Equipment For A Professional Chef

If you are new to professional cooking, you’ve probably seen chefs come into restaurant kitchens with cases that have tools and equipment in them. Just what’s in those fancy cases and do you need them?

The answer to this question really depends on the restaurant where you are working and your job. If you attend culinary school, you will be given (well, be forced to purchase) a knife kit, which will include necessary tools for daily cooking. In this kit are various knives, including a Chef’s knife, serrated knife and boning knife. In addition, there will usually be a spatula, wooden spoons, and smaller tools such as a vegetable peeler, melon baller, and maybe some measuring spoons. Other than your chef’s knife, you probably won’t use all of these items every day.

Do you need to cart around one of these kits to a professional kitchen? Most kitchens will be equipped with everything you may need, but if it’s a large kitchen with a lot of people in and out, it’s nice to always have your own tools.

What Equipment The Restaurant Provides

In a commercial kitchen, you’ll find the obvious necessities, such as ranges, pots, pans and bowls and such. You’ll also probably find smaller utensils such as whisks, spatulas and serving utensils. You may find knives, but not always. Knives are the one item you will find yourself using almost daily, and you want to have something that is comfortable for you to use, and that you care for yourself. This is for safety reasons, but also because good knives are expensive and no high end chef would dare let someone else use his precious tools.

Restaurants will usually also provide apparel such as Chef jackets, aprons and hats, although they may require you to purchase them. Some will have aprons available for your use while working, others may require you to bring your own. You’ll likely have to purchase your own chef pants and shoes.  Each establishment is different however, so if you are unsure, simply ask what you’ll have to provide when hired.

What Equipment Should a Chef Own?

At the bare minimum, if you are serious about cooking in a professional environment, you should have decent knife set that includes a Chef’s knife that is comfortable for you to use, serrated and pairing knives, and any other smaller utensils you think you need. Buy the best tools you can afford, take care of them, and do not allow others to use them; not only does this prevent someone from walking off with them, but it keeps people from not taking proper care of your items. If you went to Culinary School and have a knife kit that was provided for you, this will work temporarily, but generally speaking, these aren’t of the highest quality and will need upgraded, at least the knives. These work while in school, but for true professionals, they’re generally not good enough.

If you are unsure about where to purchase these items, simply ask the Chef at your restaurant where to purchase professional kitchen tools. Stores that are frequented by home cooks often won’t have the high quality tools you’re looking for; there are businesses that provide equipment for professionals; these places will also help you with maintaining your tools by offering sharpening or repair services.

Bottom line: If you want to be a true professional, then it is time to invest in the tools and equipment you need to further your career. Not only will you have better results, but you will be taken more seriously if you have your own high quality tools that you take care of and maintain.

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