If you splurge on one high-tech tool, let it be this one. 

What's Gaby Cooking must have kitchen appliance
Credit: Matt Armendariz

As a home cook with lots of learning to do, I can attest to that fact that for most people in my position, life in the kitchen can be split into two time periods: Before buying the Vitamix blender, and after. Yes, it’s really that useful. You’re not just buying an appliance that will blend up creamy avocado smoothies. It’s so much more than that, and chefs of the more professional variety agree. In fact, it’s probably the most important appliance Gaby Dalkin—the food blogger behind What’s Gaby Cookingkeeps in the kitchen.

“I live and die by my Vitamix blender,” Dalkin tells Food & Wine. “My Vitamix is my workhorse. I have three containers because I go through all of them so quickly.”

What does this wonder-machine do exactly? Well, yes, it will whip up the smoothest smoothies you’ve ever tasted, but I’ve also made curry, almond milk, and dairy-free ice cream in mine. Dalkin boasts a similarly diverse set of dishes that she’s prepared in her Vitamix.

“You can make hummus, you can make sauces, you can make soups,” she says. “All of the things.”

The Vitamix isn’t the only item that Dalkin thinks is a must-have for home cooks. She also advises that investing in a great knife will vastly improve your cooking. But don’t worry too much about fancy sets that include ten different knives that each cut a different ingredient. One is enough.

“I love my Global knives. I use those religiously,” Dalkin explains. “You don’t need a lot of knives. I think just one good seven or eight-inch chef’s knife is all you need.”

Dalkin praises one more appliance that helps cut down on messes.

“I have this big All-Clad Dutch oven that has really high sides,” she says. “If I’m frying something, the oil doesn’t spit all over my stove, which saves me time for clean up.”

Vitamix 5200 Blender, $400 on amazon.com

Global 8-inch chef’s knife, $100 on amazon.com