Healthy Cooking

‘I’m a Professional Chef, and These Are the 5 Essential Kitchen Items Worth Splurging On’

Allie Flinn

Photo: Getty Images / Moyo Studio
At Well+Good, we're all about easy, healthy, affordable cooking. While we love a fancy spice blend or Manuka honey as much as the next person, we don't think those things are essential to eating well. Same goes with kitchen equipment—for the most part, you don't need the most expensive convection oven, cast-iron skillet, or any other gimmicky kitchen gadget in order to be a passable at-home cook. With basics like a frying pan, a saucepot, a knife, and a spatula, you can easily make a lot of different dishes without having to spend too much upfront.

That said, if you love cooking and do it often, it does make sense to splurge on certain kitchen items—especially ones that serve multiple functions. I asked Mimi Williams, executive chef and owner of Counterpart Vegan in Los Angeles and consultant at Bardonna in Santa Monica, to share five essential kitchen items worth the cost.

Keep reading for the top kitchen items worth the cost, according to a chef

KitchenAid immersion blender

1. Immersion Blender: KitchenAid Pro Line Hand Blender, $269

"The immersion blender is my go-to for making soups," Williams says. "Essentially, it allows me to clean out the fridge by turning an array of vegetables into a delicious, nutritious soup. There are plenty of options on the market and Vitamix, Cuisinart, and KitchenAid are all great!" This cordless immersion blender from KitchenAid has five different attachments, including ones to make soup and smoothies. But TBH the most underrated feature is the crushed ice attachment because let's be real: Crushed ice is the best texture of ice.

Shop now: KitchenAid Pro Line Hand Blender, $269

vitamix e310 blender

2. Blender: Vitamix E310, $400

"I make all of my vegan cheese from scratch and a great blender is perfect for breaking down nuts and tofu into a creamy cheese that you couldn't tell is 100 percent plant-based," Williams says. "Plus, I can use the blender for smoothies, sauces, and more. It's so versatile!" And while it's certainly a splurge, you can't go wrong with a Vitamix. It's an incredibly powerful blender (even its most affordable model) that makes it perfect for making smoothies, soups, sorbets, salsas, and more. (Plus, it has a five-year warranty to protect your investment in case anything does happen with it.)

Shop now: Vitamix E310, $400

 

Great Jones sheet pan

3. Sheet pan: Great Jones Holy Sheet, $35

A sheet pan is most of the most essential kitchen tools for roasting and baking. "I actually use a baking pan for dehydrating vegetables and fruits. There's nothing I love more than kale chips," Williams says. If it's something you use multiple times a week (you know, for all of those one-pan recipes and GF cookies), it's absolutely worth a splurge to ensure you're getting something that will withstand wear and tear without warping. "I really love Great Jones' baking pan, which is a beautiful bright blue, easy to clean, and is multi-purpose," Williams says.

Shop now: Great Jones Holy Sheet, $35

4. Set of pots and pans: Cuisinart Pro Stainless Steel 12-Piece Cookware Set, $299

Another kitchen item worth the cost? A quality set of pots and pans for all of your stovetop cooking needs. "I can't recommend enough investing in a good set of pans that offer you a variety of options for sautéing, braising, and making stews and stocks. Cuisinart has lasted throughout the years," Williams says. "A set is worth the splurge as you can whip up multiple dishes at the same time and it will last a lifetime." Like Williams says, you can whip up a bunch of different things at once... and if you are a person who waits until the last possible second to do the dishes, more pans = the longer you can go without scrubbing anything in your sink.

Shop now: Cuisinart Pro Stainless Steel Cookware Set, $299

Regency cheesecloth

5. Cheesecloth: Regency Wraps Cheesecloth, $9

This isn't a splurge in the "spend $500 on a blender" sense, but it is a splurge in that it may be an item you consider an unnecessary expense. "People often overlook the value of cheesecloth... I use my cheesecloth for making nut-based milks and cheeses. It is so helpful in straining out the milk," Williams says. (Also it's handy to have in case you run out of coffee filters.) This cheesecloth has a 4.6 star rating on Amazon and nearly 17k reviews. While it doesn't say that it's reusable, many reviewers report that it can last you a while if you hand wash it after each use.

Shop now: Regency Wraps Cheesecloth, $9

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