I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. In fact, it’s one of my ‘happy places’. Preparing delicious and healthy meals for my family and friends is one of my love languages. (Check my Instagram account if you don’t believe me.) It should also be noted that I am a fan of efficiency … in all areas of life, but especially in the kitchen. So, it should come as no surprise that I have developed a line up of tools that make my time in the kitchen the most joyful and efficient it can be. Now, it is true that none of these tools are absolutely necessary. You can prepare food without them, and I have, on many occasions. But they are on this list because they make kitchen work infinitely more enjoyable for me.
Being the magnanimous creature I am, I am sharing this list of ingenious inventions with you. And I even reveal a little about what landed these gems on my list, and how they might benefit you, as well. (You’re welcome!)
Quick note: This is a fairly minimalist list of tools. In fact, I carry three of the five tools with me everywhere I go - even when I travel internationally with just my 19-liter backpack in tow.
Melanie’s Top 5 Kitchen Tools
1. Chef’s Knife -
This is a basic necessity in any kitchen. Well, if you want to get technical, even this isn’t wholly necessary, but, for all intents and purposes, I’m going to say that it is a necessity for any modern kitchen. A good quality chef’s knife can be your best friend. It’s great for cutting up fruits and vegetables, and the sharper it is, the finer you can slice with it. The only reason I don’t travel with my knife is because the TSA won’t let me pack it in my carry-on and I don’t have any bags to check where I could stow it. So, I usually just end up finding a decent knife once I get where I’m going, or renting a place that comes equipped.
2. Vitamix High-Speed Blender
Ah, the Vitamix. The feather in many a chef’s cap … or in mine, at least. I used to balk at how expensive these blenders are, but once I finally caved in and bought one, I could no longer imagine my life without it. Of course, you can survive … and even thrive … without a Vitamix blender, but having one of these beauties really opens up the realm of possibilities in any chef’s repertoire. And that is doubly true for the raw vegan chef. Smoothies, sauces, dressings, soups, and the list goes on and on … all are made possible - and quick and easy - with the amazing Vitamix blender.
3. Flexible Cutting Board Sheet
Really any cutting board will do you. But I like the flexible sheets simply for their minimalist packability. (Otherwise, I’d be using a wooden or bamboo board.) These light, go-anywhere cutting boards will save your knife and your counters. Plus, they can provide a surface for eating or even writing or working puzzles, in a pinch. They are super versatile.
4. Silicone Spatula
I carry a small silicone spatula with me everywhere I go. It’s great for stirring and mixing and getting dishes clean if I can’t wash them right away. It can double as an eating utensil if needed. And it’s good for both raw and cooked food prep.
5. Titan Peeler Pair
Shout out to Tanny Raw who recommended this awesome tool duo. They are sturdy enough to take a beating during travel, but small and light enough to be easily packed. I use both the standard peeler and the julienne peeler regularly, so I always have them both with me. I’ve seen lots of other peelers out there, but the Titan seems to be higher quality than most of them, and I feel like they’ll last longer than some of the cheaper plastic ones. I prefer to not use plastic in general, and this is an awesome alternative.
So that’s my super awesome list of top kitchen tools. And! Because I care so much about you, I’m going to throw in a SECOND list for you! This is my list of “if-you-have-the-extra-money-and-counter-space” items. Some of the tools here will not apply to those with a 100% raw diet, but many of them are useful for both raw and cooked meal-making. These items are more what I would consider the luxury items. Indulge away …
Melanie’s Favorite Luxury Kitchen Tools
1. Food Processor
These appliances just make cutting, chopping, and mixing so easy and fast. Luxury is often about convenience, n’est-ce pas?
I am a big fan of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, so I definitely enjoy those times when I have access to a good juicer. There are many styles to choose from, and there are pros and cons for each of them. I am a fan of any good quality juicer that can handle ripe fruits and tender leafy greens; rougher, stalkier vegetables like celery and kale; and has an attachment for citrus fruits.
3. Multi-Tray Dehydrator
The Excalibur is the Gold Standard when it comes to dehydrators, but there are many different brands and styles out there. Dehydrators are especially helpful for raw food chefs as they help to expand the menu to include raw versions of bread, crackers, cookies, chips/crisps, pizza crust, and other goodies. They’re also great for hikers who like to make their own backcountry foods and snacks for multi-day excursions.
4. French Skillet*
A basic tool for chefs who prepare cooked foods. I use an All Clad French Skillet when I’m making cooked foods, and I find it suits my needs beautifully. But you can use whatever brand you like. The French skillet is very similar to a saute pan or a fry pan. It kind of marries the two into a very versatile kitchen tool. (A cast iron skillet is a good alternative.)
5. Sauce Pot*
The sauce pot is another very basic tool for cooking food. Base your size on how many people you are likely to be feeding on a regular basis. There are many styles and brands to choose from, for sure. I recommend investing in a quality brand with good heat distribution, a comfortable handle, and a warranty. All-Clad and Le Creuset are personal favorites.
6. Mandoline Slicer
A mandoline slicer is nice if you are preparing dishes with finely or evenly sliced fruits and vegetables. It ensures consistently sized cuts, and protects your digits while doing so. Is it necessary? No. Is it handy? Absolutely.
7. Dutch Oven*
I must admit that I absolutely love a Dutch oven in the kitchen. It is great for soups, stews, curries, roasted vegetables, bread baking, and many other culinary delights. It can even double as a punch bowl, storage container, or centerpiece in a pinch. My favorite is the Le Creuset. There are several sizes, shapes, and colors available to suit every chef’s tastes. (Pun intended.)
So there you have it. My Top 5 Kitchen Tools and My Favorite Luxury Kitchen Tools. I hope these are useful and inspiring for you.
Have a Blissful Day!
*I strongly encourage you to avoid non-stick pans if at all possible. They have been coated with toxic synthetic materials to provide the non-stick surface. These materials then end up leeching into your foods during cooking, adding to the toxic load in your body.