Whether you’re an expert in the kitchen or just starting out, this edition of Cheap Thrills will have something for you! We’ve asked local chefs and restaurant owners to share their favorite kitchen gadget that costs less than $50 — and where to score them at the best price. Because let’s be real — we don’t want to pay a fortune for cooking utensils if we don’t have to! So, we asked, and we’ve got these local chefs’ favorite — and most affordable — go-to kitchen tools!
Local Chef’s Favorite Kitchen Tools Under $50
From serving food like casseroles to keeping spices or other loose ingredients in this for display, the cocotte can be used for everything. Chef John Matthews of Le Jardin tells us that he uses this to roast garlic. He says to cut the top off the garlic head, place in the cocotte, drizzle olive oil on the garlic cloves and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes. And viola! The garlic is nutty, silky and spreadable. For garlic lovers, it is a heavenly replacement for butter on bread.
These paring knives have been around forever, and there is a good reason for that. There’s no need for those expensive versions when this no-fuss Dexter knife will do the trick — and will last twice as long. Chef Julio Zuniga from Maximo’s on Broad says this is his favorite gadget because you can use it for absolutely anything and create endless possibilities. You can make any design with this paring knife as well — talk about more bang for your buck!
This spiralizer can transform fruits and veggies into healthy noodles full of flavor. You can choose from spaghetti, fettuccine or ribbon-cut spirals. Not only that, you can make curly fries and salads in just seconds. Oh, and did we mention it’s dishwasher safe?! Glenda Hastings, owner of Napa Cafe, says, “It can be used to make veggie spirals. I like to sauté or fry the veggie spiral to add interest and texture to dishes. They are also great to use as a pasta substitute to make a dish gluten-free and healthier!”
Japanese Mandoline, $25
When you see this contraption, you might be a little afraid at first. In reality, this little gadget could be your next best friend! Chef Max Hussey of Folk’s Folly Prime Steak House says this is his favorite thing to use in the kitchen because they have ridiculously sharp blades and can cut anything into paper-thin slices. Chef Hussey says, “Unlike its French counterpart, the Japanese version is lightweight, portable, a third of the cost and easy to clean.”
This crafted tool features stainless steel blades that won’t tear or shred hard cheeses. This gadget effortlessly fulfills all your grating needs. Kelly English, owner and executive chef of Restaurant Iris and Second Line, simply says this is his favorite gadget by far.
Pan Gripper, $7.99
Metal Fish Turner, $12.99
The metal fish turner is meant for so much more than just fish. It is great for transferring whole fish, filets and even seafood cakes. Keith Bambrick, chef of McEwen’s on Monroe says he likes this gadget because “it makes him happy.” He also says he would be completely lost without this item — it’s hands-down his favorite thing in the kitchen.
Spice Grinder, $15.96
This versatile grinder can be used for coffee, but as for Karen Carrier of The Beauty Shop, she likes to use it for spices. She says, “This tool is essential because we toast and grind chiles and spices for almost all of our dishes.” So for the cheap price point and the versatility, we’d say this gadget needs to be near the top of your kitchen gadget wish list.
Microplane Grater, $15
Want to add a little zing to your next dish? Jody Moyt, Head Chef of Downtown Dish Catering says his choice would be a Microplane grater. He says, “It’s a quick way to give so many dishes that extra level of flavor. Get some citrus zest, ginger, garlic, horseradish wasabi and so much more into your sauces, purees or even proteins to give it that extra pop!”
Immersion Blender, $33
Andrea LeTard, author of Andrea’s Cooktales, shares that this is one of her very favorite things to use in the kitchen. From soups to gravy, this little guy can do it all. If you’re running short on time and need something blended in seconds without the mess of a big blender, then this is the gadget for you!
So take some cues from the local experts and get the best kitchen tools without breaking the bank!
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