10 Life-Changing Tools, According to Our Favorite Chefs, Cookbook Authors, and Hosts

From the perfect pepper mill and glorious dishwashing gloves to the last cutting board you'll ever need.

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How can you tell if a kitchen tool is truly worthy of being described as "life-changing"? It doesn't need to be flashy, expensive, or hard to find; if your eyes light up as you gush to friends about your vacuum sealer, vegetable peeler, or ladle, it's safe to say that you've discovered something particularly special. Congratulations are in order! We invited some of our favorite chefs, cookbook authors, and hosts to wax poetic about the coveted tools they simply can't imagine cooking, entertaining, or eating without.

portrait of Justin Chapple and a Peppermill
Gnomist / Caitlin Bensel

Atlas Copper Pepper Mill

"I love this exquisite copper pepper mill for its durability and beauty. Each one is handmade entirely of metal, and the steel grinding mechanism is adjustable, too. They were originally used centuries ago as portable coffee grinders by Greek soldiers, before being adapted for dried spices such as coriander, mustard seed, or cumin. My favorite model stands at 9 inches, though they come in several different sizes based on your needs and kitchen setup. I've gifted it to at least 12 people so far! It checks every box for a lifelong kitchen tool." - Justin Chapple, Food & Wine Culinary Director at Large

Pepper Mill Imports Atlas Pepper Mill, Copper, 9", $200 at amazon.com

GIR Ladle

illustration of a gir ladle
Illustration by ItWazCool

"I never knew I could love a ladle this much. This one is squishy, so it bends into the bottom corner of the soup pot and scoops everything up like magic, solving an age-old problem of never being able to get every last drop!" -Molly Yeh, TV host and author of Molly on the Range

GIR: Get It Right Premium Silicone Ultimate Ladle, $13 at amazon.com

Korin Mini Copper Grater

illustration of a copper grater
Illustration by ItWazCool

"This grater allows for a much finer grate; the teeth are designed to crush, so it's perfect for ingredients like radish or ginger where you want to release juices and more flavor." -Erika Chou, Partner, Partner, Rivers & Hills Hospitality

Korin Mini Copper Grater, $20 at korin.com

Avid Armor Ultra Series USV20 Vacuum Sealer

illustration of a vacuum sealer
Illustration by ItWazCool

"This is so handy in helping me organize leftovers, and I don't have to find matching Tupperware lids. It also has a marinate button that seals liquids without the vacuum, and I love using it to preserve the abundance of veggies from my garden, as well as my homemade tomato sauce and jams." -Barbara Lynch, Chef and Owner, Barbara Lynch Collective

Avid Armor Ultra Series USV20 Vacuum Sealer, $400 at avidarmor.com or amazon.com

Mamison Korean Dishwashing Gloves

illustration of dishwashing gloves
Illustration by ItWazCool

"My mom had these gloves, and they make cleanup after cooking, hosting, and entertaining a total breeze. Why? Because they are virtually indestructible and allow me to scrub and clean everything in extremely hot water." -Eunice Byun, Cofounder, Material Kitchen

Mamison Reusable Waterproof Dishwashing Cleaning Rubber Gloves, $6 at amazon.com

Asanka Bowl

Lateef Okunnu / Caitlin Bensel

"My favorite companion in the kitchen is the Ghanaian asanka. I use it to grind spices for purees and pastes, but it also works as an earthen dish to eat out of; it encourages you to eat with your hands, which is the route to communion with ingredients, the hands that produced them, and the earth. The bowl's ridged edges help when pulverizing peppers and tomatoes and removing hulls from beans with the help of a wooden pestle. Mashing by hand allows you to release oils and aromatics in a tactile way that can't be replicated by food processors or blenders." -Zoe Adjonyoh, Chef and Owner, Zoe's Ghana Kitchen

Asanka Bowl (Large) with Wooden Grinder, $75 at etsy.com

Kotaigrill 812 Hibachi Grill

portrait of Ellen Yin and photo of hibachi grill
Catherine Karnow / Caitlin Bensel

"I love that this grill is made by a local artisan in Baltimore, F. Halsey Frost, who welds them out of steel. The grill looks really sleek and modern, like the grown-up, cheffed-up version of what we used to use right out of college on our fire escape. I think it's ideal for those who live in cities and have limited outdoor space. My all-time favorite thing to grill is a whole fish wrapped in grape leaves because I love the charred flavors; I'll serve that with Vietnamese rice noodles with fresh-picked basil, mint, and cilantro and rice paper wrappers—it also works well with any type of grilled steak or poultry." - Ellen Yin, Co-founder and Owner, High Street Hospitality Group

Kotaigrill 812 Hibachi Grill, $625 at kotaigrill.com or etsy.com

The Spurtle

illustration of the Spurtle
Illustration by ItWazCool

"This all-in-one wooden kitchen utensil somehow hits corners better than a rubber spatula ever could. It's a cross between a spoon and a spatula, and I feel like I discover a new use for it every time I cook with it. It's especially useful when I make my daughter's favorite dish, Cheesy Beans—really with anything that is sauce-related!" -John Seymour, CEO, Lil' Sweet Chick

The Spurtle, $20 at buyspurtle.com or amazon.com

Togiharu Two-Sided Sharpening Stone

illustration of a sharpening stone
Illustration by ItWazCool

"Many whetstones are designed only for certain knives, but this works with all kinds. I also love the space-saving aspect of the stone being double-sided instead of needing two stones." -Cara Nicoletti, Founder and CEO, See More Meats & Veggies

Togiharu Two-Sided Sharpening Stone, $59 at korin.com

Tenryo Cutting Board

illustration of a cutting board
Illustration by ItWazCool

"I first discovered this Japanese masterpiece while working as a prep cook at Daniel in New York City. It's ideal for cutting everything from bread to meat, without the concern of bacteria lingering in the tiny nicks on the board's surface, as happens with the wooden versions. I use it daily and have gifted it with success to friends who love to cook." -Jordan Salcito, Founder and CEO, Ramona

Tenryo Cutting Board, $98 at mtckitchen.com

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