The host of The Kitchen embraces minimalism when cooking at home.

By Max Bonem
Updated May 24, 2017
Abby Hocking / Food & Wine

Marcela Valladolid, host of The Food Network's The Kitchen and author of the new cookbook, Casa Marcela, doesn't like clutter in her kitchen. "I’m a little OCD about messes," she admits. "My kitchen is white and it's clean enough that you could have a C-section in there. I like it that way." As a result, Valladolid keeps her cooking tools to a minimum and values quality over quantity. She shared her five kitchen essentials when she stopped by the F&W Test Kitchen this week to make her Coke-braised pork tacos.

The one pot she can't live without:

Valladolid values a multi-purpose workhorse that can take whatever she throws at it. "I use my Le Creuset dutch oven for everything you can think of. I even fry eggs in it."

The old school tool she'll never replace:

Valladolid believes is using whatever tools makes your life easiest and for her, that means going very, very old school. "I love my molcajete, which is a Mexican mortar and pestle," she says. "There is no comparison in flavor to when I use a processor."

Isabella Martinez Funcke

The most important kitchen investment she's made:

"I definitely recommend a quality chef's knife," she explains. "On my show, we do this segment where we pit new gadgets against classic tools and I always do the classics because I don’t know how to use the new stuff. The chef's knife always outperforms whatever new chopping tool we’re featuring on the show."

The unitasker she'll never give up:

While Valladolid is most certainly a kitchen minimalist, even she has the one tool that she keeps around for a very specific purpose: handling delicate seafood. "I love my fish spatula so much," she says. "I don’t have many specialty tools, but that’s a favorite of mine."

The cookbook she hopes to pass on to her kids.

"I have the Gourmet cookbooks from the ‘70s that my grandpa cooked out of," she explains. "They’re all scribbled in with his notes and then he passed them to his daughter, my aunt, who is a chef and really inspired me to cook and then she passed them on to me. Whichever one of my three kids decides to cook, they get the books."

Marcela Valladolid's new cookbook Casa Marcela is available on Amazon now.

Courtesy of Amazon