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6 Essential Tools Every Chef Should Own

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What Tools Do You Need As A Chef?

Working as a chef in a kitchen means you can expect to use many different tools and accessories. Different kitchen utensils serve different purposes, and having the correct tool for the job helps improve productivity, precise plating and overall efficiency in the kitchen.

Below are some of the essential tools that a chef should own and carry in their chef bag to take to their commercial kitchen. 

1. Chef's Knife 

A chef's knife is arguably the most essential piece of equipment a chef will own. A good chef’s knife will be made with high-quality steel, have a detachable handle, hold its blade and be evenly weighted. Japanese chef knives are regarded to hold these characteristics and are a popular choice among many chefs. A Gyuto, or a chefs knife, starting from 180mm in blade length is a popular choice for being a versatile knife that every chef uses for the majority of their mise en place work.

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2. Maryse (Spatula)

A Maryse, commonly known as a spatula, is a surprisingly versatile kitchen utensil that is often overlooked. Usually made from silicone, a good quality Maryse allows you to stir ingredients while sautéing, spread creams and sauces, and scrape the majority of contents to ensure there is no wastage. It's always a good idea to have two Maryse’s: one to use for dessert marking and another for cooking with savoury foods. 

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3. Offset Spatula

Unlike a Maryse, an offset stainless steel spatula is useful for lifting and plating fragile items such as dessert garnishes or larger items like cooked meats and vegetables. Offset spatulas come in different sizes, however, the most practical is approximately 20 cm in length from the handle to the tip. It's also a good idea to purchase a non-wooden handle, as this can wear quickly when washing. Instead, opts for a plastic or steel handle for extra durability. 

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4. Serving Spoon

A serving spoon or a plating spoon is different from a regular spoon as it's designed so it can retain more sauce, and in some cases, have tapered spouts for pouring precisely. 

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5. Serving Tweezers

When serving delicate garnishes, such as edible flowers or herbs and leaves, it's important you can place the items to complete the dish with precision and care. Using your fingers to handle such fragile ingredients, can often lead to spoilage due to the oils on the fingertips. 

You should look for tweezers that are made from stainless steel material and that are dishwasher safe. Tweezers tend to accumulate contents in between the teeth area, so it's essential to purchase tweezers that are dishwasher safe. Try to also avoid buying coloured tweezers, as the coating is susceptible to peeling through exposure to heat or steam. 

Alternatively, you could also use serving chopsticks which are thinner than normal chopsticks and are made from stainless steel material. ‘Moribashi’, or Japanese serving chopsticks, are a great option if you require extra length with serving foodstuffs. 

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6. Markers

Labelling and marking ingredients, sauces, and other food items in the kitchen is a part of a chef's everyday routine. Keeping stock of when ingredients or foods were delivered and made is essential to be organised in the kitchen. It's all too often there will be an item in the cooler or service fridge with no label which means you have to second guess whether the food is edible. So, it's a good idea to have a set of markers to label that will not wipe off or run out quickly. 

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Owning and using the right tools for the job will make you a better chef. For this reason, it's important to choose good quality tools that are durable and are suitable for the right job. 

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