So you wanna cook at home, but have no freaking idea where to start. Okay- good news- I’m gonna help. I truly believe a good Chef is made up of the quality of their ingredients. Technique may be taught, but passion + flavor cannot. So, set yourself up right with the best essentials needed for success!
First and Foremost: A DECANTER for WINE. Wine,Every Chef needs it. Every (almost) recipe Calls for it. And every Guest requests it. So why not treat it like its the goddess it is and put it in something pretty? Decanting has many benefits, here’s the scoop on why you need a decanter…
#1 It makes it taste better. Decanting oxidizes, allowing tiny air bubbles to penetrate the wine, thus allowing a super tight and tanic bottle to open up and reach its maximum flavor potential really fast.
#2 It can make cheap look chic. I get it. Hosting dinners and such can be expensive. And not everyone can buy that $70 bottle of Rombauer Cab.. so we cut corners. And quite honestly, as much as I am personally a wine snob… after a couple of glass,
or five (TBH) I cant tell if the juice came from Neiman’s or Macys. Pouring the Two Buck Chuck in this beauty makes it look like gold. Literally.
#3 Collecting Decanters is FUN. I love scouring flea markets for super vintage looking ones. I like to set a tabel with a variety of decanters all with different varietals of wine. It become a good talking point and makes teh tabel look pretty
DUTCH OVEN: And i’m not talking about the one your older brother used to give you in 6th grade. This is a Le Creuset, a classic french cast iron pot that will be a game changer. It heats up fast and retains the heat- its perfect one stop shop for roasting, braising, searing and keeping soups and stews nice and warm, one of my favorite recipes is Coq Au Vin and its almost sacrilegious to make it without a Le Creuset. You can even bake cakes and yeast breads in this thing. Oh and of course you gotta get the one with the gold knob, amirite?
SHARP KNIVES: You are most likely to cut your finger off on a dull or cheap set of knives then a super ninja sharp good set! I know, I learned the hard way! These beauties have the finesse of an expensive Japanese knife but the ergonomics and weight like a solid German knife. The GLOBALS are my absolute favorite knives. They feel good in my hand and wont break the bank. I think they are pretty good looking too! Now, if they only came in rose gold or copper……
GOOD OLIVE OIL !! Do not go cheap on your olive oil. Please. Have you read the book Extra Virginity? Hmmm, maybe I need to add that to this list. Lol. Well i’m gonna give you the cliff notes and break it down for you: The olive oil you have + most likely been purchasing sucks, Yes, sucks. In fact, it may not even be olive oil, and it may be corn or vegetable or a blend or rancid or even toxic, and you have no idea!!!!
There is a scandulous world out there surrounding the origins of olive oil and so many retailers and major retail grocer stores carry big company names that we all have heard of – but researchers have proven that their product is bunk. Olive oil has so many amounts of health benefits, but its also a delicate oil… it has a lower smoking point and needs to be handled with care or not only are those health benefits gone, the oil actually becomes a pollutant to you body’s ecosystem. I like to pick olive oils that are organic and green in color with peppery and grassy notes. They say that more flavors of pepper and the more it ‘itches’ your throat when sipped alone; is an indicator of a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are warriors. They help crush cancer cells. Check out Dr. Mercola’s insight on them and you will be sold. In the meantime, I hope Ive convinced you that upping your olive oil game is essential.
This one from Williams Sonoma is a great starting point. The price is right, its organic, cold pressed and from California, like most cool things are 🙂 Plus the name literally translates to Oil of the Saints which was a term used for the best oils pressed and reserved for special ceremonies…
THIS COOKBOOK: How to Cook Everything. I think the title of this one says it all. But listen, I am a professional chef, like I get paid to cook, but there are plenty of things that I still need to look up. This book has EVERYTHING. Its straightforward and simple. Any home cook or professional would appreciate it. I mean, after enough wine… I sometimes forget how to boil eggs !
Cheers and good luck!!!