Pint-size chef Annabella Perk chops up her homegrown vegetables. Photo by Sean Gasser.

Local chefs talk home kitchen must-haves

It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of a cooking store. Walls lined with devices that seem to hold the potential to bring your cooking to the next level–even if you can hardly make it past scrambled eggs. However, with only a limited amount of drawer and counter space, it’s impractical to bring every shiny gadget home.

In an effort to focus on quality over quantity, we reached out to the pros. Here you will find Baton Rouge chefs’ ultimate must-haves for at-home cooking. Read on for all of their picks:

Katia Mangham. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

Katia Mangham, Gourmet Girls

  1. Miyabi 9 in. chef’s knife and 5 in. pairing or utility knife
  2. Small French balloon whisk
  3. 12 in. cast-iron skillet
  4. Benriner handheld mandoline
  5. Staub round coccote, 4 qt.
  6. Mortar and pestle
  7. KitchenAid 6 qt. mixer with pasta attachment
  8. Stainless steel flex spatula
  9. Vitamix for the smoothest soups

Ryan Andre. Photo by Collin Richie.

Ryan Andre, Soji Modern Asian

“Now that I own an Asian restaurant and cook in a wok everyday, I would have to say a stovetop wok would be a must-have. It’s easy to cook in and is a very versatile cooking utensil.”

Annabella Perk. Photo by Sean Gasser.

Annabella Perk, Bushel and a Peck Garden

  1. Blow torch – “My favorite kitchen utensil is a blow torch because it helps me make my favorite dessert, cane syrup creme brûée.”
  2. Garlic press – “I’ve been using this lately a lot with black garlic.”
  3. Tongs – “I use tongs the most frequently for everything from plating to stirring to picking up hot ingredients.”

Sarah Joy Hays. Photo by Collin Richie.

Sarah Joy Hays, CounterspaceBR

“My two favorite and must-have kitchen items a scale–this Escali is what I have at home and I love it for accuracy in baking–and this iSi bendy bowl. It’s great for adding dry ingredients into a stand mixer!”

Jay Ducote. Photo courtesy Jay Ducote.

Jay Ducote, Gov’t TacoChopped, Master Chef, Jay D’s

“My kitchen must-haves are a serious stand mixer, like a KitchenAid or an Ankarsrum, and a serious blender, like a Vitamix or otherwise, so that you can really handle making doughs, sauces and more. Cooking at home without those tools just isn’t the same! The stand mixer helps create fresh whipped creams and fluffy meringues, in addition to making your own breads or biscuits. On the blender side, not only are they great for cocktails, but you can also make sauces in them like chimichurri.”

Brumby Broussard with wife Misti. Photo by Collin Richie.

Brumby Broussard, BLDG 5

  1. Good, sharp knife and cutting board
  2. Thick-bottom pot – “I’m from Louisiana, so Magnalites are my favorite. I’m old-fashioned in that way.”
  3. Good blender, food processor or both
  4. Nonstick pan with the right tools so it doesn’t get scratched
  5. Finishing salt – “These take food in a different direction. Take a normal caprese salad and add smoked finishing salt and you have something all new. A great place to pick up a good variety is Red Stick Spice.”

Chris Motto. Photo by Collin Richie.

Chris Motto, Mansurs on the BoulevardHell’s Kitchen

“Obviously, I get spoiled with access to a commercial kitchen. However, must-haves at home probably start with good knives and quality pots and pans. Things that also come to mind would be my variable-speed Vitamix and fine mesh strainer because I still enjoy making nice, smooth sauces at home.”

Lisa Boudreaux-LeCoq. Photo by Joey Bordelon.

Lisa Boudreaux-LeCoq, The Gilded Artichoke

  1. Magnetic strip of amazing knives – “This is my number one must-have: a sharp knife!”
  2. Set of mixing bowls – “I love my set of vintage Pyrex. They stack into each other and save space. Plus, they remind me of cooking with my grandmother.”
  3. Plenty of oils – “I cook with olive oil for almost every meal, and I have several local specialty oils as well.”

Jeremy Coco. Photo courtesy Jeremy Coco.

Jeremy Coco, Chef Jeremy Coco Culinary Services

  1. A good variety of seasoned cast-iron pots, pans and skillets
  2. A high-quality chef’s knife with diamond sharpening stone
  3. A precision cooker (people also call this a sous vide cooker)
  4. A multi-quart electric pressure cooker

What are your kitchen must-haves? Let us know in the comments below.