Essential Kitchen Utensils

When setting up your kitchen, you don’t need to buy the fanciest cookware. Chef Peter Evans shows how easy it is to navigate your way around the kitchen with just a few basic utensils:

  • A Chef's knife will get you through nearly every job, along with a bread knife and a small paring knife. Choose a knife that is comfortable in your hand and easy to handle. Remember, a good quality stainless steel knife will stay sharper for longer.
  • Chopping boards – plastic is cheaper, lightweight and more hygienic. Wooden looks great, is sturdier and doubles as a cheeseboard.
  • Saucepans – good quality ones cost a fair bit but you don't need a lot of them, just a large one for soups and pasta, a medium one and a small one. Get stainless steel or copper, not aluminium. You need one with a thick base so your sauces don't burn.
  • Frying pans – choose stainless steel or cast iron for cooking sauces. Choose a teflon frying pan for fish or eggs so they don't stick. Pans with metal handles are useful because you can take them from the stove top to the oven.
  • Wok – Pete's favourite utensil. They only cost about $20, and be sure to choose one with a handle because they are easier to use.
  • Sugar thermometer – the safest and most accurate way to test the temperature of your oil when deep frying. They only cost about $10.
  • Colander – stainless steel is best.
  • Bamboo steamer – great for making fish or dumplings. It fits in your wok nicely and looks great.
  • Steamer – perfect for cooking vegies and fit neatly in your saucepan.
  • Baking dish – choose a glass one for lasagne. A cast iron baking dish for pot roasting goes from oven to table top.
  • Bamix – will do most jobs a kitchen wizz can and takes up less room.
  • Glass jug – good for measuring and for straining sauces and stocks into.
  • Sieve – buy the finest possible so that your sauces and stocks will be a lot clearer.
  • Mixing bowls – stainless steel ones are essential for mixing sauces, mayonnaise and cake mixture.
  • Tongs, wooden spoons, vege peeler, grater and zester – buy sturdy, good quality ones. Replace your wooden spoons when they start to fray at the end.
  • Mortar and pestle – for grinding spices and pounding chili paste. Once you've got one you'll wonder how you did without it.

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