If you’re serious about your cooking, you’ll probably treat your kitchen a bit differently than the average homeowner. Often, high-end appliances are among the first things that come to mind when someone is considering outfitting a gourmet kitchen. In this article, however, we’re going to focus on some of the smaller (and more affordable) things to consider. If you’re interested in getting the most out of your kitchen when you cook, let’s look at 8 must-haves for your gourmet kitchen that will enable you to enjoy cooking efficiently and effectively.
1. Cast Iron Skillet
A cast-iron skillet may not be the first thing you think of when planning a modern gourmet kitchen. These skillets are decidedly old-school—and look it. Yet, they are amazing workhorses in the kitchen because they are excellent conductors of heat (and they work on modern induction surfaces!) and they are incredibly durable. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you will want to lubricate your pan to ensure that food doesn’t stick. And when you wash, just use water (no soap).
Knives are something you will use virtually every time you cook. When choosing kitchen knives, you’ll want to consider quality over quantity. You can buy whole sets of kitchen knives at almost any big box store, but the fact is that you don't need lots of knives. It’s far better to have a few great knives than to have a whole set of mediocre knives. The ones you’ll probably use most will be a paring knife, a chef’s knife, and a serrated bread knife. You can, of course, add additional knives to meet your needs, but these are the essentials. When you make your purchase, get the best knives you can afford. You want them to feel good in your hand, and you’ll want to make sure they’ll hold a good edge. Take a look at reviewed.com’s best kitchen knives of 2019 for some ideas.
3. A Knife Sharpener
It only makes sense that if knives are so important, you'll want to keep them sharp. If you purchase good knives, to begin with, you won't need to constantly sharpen them. By spending a decent amount of money on a good sharpener you’ll end up with one that works well—and will protect the investment you’ve made in good knives. Here’s a look at Good Housekeeping’s 5 best knife sharpeners.
4. Cutting Boards
While cutting boards aren't particularly sexy, they are another one of those essentials because they get used all the time. When you shop for cutting boards, make sure you focus on utility rather than on how they look. Wooden boards will be easier on your knives than stone or glass boards—so you won't need to sharpen them as often. One thing you'll want to keep an eye on, however, is that wooden boards can develop grooves and cuts that may trap bacteria. Wash them thoroughly after use—and plan to replace your cutting boards every two years or so.
5. Non-stick Pans
If you plan to cook with eggs or other materials that stick, having a couple of non-stick pans is a good idea. Even for non-gourmet meals (frying an egg for breakfast), it's nice to have a simple non-stick pan. Chances are that you really won't need a whole set because you probably won't use them constantly—but it's nice to have a non-stick surface when you need it. One word of caution: There are some pans you’ll want to avoid because they may contain toxic materials. Amy Meyers, MD has published a list of toxic cookware to avoid—along with a list of non-toxic options.
6. Food Processor
So many recipes call for chopped ingredients. You can do all of that by hand (and sometimes that’s the right course of action), but if you need to do more than just a bit of chopping, a food processor (such as a Cuisinart) will save you a lot of time and effort.
A list of basic utensils for a gourmet kitchen could get long, but you'll want to make sure you have an adequate supply of wooden spoons, spatulas, stainless steel mixing bowls, and tongs, along with a set of measuring cups and spoons that are clearly marked, making them easy to use.
8. A Great Gourmet Kitchen Begins with Great Design
One thing you’ll notice is that even if you have all the equipment and utensils you need, a great gourmet kitchen begins with great design. As a design-build remodeler, we’re completely committed to the importance of starting with a design that meets your specific needs. To help you create the perfect kitchen for your Portland home, we’d encourage you to download our free Designing the Ideal Kitchen eBook. You’ll discover how to design a kitchen to fit your personal style, tips for creating a functional kitchen, different kitchen styles and design elements to consider, and how to work with a designer to bring your dream to reality.