Are your kitchen drawers full to bursting point?

26 March, 2021

What are the essential utensils you need in your kitchen?

Despite our best intentions, the kitchen seems to be the place that pointless gadgets and unused items like to gather. So, if your kitchen drawers and cupboards are bursting at the seams, perhaps it’s time to take a leaf out of Marie Kondo’s book and declutter.

But what’s worth making space for? Let’s take a look at the kitchen gadgets and utensils that some of our favourite chefs and foodie personalities can’t do without.

Matt Preston’s must-have utensils

For food writer and former MasterChef host Matt Preston, it’s back to basics when it comes to kitchen utensils.  

A good wooden spoon that he replaces every year (old wooden spoons are “stinky” and “icky” according to Matt), flexible silicone spatula, long tongs, a metal fish slice, ladle and a slotted spoon form the basis of his essential kitchen kit. 

Obviously, you’ll need knives, but Matt says a good small knife for paring and dicing and a large chef’s knife is all you need unless you’re going to be “boning or filleting”. It goes without saying that they need to be sharp, so add a decent knife sharpener or whetstone to your list.

Jamie Oliver’s go-to utensils

While Jamie Oliver had quite a lengthy list of “essential” kit needed for his best-selling book Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, he has also served up a pared-back list.

He recommends a large and small saucepan plus a frying pan for “pancakes, fried eggs, browning meat and stir-fries”. Like Matt, a small paring knife and a larger chef’s knife make the grade as do a utility knife and a bread knife. On the spoon front, one wooden and one large metal spoon should see you through “most mixing and serving scenarios”.

And, as well as a couple of different-sized baking trays, mixing bowls and chopping boards, Jamie says no kitchen should be without:

  • A cheese grater
  • A sieve
  • A hand whisk
  • A vegetable peeler
  • A can opener

Nigella Lawson’s essential utensils

She’s based her career on being a little bit posh, so it’s perhaps no surprise that food writer and TV host Nigella Lawson’s necessary kitchen items are slightly top drawer.

Topping her list is a premium chef’s knife, namely an Australian-designed Furi East/West Santoku knife because it’s “light and easy to wield but still beautiful to look at”.

Other must-haves include a fine Microplane zester for grating garlic and a mezzaluna – a curved blade with handles on either end – which Nigella uses for chopping herbs (and chocolate, although hopefully not at the same time!)

Last but not least, Nigella’s all-time favourite cooking pot is a classic Le Creuset cast iron round casserole in the original Volcanique orange. 

The kitchen utensils you don’t need

With kitchen real-estate at a premium, here are the utensils you really can do without.

  • Any kind of “dedicated” slicer
  • A box grater
  • A garlic press
  • A mortar and pestle 
  • An electric can opener

Where to buy kitchen utensils in Chatswood

Check out department stores, Williams Sonoma, Japan Home Centre and Woolies (there’s a Woolworths Metro at Chatswood Interchange).