Have you ever wondered what kitchen tools appear on the must-have list of a top chef? In episode five of the HBTV series Cooks Co-op, Martin Boetz quizzes well-known Aussie chef Christine Manfield about the top three tools-of-the-trade that she simply can't live without in the kitchen. Here they are! Psst... These ideas make the perfect gift to yourself or perhaps as a little something for the foodie in your life.
1. A mandoline
If you're not familiar with a mandoline, these fabulously useful hand-operated kitchen tools enable you to efficiently and consistently slice fruit and vegetables, from thin through to thick, using a variety of adjustable blades. Ranking in her top three must-have kitchen tools on the Cooks Co-op web series, Christine explains that she uses a mandoline for "nice fine slicing. Then I can do [cut] the julienne from that". You'll find a mandoline in most good kitchen stores, such as Williams Sonoma.
2. A good quality chef's knife
Christine says a chef's knife is "essential for any cook", and there's no doubt that upgrading to a fabulous chef's knife will have a significant impact on your performance in the kitchen. But there are loads of knives on the market, with a wide range of price points. So, first and foremost, keep your budget in mind when you hit the shops. Then consider the quality of the steel or blade material, the handle construction, overall weight, size and the balance of the knife when you're holding it in your hand.
3. A Microplane
Christine is widely known and applauded for her distinctive and definitive flavour combinations, particularly influenced by her travels around the globe. One kitchen tool she packs in her suitcase when globetrotting, but equally can't live without at home, is a Microplane grater. "A Microplane can mince garlic, galangal, ginger and any sort of citrus zest. It's indispensable" explains Christine.