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A good wok, a microplane and more home kitchen picks from this New York-based Australian chef.

Max Bonem
May 23, 2017

Paul Donnelly, executive chef of New York's Chinese Tuxedo, is well-versed in Asian cuisines that range from Japanese to Thai. However, he's making an imprint in New York City with his unique spin on Chinese-Australian classics. He shared his five kitchen essentials when he stopped by the F&W Test Kitchen this week to make his Johny Fried Rice.

The pan he can’t live without:

For Donnelly, his wok is the pan he uses most in his home kitchen. "Cooking the style of cuisine that I cook, I think it’s very important to have a wok," he says. "You can cook both stir-fries and fried rice with a wok, along with using it to boil things in. I use my woks at Chinese Tuxedo for blanching vegetables too."

The kitchen utensil he swears by:

"I really like microplanes for grading things really finely and for decorating too," he explains. "If you want to make an ingredient a little more interesting, like a shaved walnut or white chocolate, microplanes are really great for changing things up."

His favorite cookbook:

"My favorite cookbook right now is Mr. Hong by Dan Hong, who's one of my best friends from back home," he says. "Dan's really kind of blown up in Australia over the last few years and he has a really inspiring story that comes through great in the book. He’s Vietnamese, but he learned how to cook basically every Asian cuisine there is to know. The book is really smart and has this comic book element that I really like."

The condiments he always has stocked in his pantry:

While Donnelly doesn't use a lot of salt in his cooking, he makes sure to season everything using his three favorite pantry staples. "Three Crabs Fish Sauce is excellent," he explains. "It’s very flavorful and very salty, but in the best way. I use it, along with Yamasa Soy Sauce, as a salt substitute all the time. Also, Maggi Seasoning is delicious."