My 10 Favourite Kitchen Tools

Hi all: It’s been an age since my last blog post, but I have been absolutely flat out on my book, work experience and about a billion other things. I do have some more substantial posts in the works, but I thought I’d just put this up quickly so that you all don’t think I’m dead. – Adam

My 10 Favourite Kitchen Tools: listed below clockwise from top right.

These days most of us just point our furniture at the TV and eat our meals off coffee tables, but it wasn’t so long ago that the kitchen was the heart of every household. I’ve always been a big believer in that, and having a personal connection with your kitchen is all important. Here at 10 things that make me love working in my kitchen. What are your favourite kitchen tools?

1. Kitchenaid Artisan Mixer

This is the most usable mixer I’ve ever owned. It’s tactile, simple and intuitive – the way all appliances should be. Fun fact: Marion uses hers to whip mashed potato, which is something I am definitely going to try.

2. 18cm Japanese Copper Pots

I don’t know the brand of these but the size, weight and feel of them is just about perfect. I bought a whole bunch of these when I moved back to Australia from Japan. Aside from being great to cook with, they also look ‘the business’.

3. Timers and Scales

I don’t tend to use many measurements when I cook (except desserts) but regardless, timers and scales are among the most used tools I have. Scales are great for portioning and timers take my sieve-like memory out of the equation.

4. Sugimoto Vegetable Cleaver

My grandma took a chunk out of this trying to chop up a frozen chicken once but my knifesmith managed to cut it down save the blade. After that it was about 2 cm thinner, and that actually made it even more usable.

5. Short-handled Wooden Spoon

This spoon used to belong to my ex-flatmate’s Italian grandmother who used to make the most amazing tomato sauces. The short handle is great for control, but I like to romanticise the fact that it’s probably been used to stir 1000 pasta sauces.

6. Stanley Fatmax Cutter

I use this more than any knife in my kitchen. Rather than opening a bag of spices with a $400 wa-bocho, having a purpose-made opening cutter in the kitchen is a much safer and easier option. I use it for opening boxes and bags, cutting the tops off bottles and basically for cutting anything that isn’t food. The extra fat handle fits really well in the hand.

7. ‘Pig Sticker’

I don’t know exactly what this is called but basically it’s for poking hundreds of holes in pork belly and suckling pig to give a perfect crackling. It’s great for shoulder roasts as well.

8. Le Creuset 20cm French Oven

This is a small casserole that is the perfect size for 2-4 people. I use this so often in winter that I just keep it on the stovetop and don’t even bother putting it away. There is something magical about a casserole simmering away in a cast iron pot on a cold and blustery winter day.

9. Chinese Ceramic Utensil Jug

I bought this pretty jug in Shanghai a few years ago and was intending to use it for summer cocktails, but then I thought it would be such a shame to hide it away in a cupboard for 364 days of the year. Now this sits next to my cooktop and holds all the utensils that I use regularly.

10. Basic 5L Stockpot

This is a very small stockpot that is perfect for weekly batches of stock for a small family. I usually buy and joint about a chicken a week and this fits the bones and carcasses perfectly. I make about 3L of light chicken stock every week in this, which is a perfect small volume of stock for regular home use.

Note: I paid for (almost) all of these products and I am not sponsored by any of the brands mentioned.

What I’ve Learned from the Chefs I’ve Met

Donna Hay: Beautiful food tastes better.

Matt Moran: If he walks into a kitchen I am cooking in, I am probably going to win something.

Matt Moran: Luckier than a hatful of pixies.

Neil Perry: The business of food can be challenging and confusing, but at the end of the day it’s still all about food.

Luke Nguyen: Generosity is a wonderful trait with respect to both food and knowledge.

Luke Mangan: No-one is going to just give you an international restaurant empire, but you can probably build one yourself.

Peter Gilmore: The techniques of cooking are in themselves relatively simple, but applying them in combination to create a dish of brilliance is nearly impossible.

Philippa Sibley: Desserts aren’t as terrifying as I thought they were.

Nathan Darling: ‘Nice guy’ and ‘Chef’ are not mutually exclusive terms.

Shaun Presland: Your food is defined by your passion, not your ethnicity.

Justin North: If you french and crown a rack of rabbit, it looks absolutely sensational.

Michel Roux: Even after 60 years of cooking, a multiple Michelin-starred chef can still get excited by a really beautiful capsicum. A passion for food never leaves you.

“These two Michelin stars say that I could call a Meatball Sub ‘classic French’ if I wanted to.”

Guillaume Brahimi: Smoked duck and stir-fried bok choi is, surprisingly, not a classic French dish.

Tetsuya Wakuda: A person’s food is the story of their life.

Kumar Mahadevan: If you temporarily abandon your wife on vacation in England to fly to Australia for 1 day to appear on Masterchef, you’d better have been a pretty good husband up to that point.

The Restaurant Arras Crew (Adam Humphrey, Lovaine Allen and Aaron Eady): Running a good restaurant is all about attention to detail. And sometimes that means getting up at 5am every day to bake your own bread.

Curtis Stone: I am much shorter than many people in this world, and have less impressive hair.

Jamie Oliver: Jamie Oliver is like a shark: if he stops moving, he dies.

Callum, back away and make no sudden movements.

Ty Bellingham: Well-balanced Thai food is a joy to behold. Witty puns about a guy named Ty that makes Thai food don’t get old for at least 40 to 50 seconds.

Peter Kuruvita: Getting up at 5am every morning of your life to go to the Sydney Fish Markets is not a chore if you love what you do.

Frank Camorra: Winning and losing are the smallest parts of any competition.

Glenn Thompson: Walking through a vineyard is pretty at the worst of times, but when you are walking through with an expert in oenology and viticulture it can be astounding.

Rick Stein: If you consider the flavour of a pot of langoustines simply boiled in sea water, there is a strong case for awarding oceans of the world a Michelin star all to themselves.

Maggie Beer: If Mary Poppins were a cook instead of a nanny, she would be Maggie Beer.

Mark Jensen: The food of all cultures owes a great debt to the history of the world.

Fergus Henderson: Being totally bonkers is fine, as long as you’re brilliant; and Fernet Branca is possibly not an appropriate drink for 10am, unless you’re sharing it with Michelin-starred chefs and internationally acclaimed food critics.

Ian Curley: If you don’t look like you’re enjoying yourself in the kitchen, you probably aren’t doing yourself justice.

Kylie Kwong: The food you grow up with is the food you will love forever.

Tony Bilson: Food is a beautiful confluence of technique and personality. Also, a not-insignificant resemblance to Albert Einstein can go a long way to supporting an air of genius.

NOT Albert Einstein. (Possibly Dr Emmett Brown.)

Ryan Squires: When plating food, if your brain is telling you that something needs to go in a particular place, do exactly the opposite and it will look natural and organic.

David Chang: Brilliance is never effortless, and being an overnight success takes years of work (and after you’ve ‘made it’ it only gets harder). Also, it’s OK to sign autographs by copying out Pavement lyrics.

Darren Purchese: Patissiers are geniuses. If we don’t keep an eye on them, they are likely to take over the world.

Julie Goodwin: You don’t have to hate your old life to want a newer, shinier one.

Josh Emett: Restraint in cooking is a difficult thing to quantify, but when done well even the most complex dishes look effortless.

Warren Turnbull: Every ingredient in a dish should taste like what it is, and should be there for a reason.

Cherish Finden: Very small people have lasers that shoot from their eyes that can destroy buildings. And if you are strong, fair and kind, everyone will love and respect you for it.

Heston Blumenthal: Grace is just as important as genius.

“I made a ’67 Mustang convertible into a ham sandwich. Then I made it invisible.”

Franck Poupard: I don’t season my food enough. And I really should know better by now.

Mitchell Orr: I am much older than I thought I was.

Jan ter Heerdt: A third-generation Belgian chocolatier looks exactly how you think he would.

In Belgium there is a law that states that if you look like this, you must become a kindly chocolatier.

Margaret Fulton: As you age, a love of food keeps you young. And even though Masterchef is only a TV show, what we do on that stage is fundamentally important for the future of Australian food. She made me cry.

Adriano Zumbo: Evil exists in this world, and its name is Zumbo.

Adam Melonas: It’s important to dream big.

Christine Manfield: If Christine Manfield traveled through time in a fusion-powered DeLorean, she would apply for Masterchef under the name Courtney Roulston.

Alla Wolf-Tasker: The appeal of an audacious pair of spectacles should not be underestimated.

Mark Best: Synergies in food sometimes appear where you least expect them.

Jacques Reymond: Claire is a very beautiful woman.

Hiroyuki Sakai: My Japanese is not as fluent as I thought it was.

Shannon Bennett: A stoic calmness can be achieved through a thoughtful approach to food and life.

And last, but certainly not least:

Gary Mehigan: The best lessons in life and cooking are taught and learnt in equal measure.

George Calombaris: Food has a heart and a soul. That fact is unforgettable and irrepressible.

Matt Preston: Matt Preston is a giant food encyclopaedia robot… in colourful pants.

Brutal taskmasters.

Vegetable Gardens of Central Japan

Hiking in the countryside last weekend I honestly can’t help but be jealous of people who can grow their own vegetables and live next to water.  It makes my apartment feel like an empty shell.

Join me in envy.

Nice garden with boats to one side. I want.

Not a bad view to garden by. I could happily while away weekends here.

I don’t know what’s being grown here, but because it’s next to a ski field in winter, all the fencing posts are old ski poles

This reminds of a game of Frogger for some reason.

Rice. Made from Sun.

She’s 70 years old and she’s up gardening at 7:00am. Kudos.

My absolute favourite. The guy who owns this garden is fishing in the top left corner.