Chris Kimball on Essential Kitchen Equipment

Friday, April 19, 2013

Christopher Kimball, founder, publisher and editor of Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines and host of America’s Test Kitchen, talks about kitchen equipment—from colanders to cookie sheets. He'll give advice on what you need, what you don’t, and how much quality and cost matter.


Christopher Kimball

Comments [22]

There is no such thing as A perfect bread knife... Depending on what kind of bread/crust, and for what purpose, you can use a variety of knives. I have tried many, and the best all-around I found is a $5 knife from Sheffield, all SS steel. Perfect blade angle, perfect handle, perfect cut for a variety of breads. A frozen food knife works also very well for soft bread, as it does for cutting tomatoes. All other so-called bread knives are worthless, and a waste of money. I own more than 100 knives, including 10 for oysters, but use one $30 straight "chef" knife, one $10 Santoku, one $5 paring, and two sets of steak knives straight and serrated)for the table. All others are for a variety of non standard foods.

Apr. 20 2013 05:05 PM
Barry Rugg

I was looking for the shopping list for the kitchen that was promised: pots, pans, knives, etc.

Please post

Apr. 20 2013 01:32 PM

I love cooking in cast iron skillets and have no problem keeping them in shape. They cook evenly with no burning or sticking provided they're seasoned after every use. If anything does stick after cooking, I just soak the pan, scrape (gently) if necessary, and wipe with a sponge. When it's clean, put back on stove and heat up until dry and very hot, drop a tiny amount of olive oil, wipe it around with a paper towel (folded to protect from hot pan) and leave it to cool down. That's all it takes.

I'm also a big fan of good knives -- large, medium and small. I have several Henckels Zwilling Pro -- not cheap but not ridiculous (under $100) but their weight and balance are worth it. Also microplane graters a must have -- as another post mentioned.

I would much prefer to crush garlic than mince so I'm going to try that -- I agree about more flavor and oils. Also blends better in some dishes where garlic is not cooked long with other ingredients.

Thanks for the series -- it's been fantastic to hear all these pros.

Apr. 19 2013 01:00 PM
Joel from Nyack

For those in need of a good cheap bread knife try the Pure Komachi 2 for about $10. Works great. No need for an expensive knife to cut bread.

Apr. 19 2013 12:48 PM
James Mercurio from Upper West Side

Chris is a walking encyclopedia on how to do things right in the kitchen and put out the very best finished product on your table.

Apr. 19 2013 12:46 PM
Cynthia Lamb from Sunset Park, Brooklyn

If you make pie crusts from scratch, pastry knives are vital (forget two butter knives!). Also love my Microplane grater/zester.

Apr. 19 2013 12:43 PM
Bradley Smith from Colorado Springs

Please list the items suggested, especially knife vendors. I obviously wrote the spellings down incorrectly, and would love to start buying the right kitchen equipment for my kids as they set-up households. Thanks so much!

Apr. 19 2013 12:39 PM

I've had luck with a kyocera paddle "mandoline"

I have cookbooks in metric so I have a scale

the $30 knife was Victorinox

Apr. 19 2013 12:39 PM
Chiara from Queens NY

I'm a professional cook, and what I've found in terms of home equipment is that what you use in a professional kitchen is also best for the home kitchen. I've found that buying kitchen tools at your nearest restaurant supply store instead of a home cookware store is actually cheaper and you can get better quality tools.
For cutting boards, I especially love the hard rubber cutting boards; they feel like wood, can go in the dish washer, and can be sanded like wood if they get deep cuts in them.

Apr. 19 2013 12:37 PM
Nicole Palitti from Blauvelt,ny

Yay! So glad you are taking up this topic. I am a former professional cook, turned home cook, and get a bit annoyed with all the gadgets and variety of tools people seem to like and spend money on.

I agree about all of Christopher's comments. We have a beloved Lodge griddle and 10" skillet, Le Creuset Dutch Oven, All-Clad 2 and 3 qt. pots (essential for everything, esp. rice). And just purchased a 9" inch non-stick All-Clad for eggs, only thing to use it for.

Cutting boards- have three separates- meat , veggie&fruits, and garlic and onions! My kids forced this after too many sliced apples that take like garlic.

Also, must have are microplaner and handheld citrus juicer. New carrot peeler, Oxo, that makes matchsticks, even my kids can do it! out with the mandoline, too many cuts.

Apr. 19 2013 12:36 PM
Pamela from Greenwich, CT

I am sure Chris has some good information -- the guy is smart and knows how to do his research -- but he is so pompous and know-it-all, I can barely stand to listen to him. Lose the bowtie, please! You are not James Beard!

Apr. 19 2013 12:36 PM
Laura from Stamford, ct

What was the brand of knives he recommended- the 8" chef's knife for about $30?

Apr. 19 2013 12:35 PM

Love all this info

I learned such different things living in France or from friends' Italian grandparents - TRADITIONS, not "science"

I also have cancer

non-stick pans of any kind are lethal to birds like African Greys -

never cook above medium heat

So here's what I learned - wrought iron skillets:- no real heat needed, just use salt (I use Celtic sea salt from Brittany - scrub with a little oil - not vegetable oil -

Everybody wants a le Creuset dutch oven - but I am suspicious of quality now because someone invested in them a few years ago and they were everywhere

High grade stainless steel saucepans are OK with me

Apr. 19 2013 12:34 PM
Nelson from Fairfield, Connecticut

A Digital scale for weighing flour and things.

Apr. 19 2013 12:30 PM
David from NJ

Love Cooks Illustrated - Long time subscriber.

Q: How long does it take to create a typical article for Cook's Illustrated with all the trial and error and discussions with food scientists?

Apr. 19 2013 12:29 PM

Hi, I missed the name of the instant readout thermometer that Mr. Kimball mentioned. Can you repeat it, or post it to this page?


Apr. 19 2013 12:27 PM
Amy from Manhattan

So those non-stick coatings aren't inert after all? Or not inert only at temperatures they're not likely to be used at?

Apr. 19 2013 12:25 PM
Jay F.

Along with a Chef's knife and a paring knife... A bread knife is a must.

Apr. 19 2013 12:24 PM
bob from Manhattan

I would love to hear your guest's opinion about stainless steel cookware?

Apr. 19 2013 12:22 PM
Nicole Fell from brooklyn


I have a couple of my fathers le crouset orange outside cast iron casserole's and the inside enamel (?) has chipped / come off. is there a way to recoat?

Apr. 19 2013 12:19 PM
Laura from Long Island City

I received a set of La Creuset for my wedding in 1975.
Just to let you know, they are guaranteed for life. I once sent a damaged pot back to La Creuset and they replaced it for the cost of postage only.

Apr. 19 2013 12:18 PM
librarianbiker from Jersey

LOVELOVELOVE Chris' show and I have already asked my kids to get me his latest cookbook (with DVD's) for Mother's Day~
Question; What are the qualifications to be a cook on the show? What cooking schools did he/his cooks attend?

Apr. 19 2013 12:15 PM

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