my name on the blade handle  —
  • Addiction — I do have a few exotics like a Custom Kramer but they are strictly for my enjoyment.  And a few  clever from the Orient.  Remember that 100 dollar blade becomes 300 dollars when the handle is made of a rare bony nail from a Tyrannosaurus Rex or a tooth from the Mega Shark.    But a Kramer is 100% all knife, and like gold coins,  money in the bank.  Kramers can cost 2500 dollars and people wait a year or more to get one.  Mine is in my safe. 
  • For the decorative table, Crate and Barrel also runs promos and I don’t think there is a finer collection of kitchen utensils, decorative and useful bowls and complimentary pieces for the presentation part of the meal.  Napkins, dishes, settings anywhere for the complete culinary experience.   They also have 20% coupons on the web or by mail.  
  • Bed, Bath, and Beyond also has a nice selection of table toppers and kitchen accessories, especially OXO and they too have 20% coupons sometimes on line  for one item.  Most are for the consumer,  Crate is a notch higher in price, very established in theme decorations,  and has a nice selection of tools that work. 

START —  The Small Kitchen

©  Copyright   01/12/2022