Cooking is one of the most popular hobbies out there, and aspiring chefs can easily whip up their own masterpieces at home. Whether it is following some traditional recipe or trying out your own unique mix, you can explore and experiment tastes and serve your loved ones restaurant-quality food.
Beyond the ingredients, another huge factor in creating these delicious dishes is the cooking technique, which can only be achieved when you have the right equipment. Having the right cookware allows you to cook, sear, braise, and mix the perfect sauces. While normal kitchens only need a few pots and pans for daily meals, chefs use a larger variety to create their signature dishes. They also know the top-quality ones that can improve the taste, texture, and appearance of food.
Not many people know that there are a few kinds of cookware available out there, and some of the best ones can be quite pricey compared to others. For example, copper is a great material for daily use but it tends to be on the expensive side. Cast iron, on the other hand, is a popular choice and much more recommended than aluminum. When you cook acidic foods often, then this is not the best choice. Also, chefs recommend against using cookware that may be dangerous, like Teflon.
What Kinds Of Cookware Do Chefs Use?
Most of the equipment in chef’s cupboards are not that different from what households have at home, although they have a few pieces that serve specific purposes. If you want to experiment with different dishes at home, then you might want to invest in the right cookware.
A frying pan has a flat bottom and rounded edges. They can be made out of various materials like stainless steel, cast iron, copper, carbon steel, aluminum, tempered glass, and some others. Newer ones are lighter and of high quality, like titanium, carbon steel, and stainless steel-lined copper. This kind of cookware is what chefs use to sear, fry, and pan roast meat.
For most chefs, a frying pan and a skillet may be the same but some professionals differentiate the two, with skillets being bigger and thicker. However, both kinds can be used for the same purpose. Top chefs have been using cast iron for many years, but copper is another favorite. Carbon steel is a newer, lighter alternative to carbon steel.
As mentioned above, some people do not distinguish between a skillet and a frying pan, although this kind is more suitable for cooking a larger amount or volume of food. They are also thicker and heavier.
Chefs will tell you that a well-seasoned cast iron skillet should be a part of every kitchen but because of its weight and the complexity of seasoning and maintaining it, budding chefs might not find it as easy to use. Still, no other skillets can go from the stove straight to the oven and handle higher temperatures.
Modern chefs reach for carbon steel skillets instead, which are also seasoned but are much lighter compared to cast iron. In the end, it is down to personal preferences but at least one of these should be in your kitchen.
The name says it all; this kind of pan is for sautéing or moving the food around during the process of frying. When sautéing, there is no need for a lot of oil. Compared to the frying pan, this pan is deeper and is the right one to use when cooking tender pieces of meat and veggies.
Top chefs will recommend sauté pans made of copper because it heats the food quickly and holds the right temperature. Moreover, there are no hot spots in the pan, so it is the best one to use when cooking delicate dishes.
This kind of cookware is much more versatile so that it can be used to cook pasta, soup, sauce, vegetables, and even boil eggs. It is also the right choice for reheating leftover food. Because of its versatility, it is a staple in professional kitchens, as well as homes. It is distinguishable due to the tall sides and rounded bottom. They also come mostly with a lid so that the liquid does not evaporate while cooking.
Professionals will recommend one that is made of pure ceramic, copper, or cookware coated with ceramic. If you do not want to spend a lot and if you do not cook a lot of delicate dishes, then stainless steel is a good choice. Copper, on the other hand, is the best choice for soup and sauces because it cooks evenly. On the other hand, ceramic and ceramic coated offers a nonstick surface as well, perfect for reheating.
Brazier pans are always present in commercial kitchens, and aspiring home chefs should definitely invest in one. These pans have a flat bottom and a lid that can lock in moisture. They are usually used to cook food slowly in an oven or to brown food slowly on the stovetop. Most versions are made of either stainless steel or aluminum and can be found in different sizes.
For both personal and professional use, stainless steel braziers are perfect. They are durable, sturdy, and most of all, easy to clean. They also have a decent heft and have adequate capacity for most dishes.
With their large, non-stick surfaces, griddle pans are the top pick for restaurant kitchens. They are normally square in shape and have a handle. The two most common types are cast iron and Teflon, and they are great for cooking pancakes, eggs, hot dogs, or even grilling chicken breast and hamburgers. They can cook these in larger volumes.
Chefs will never recommend Teflon because this nonstick surface can be dangerous when cooking with high temperatures. Although they are great at preventing food from getting stuck to the surface and are easy to clean, they might start to emit some harmful fumes when it reaches 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It might also start to break down and leave flakes in the food. Thus, cast iron is the safer choice for all amateur and professional chefs. They might be more difficult to clean and you will need to work on seasoning it, but it will be the perfect one for frying eggs and cooking pancakes.
This Asian cookware has made its way slowly to Western kitchens, especially perfect for those who want to cook Asian dishes. This kind of pan has no edges and have a round bottom and smooth slope. They are normally for stir-frying vegetables and cooking noodles, so it is not as utilized as other kinds of cookware.
Woks made of carbon steel are the most common, thanks to the nonstick surface. Because it is light and easy to clean, it can be used for creating other dishes as well. However, because its bottom is smaller compared to a frying pan, it cannot replace this kind of cookware for frying eggs, for example.
Other Chef Recommendations and Secrets
Professional chefs have to cook fast and prepare a lot of dishes daily, which is why their cookware has to be light, versatile, and easy to clean. Because they are in use a lot more than cookware at home, high quality is also important for them. It is, thus, possible that chefs will recommend cast iron pans for every amateur home chef (and they will surely have one in their own homes as well), but will not use them at work. The heavy weight itself is reason enough for them to opt for carbon steel instead.
One of the secrets of chefs is the chef’s pan, which is not that different from a frying pan, except it has sloped sides and are deeper. They are practical because the chef can add or mix ingredients while cooking.
Chefs will also not use nonstick cookware that is quite popular with many households. These kinds are great for non-professional cooks who want to easily prepare dishes for their family without much clean-up required afterward. However, these are also very sensitive and chefs cooking in a rush can easily scratch them. Once the surface is damaged, it may be dangerous for your health. So never use metal utensils on them or if you are serious about developing your cooking skills, opt for something else.
The Best Materials And Cookware For Every Kitchen
As discussed above, professional chefs turn to the durable and safest materials for their kitchen. They are of high quality and deliver the right heat to cook your dishes perfectly. Even if you do not want to pursue cooking as a profession, investing in these kinds will help you prepare the yummiest dishes for you and your family.
This means buying cookware made of cast iron, copper, or carbon steel. While this might represent a bit of an investment, remember that these will also last you much longer than a Teflon pan or one with a nonstick surface.