Don't even think about comparing it to your blender.
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Ed Lee is a minimalist—at least when it comes to kitchen tools. The chef and owner of 610 Magnolia says there's one underrated item he uses for almost everything.

“When I'm cooking at home, honestly, my whole thing is simplicity,” the Louisville, Kentucky-based chef and restaurateur told Food & Wine in a phone interview. “I have, like, no gadgets at home. I have a million gadgets at the restaurant—none at home.”

But, of course, it's important to note that “like, no gadgets” is a very different statement than “no gadgets" whatsoever. So, we decided to ask our favorite nacho connoisseur to dish on which kitchen tools he does have, and which he treasures (and uses!) the most.

“My microplane," he answered succinctly. "Absolutely, yes. I can do 99 percent of the cooking that I need to do with that, along with my Santoku knife.”

As if that's not enough of an endorsement for the small grating tool, Lee also mentioned that when he teaches cooking classes every once in a while at his restaurant, he often tells patrons is to throw out all their kitchen gadgets before advising them to buy a—you guessed it!—microplane. He has even been known to demonstrate all the different ways they can use it.

Microplane Grater
Credit: Courtesy of Amazon

To buy: Classic Microplane Zester and Grater, $12 at

“Seriously, I can’t live without a microplane. I use it every time I cook,” he raved. “And it’s so useful for everything. I press garlic through it. I purée onions."

He continued, laughing. "Everyone’s like, ‘I’m gonna go purée some tomatoes, so I’m gonna get out a blender and throw it in there,’ and I’m like, okay, well, I can microplane twelve of those tomatoes using this [tool] alone faster than you can blend them.”

We’ll take your word for it, Ed. Grab your own to try out Chef Lee's techniques for yourself.