A chef is only about as good as the equipment and produce in her kitchen. Even the best chef would struggle to cobble something delicious together with no seasoning, knives or a hob - however amusing it might be to watch them try.
So, we asked some chefs to share the items that they can't live without: the one thing that would see them survive happily enough on a dessert island. (If said dessert island had an electrical supply...)
The items they chose range from high-tech Theromixers to ingredients as basic as good quality salt.
Andrew Dargue, the head chef of vegetarian restaurant Vanilla Black in London
A chamber vacuum-packing machine. It's brilliant for storing fresh food as it removes the air and the product keeps it’s freshness. We also use it to keep dry goods in good condition when the original packaging has been opened.
Valentine Warner, chef and food writer
My pestle and mortar. I lugged it back from Mexico and subsequently had to shell out a hefty overweight fee for it but it’s size, weight and stone are no match for even the most stubborn seeds
Tilesh Chudasama, founder and chef at London’s Indian street food restaurant Chai Naasto
Just one?! I can think of a few, but, if I had to pick just one, I would probably go for my timer. It is an absolute lifesaver in a busy kitchen where consistency is king and time is a thief!
Richard Bainbridge, chef and proprietor of British restaurant Benedicts in Norwich
Salt-salt is a basic food enhancer and seasoning and gives all produce the oomph it needs to taste amazing.
Lee Skeet runs a self-titled pop-up restaurant. He is based in Cornwall
My oyster knife. Oysters are on our menu almost all the time and we sometimes serve hundreds a day. I've got a few different oyster knives and would be lost without them!
Daniel Petitia, head chef at London’s The Library private members club
My Dick bread knife. You could cut everything with it.
Dan Doherty, chef director of Duck & Waffle and Duck & Waffle Local, which specialises in British cuisine with continental European influences
Well, aside from a cooker and or oven, it would have to be a microplane. They are great for zesting, fine grating, pureeing garlic, etc. They now come in lots of different sizes too which is really handy.
Paul Wedgwood is head chef and co-owner of Wedgwood in Edinburgh, which specalises in Scottish produce with occasional Asian touches
My Thermomix; it gets used constantly. They are pretty reliable pieces of kit, but when it does breakdown, you really realise how much time it saves you in your daily tasks.
Daniel Fletcher, head chef at Fenchurch Restaurant, in Sky Garden, London
A spoon. I always keep one close to hand when I’m in service at Fenchurch. Taste, taste, taste is one of the first lessons every chef learns.
Dave Rann, head chef at Juniper Tree, an organic restaurant in London
The thermomix. Great for pastry, purees, etc. You can use one for loads of good recipes from vanilla cheesecake to saffron crème anglaise. And I also use to whiz my baby daughter’s food.
Eric Guignard, the head chef at The French Table in Surbiton
The one item I couldn’t live without has to be a pressure cooker. It’s brilliant because it gains you a lot of time back – which is invaluable for a chef – and keeps the flavour locked in.
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