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Using Great Inexpensive Tools

Our Best New Chefs consistently amaze us with their kitchen wisdom. Here, past winners share their expertise with mini lessons on everything from how to make the ultimate panini to how to stock the perfect pantry.

Disposable Single-Blade Razor

“I use drugstore razors for peeling delicate vegetables, like baby carrots, because they waste less,” explains Graham Elliot Bowles, who will be opening Graham Elliot in Chicago this summer.

Fish Spatula

Douglas Keane of Cyrus in Healdsburg, California, handles meat with a superflexible slotted Peltex fish spatula: “It keeps the meat juicier than tongs would, since you’re not pinching it” ($19;

Cake Tester

“I use metal Ateco cake testers to check the heat level inside everything from fish to meat, and yes, even cake occasionally,” says Wylie Dufresne of WD-50 in New York City. “There’s something pleasantly old-school about it” (70 cents; 800-645-7170).

Bamboo Steamer

Ian Schnoebelen of Iris in New Orleans is fond of his two-level bamboo steamer for cooking fish: “I put aromatics like ginger or star anise on the bottom level and fish like halibut on top,” he says (from $10;

Plus: More Lessons

Published July 2008
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