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What Chefs Know Best: Kitchen Tips & More

For this annual poll, F&W quizzed top chefs and sous chefs on their top kitchen tips, from the best way to stay energized, season a dish, mop a kitchen floor and more.



Kitchen Tips: Super Tools

Chef Kitchen Tips: KitchenAid Stand mixer

Stand Mixer

Megan Walhood of Viking Soul Food in Portland, Oregon, uses her multi-tasking KitchenAid mixer for making pasta and grinding meat (from $10 for attachments; kitchenaid.com).

Chef Kitchen Tips: Plancha custom griddle
© Kevin Kelliher

Super Stove

The "Plancha" custom griddle reaches 800 degrees; Jimmy Bannos, Jr. of Chicago's The Purple Pig cooks "anything and everything" on it (pricing varies; woodstone.net).

Chef Kitchen Tips: Sausage Maker
Courtesy of JB Prince

Sausage Maker

At Miami's Sugar Cane Raw Bar Grill, Timon Balloo uses a stuffer similar to this JB Prince one to make dense, tightly packed sausages ($314; jbprince.com).

Kitchen Tips: Cleaning Up

The best professional cooks tend to obsess about kitchen cleanliness. Here's how they keep dishes, pots, boards and aprons spotless.

Kitchen Cleaning Tips: rub dishes with lemons
© Antonis Achilleos/Burcu Avsar

Michel Nischan of Westport, CT's the Dressing Room rubs dishes with lemons at home.


Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Chore Boy scrubs for stainless steel
© Antonis Achilleos

Chore Boy scrubs keep stainless steel shiny, says sous chef Howard Kalachnikoff of New York City's Gramercy Tavern.


Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Bar Keepers Friend  for scouring copper pots.
© Antonis Achilleos

Howard Kalachnikoff uses Bar Keepers Friend for scouring copper pots.


Kitchen Cleaning Tips: disinfect cutting boards with vinegar.
© Antonis Achilleos

Chef de cuisine Spencer Minch of New Orleans's Delmonico disinfects cutting boards with vinegar.


Kitchen Cleaning Tips: soak aprons in OxiClean.
© Antonis Achilleos/Courtesy of Williams-Sonoma

A fast OxiClean soak does the job on aprons, says sous chef Brandon Rodgers of San Francisco's Benu.


Clean Counters

A window washer's squeegee is the best way to keep stainless steel and marble countertops looking immaculate.

Perfect Mopping

Kitchen Cleaning Tips: Perfect Mopping

"I use steaming-hot water and a small amount of soap, so there won't be any residue. I move the mop in a figure-eight motion as I sweep myself into an exit in order to get every corner. The finishing touch is a water-only mop to make sure there's no soap left."

—Executive Sous Chef Stephen Lyons, The Inn at Little Washington, Washington, VA

Kitchen Tips: Staying Energized

Jump-Starting the Day

"We started serving Organic Avenue juices at Nougatine in New York City a few months ago (organicavenue.com). Now I have the juice every morning to get me going. Later I head to the gym to jump rope, which makes me feel like I'm a kid again."

Jean-Georges Vongerichten of Jean Georges in NYC

Days of the week juice glasses.
© Antonis Achilleos

  • Sunday: Ginger-Spiked Lemonade
  • Monday: Grapefruit Juice
  • Tuesday: Orange Juice
  • Wednesday: Carrot Juice
  • Thursday: Beet-and-Carrot Juice
  • Friday: Celery-and-Spinach Juice
  • Saturday: Cucumber Juice

Focusing

Chef Chris Cosentino
© Nancy Neil
Chef Tips: Staying focused with Ikebana

Chris Cosentino of San Francisco's Incanto practices ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. "I do it for an hour to quiet my mind. I need that solace to think about something else besides cooking."

What to Drink When

Three chefs reveal how they get revved up in the morning and how they reward themselves at night after a long shift.

Tips from chef Jose Andres.

José Andrés
L.A.'s The Bazaar

Morning: Gazpacho

Night: White wine like Albariño

Tips from chef Rachel Yang.

Rachel Yang
Seattle's Joule

Morning: Tropicana OJ

Night: Black Bean & Miso Soup

Tips from chef Bryan Caswell.

Bryan Caswell
Houston's Reef

Morning: Faema Espresso

Night: Pappy Van Winkle's Bourbon

Photos (left to right) ©: Melanie Dunea, Jackie Donnelly Baisa, Nigel Parry

Kitchen Tips: Seasoning & Flavors

Boosting Flavor

Middle Eastern salted dried limes add depth and tang to seafood dishes, says Anita Lo of NY's Annisa.
© Antonis Achilleos

Black Limes (photo) Middle Eastern salted dried limes add depth and tang to seafood dishes, says Anita Lo of NYC's Annisa ($8 for 2.5 oz; nirmalaskitchen.com).

Momiji-Oroshi Ming Tsai of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Massachusetts, uses this jarred Japanese chile-radish condiment in black bean salsa ($7 for 12 oz; efooddepot.com).

Spice Mixes La Boîte á Epice's Salvador blend, with saffron and pimentón, is a favorite of Eric Ripert at NYC's Le Bernardin ($27 for 2.5 oz; laboiteny.com).

Unsung Vegetables

Garnishing Food; Unsung Vegetable.
© Antonis Achilleos

Frank Falcinelli of NYC's Frankies loves kohlrabi raw in salads and cooked in gratins.

Joe Wolfson of Ham and High in Montgomery, Alabama, uses purple chive blossoms to garnish Sweet Onion & Corn Soup.

Sustainable Fish

With many tuna species on the decline, Erik Anderson of Nashville's Ortolan (opening this fall) likes meaty, mild Hawaiian opah.
Recipe: Grilled Opah with Olives

Grilling Tactic

Michael Schwartz of Miami's Michael's Genuine grills winter staples like turnips in summer to bring out their sweetness.
Recipe: Grilled Turnips with Garlic


Seasoning Strategy

Chefs' seasoning secrets

"People who cook at home go to restaurants and wonder, Why does the food taste so good? So much of that is seasoning. Tasting every step of the way is important, because flavors change. Tasting before seasoning and after seasoning is one great way to learn—add salt, taste, add salt, taste more. Experiment until the dish gets too salty; that's how you learn."

Emma Hearst of NYC's Sorella

Kitchen Tips: Technology

Twitter Geniuses

What if Twitter had been invented in the 19th century? Three chefs fantasize about "following" history's great minds.

Chefs Know Best: Gerard Craft.
Gerard Craft »
Chef Heroes: Thomas Edison.
Thomas Edison

Gerard Craft of St. Louis's Niche: "I'd love to know what Edison was thinking as he changed history."

Photos © Time Life Pictures/ Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images, Henry Leutwyler

Chefs Know Best: Lee Richardson.
Lee Richardson »
Chef Heroes: Charles Dickens.
Charles Dickens

Lee Richardson of Ashley's in Little Rock, Arkansas: "I'm fascinated with the breadth of his storytelling."

Photo of Lee Richardson Courtesy of Ashley's

Chefs Know Best: Bryan Voltaggio.
Bryan Voltaggio »
Chef Heroes: Auguste Escoffier.
Auguste Escoffier

Bryan Voltaggio of Volt in Frederick, Maryland: "It'd be amazing to watch Escoffier build his repertoire."

Photos © Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS, Rhys Ziemer

Top Apps

Several chefs picked these as their favorites:

Chefs's Favorite Apps.
© Monterey Bay Aquarium

iConvert
Turns metrics into US standard measurements, and vice versa.

Ratio
A digital version of Michael Ruhlmann's 2009 cookbook of the same name, this app calculates the amount of ingredients necessary to double, halve or otherwise alter the yield of more than 30 basic recipes.

Word Lens
This app translates menus using the iPhone's camera.

Seafood Watch
Finds sustainable seafood markets and restaurants.

Published July 2011
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