Trotter's Top Ten

Chicago chef Charlie Trotter is a famous perfectionist. Here, the 10 kitchen essentials that help him meet his own impossible standards.
FoodandWine Recipe

Charlie Trotter finds the Wüstoff-Trident Fish Turner, with its turned-up edge and flexibility, great for handling delicate slices of vegetables and meat. "And the slots drain off excess liquid" ($40; 800-289-9878). Thermohauser's offset pastry spatula does more than smooth icing. Trotter says the handle's angle also makes the tool perfect for spreading fillings on delicate items like crêpes ($15; 888-285-9547). Many chefs love OXO's Good Grips Peeler, and Trotter is no exception: "Its large handle is good for a man's hand" ($6; 800-545-4411).

Trotter has been experimenting with raw foods (meaning he uses no heat above 118 degrees). He says his Vita-Mix Blender is "a real workhorse" for the purees, oils and sauces he makes for these uncooked dishes. Its blades spin at 240 miles an hour, so "when I toss in basil and spinach, then drizzle in oil, it pounds the flavor into the oil" ($450; 800-848-2649). He uses the Champion Juicer not only for juicing but as a fish grinder for delicate seafood sausages ($270; 209-369-2154).

When Trotter runs out of room on the stove, he plugs in a Sunpentown Induction Cooktop. It heats pans very quickly using electromagnetic energy, yet "the surface doesn't get hot, so it won't burn you." Plus, it's portable—great for keeping things warm at a buffet table ($280; 888-285-9547).

Trotter likes Mac Knife's Blades so much he endorsed them. They're stamped, not forged like most other high-end knives, so they're thin, lightweight and precise (from $18; 888-622-5643).

A fan of fresh wasabi, Trotter uses Steel Wasabi Graters to scatter bits onto a dish, like ground pepper. Sharkskin Graters produce a paste that's perfect for sushi ($8 for steel, $30 for sharkskin; 415-922-8331).

Trotter relies on an orderly kitchen. His mantra is "Clean as you go"; glass-doored cabinets, made by Rutt HandCrafted Cabinetry (800-220-7888) for his home and ADE Restaurant Services (630-628-0811) for the restaurant, force him to be organized.

PUBLISHED July 2001

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