The most important kitchen utensils are knives. All professional chefs have their own tool bag of knives. And, you don’t touch someone else’s tools! The Biker Chef says you need the four basics and the rest are just bonus: French knife, pairing, bread, and boning knives, and a good steel to keep them sharp. If you’ve ever tried to use a dull knife, you understand where’s he’s coming from. The Chef’s choice for knives is Wustoff. He found one at a restaurant supply store for a smokin’ good deal and snatched it up. They’re expensive, but worth the investment.
It looks like the Chef is auditioning for a part in a horror show! Ha. He got this knife from his daughter as a gift last year. It’s a boning cleaver. He learned the art of butchering and sausage making back in high school when he worked at Lenny’s Meats in New Ulm. Of course, he also learned a lot about working in the food industry and dealing with the public. He has fond memories of working for Lenny, and I believe some of his recipes, as well.
Besides quality knives, you need a few basic utensils in your kitchen: a good cutting board, heavy bottom sauce pots, cast iron dutch oven and/or pans, strainers, and a wok if you enjoy making stir-fry. And, of course, spoons and spatulas. Someone like the Chef knows how to improvise. He’s used soup cans as pots, and a hot motorcycle to cook hot dogs. One time, he was with a few buddies who were hungry and looked to the Chef. He scrounged the limited supplies and came up with grilled chicken breasts and sauce made from a can of beer and Miracle Whip. They all said it was delicious.
Maybe the most important utensil in the kitchen (or anywhere) is your own creative mind. Make the best out of mishaps and set backs, and use the tools at hand. Or, be like Mr. Happy, who can find something to smile about in any situation.
Mr. Happy says, “Always carry a spoon, and keep the Chef happy.” A thank you goes a long ways. Many a cook has gone under-appreciated, from your own mom, to the man behind the kitchen door at your favorite restaurant. When leaving your tip for the wait staff, also send compliments to the chef. He, or she, is the one with the tools for that delicious meal you just enjoyed!