‘I’m a Chef, and These Are the 4 Pieces of Cookware Every Kitchen Needs’

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What if, this January, you ignored all the voices telling you what you “should be” and instead focused on finding the healthful habits that feel right for *you*? With ReNew Year, the only thing we’re detoxing from is a restrictive mindset. Pick a goal—movement, food, self care, or all three—and hit refresh. Get the Program

Sure, you shared your holiday wishlist with your loved ones to spare them the pressure of trying to buy you something you’ll actually like, but let's be honest: There’s always an item or two that slips through the cracks anyway. Fortunately for us, several retailers are still offering great deals on some of the items we wanted most last month—which means now is a great time to finally fill your kitchen with the last few items you were eyeing to start your new year cooking routine off right.

Indeed, if you're following along with Well+Good's 2023 ReNew Year program, you already know that according to Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, owner of Brooklyn-based Maya Feller Nutrition and author of Eating from Our Roots (which comes out January 24), one way to encourage yourself to make more home-cooked meals in the new year is by getting your kitchen ready with the appropriate tools you need to cook up a storm.

Experts In This Article

To that end, we spoke with David Lee, the co-founder and executive chef of PLANTA, an innovative plant-based restaurant located in Toronto, South Florida, New York City, and Bethesda, to learn which chef-approved cookware pieces are a must in his kitchen for making restaurant-worthy meals at home.

3 essential chef-approved cookware pieces every kitchen needs

chef-approved cookware all-clad saucepan
Photo: Amazon
D3 Stainless Steel All-Clad 3-Quart Saucepan — $120.00

Right off the bat, Lee says a high-quality saucepan is a must in any kitchen. His go-to is the D3 Stainless Steel All-Clad 3-Quart Saucepan.

“This saucepan is perfect for making vegetable hotpots and miso soups with ramen noodles in them,” Lee says. All-Clad’s D3 saucepan has a classic tri-ply construction, made with a responsive aluminum core bonded together with two layers of durable stainless steel all the way around for maximum durability and fast, even heat distribution. It’s also ideal for cooking with liquids because of its high, straight sides that assist with stirring a smaller surface area to hold heat well and limit evaporation as much as possible.

All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set

chef-approved cookware all-clad set
Photo: Amazon
All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set — $700.00

Since chef Lee highly recommends the D3 Stainless Steel All-Clad 3-Quart Saucepan, we couldn’t help but scope out the All-Clad D3 Stainless Cookware Set, which includes his beloved saucepan plus nine other high-quality stainless steel cookware pots and pans. Swoon.

This stacked set features eight- and 10-inch fry pans, two- and three-quart saucepans with lids, a three-quart saute pan with a lid, and an eight-quart stockpot with a lid. And all of these items are made with ultra-durable stainless steel that’s compatible with all cooktops, including induction, plus they’re oven and broiler-safe up to 600°F. They’ll definitely be turning out delicious dishes for years to come.

chef-approved cookware lodge cast-iron skillet
Photo: Amazon
Lodge 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet — $20.00

If you take a look in your parent’s kitchen cabinets, you’ll likely come across a decades-old cast iron skillet that has been cooking for longer than you have. That’s because this ultra-durable staple cookware piece can do it all: sear, sauté, bake, broil, braise, fry, and grill. The benefit of cooking with cast iron is that it can get super hot and has unparalleled heat retention, plus cast iron can easily go from stovetop to oven.

Chef Lee says a Lodge 10-Inch Cast Iron Skillet is the perfect addition to any cookware collection. It’s not too big (though it also comes in larger sizes, like 15-inches), not too small, and it’s ideal for cooking for a party of one, two, or more. Plus, the pan comes pre-seasoned, meaning it’s been treated with a thin layer of vegetable oil to ensure the cast iron surface is as non-stick as possible.

The best part? This pan is highly affordable (under 20 bucks) and it’s a piece that will likely stick around forever—meaning you’ll definitely get your money’s worth from this handy cookware essential.

chef-approved cookware pizza stone
Photo: Amazon
Hans Grill Pizza Stone — $38.00

A slightly curveball cookware item chef Lee swears by is a pizza stone, which he says is one of the best ways to achieve pizzeria-worthy crusts at home. “You don’t realize how much you need a pizza stone until you use one,” Lee says. One of our favorites is the Hans Grill Pizza Stone, which is 15- by 12-inches and perfect for crisping up pies, pastries, bread, or even calzones (and, of course, pizzas). It has nearly 12,000 reviews and four and a half stars on Amazon.

So, why are pizza stones so useful? Well, they’re one of the best ways to avoid ever cooking soggy crust again. They both absorb moisture from the dough during the cooking process and help evenly crisp up the bread in the oven. As a result, you’ll have a pizza with a super crunchy crust and a layer of perfectly ooey-gooey melted cheese on top. Sold.

An RD explains how to eat pasta every day, and we're all ears:

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