Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kitchen Essentials

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Kitchen Essentials

Article excerpt

ost of us will never be able to cook as four-star chefs can. But we sure could gain a leg up in the kitchen if we used some of the same tools. With that logic in mind, we asked a number of North Jersey's chefs and one wine director to tell us their most indispensable tools of the trade. From the most high-tech of immersion circulators to a simple pair of heavy-duty tongs, chefs take their kitchen tools very seriously. After all, the quality and precision of their tools make a difference in the look and taste of what ends up on the plate.

Thermomix

How much: $1,500 and up.

Recommended by: Klaus Kronsteiner, chef, Pier 115 Bar & Grill in Edgewater.

Why: A multipurpose food processor that blends, cooks, weighs and chops, the Thermomix processes food so fine, like "baby food," Kronsteiner declared. It also has a good temperature control to bring ingredients to a desired temperature.

Benriner Mandolin

How much: $35 and up.

Recommended by: Steve Santoro, chef/owner, Local Seasonal Kitchen in Ramsey.

Why: It's the best vegetable slicer on the market, according to Santoro, creating perfectly shaved slices.

Immersion circulator

How much: $400 and up.

Recommended by: Chris Curado, executive chef, Esty Street in Park Ridge.

Why: An immersion circulator is a tool used for sous vide, or under vacuum, cooking. This popular fine-dining technique allows meat, chicken and fish, which is vacuum-sealed, to be cooked slowly at low temperature in a bath of water, resulting in a juicier, more evenly cooked product. It's difficult to overcook or mess up a steak using this technique, according to professional chefs. "I use it for the holidays [at home]," Curado said. "I don't have to worry about cooking steaks perfectly and maintaining the temperature." For home cooks, he recommends the Sous Vide Supreme.

Cast iron frying pan

How much: $15 and up.

Recommended by: Dave Finkelstein, owner/barbecue-pit master, Fink's BBQ in Dumont.

Why: Among their many uses: After pork butts are removed from the barbecue, Finkelstein beats them with a pair of cast-iron skillets to make pulled pork. "The meat just falls off," he said.

Cuisinart hand mixer

How much: $50 and up.

Recommended by: Michael Latour, chef/owner, Latour in Ridgewood.

Why: Good for making emulsion sauces.

Coravin

How much: $299.

Recommended by: Dan Sliwinski, wine director, Spuntino in Clifton.

Why: This new wine-preservation system is going to revolutionize the industry, Sliwinski said, by enabling servers to extract wine from a bottle without uncorking it. It keeps wine fresh longer and allows restaurants to offer more by-the-glass selections.

Winco heavy-duty tongs

How much: $5.

Recommended by: Dave Finkelstein, owner/barbecue-pit master, Fink's BBQ in Dumont.

Why: No serious pit master can get by without a pair of heavy- duty tongs. Finkelstein has several in various sizes used for everything from pulling ribs off the grill to serving coleslaw. …

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