Chefs And Their Favourite Kitchen Tools

From an aluminium hopper pan and a precision mandolin to a trusty wooden spoon, these are the bits of kitchen kit that professional chefs can’t live without.
Favourite kitchen tools new

I don’t know if you’ve realised this yet but we’re absolutely obsessed with culinary gadgets and equipment here at MOB Kitchen. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an old-school pestle and mortar or a high-tech food processor, we always want our cupboards and countertop to be decked out with the very best kitchen tools and devices possible. Not only that, but we want to help you get yours just as well-stocked, too.

We’ve already rounded up the 5 kitchen tools you need in your kitchen, and the best value kitchen knives. This time around, though, we’ve enlisted the help of some of London’s very best chefs to tell us all about their favourite bits of kitchen kit. Why? Because having the right equipment when you’re cooking can make your life a whole lot easier and your cooking a whole lot better. And who better to tell you what to get your hands on than the people who make a living from cooking delicious food?

Here’s what a load of professional chefs had to say about their favourite kitchen tools:

Shuko Oda, co-founder of Koya

Shuko Oda KOYA credit Koya

"Yukihira-nabe is a lightweight pot (usually made from aluminium or stainless steel) with a spout and wooden handle that I don’t go a day without using. It’s a staple in Japanese kitchens, both in restaurants and at home, and can be used to make soup, for blanching, boiling and braising or simply to just boil water. Easy to handle with its light body, this pot is the queen of functionality and efficiency. The little dimples on the surface of the pot make it durable as well as help to circulate heat quickly and retain temperature."

Imad Alarnab, chef and owner of Imad's Syrian Kitchen


"I have quite a few favourites but if I had to choose just one it'd be my mincer. Which I think is really important in the kitchen just because it's totally different than the food processor. With a food processor, you lose all the liquid inside the vegetables and meat. In a mincer, you keep it all together. For me, doing falafel in the food processor is not an option. It has to be in the mincer to keep all that flavour in."

Saiphin Moore, founder of Lao Cafe and Rosa's Thai

Saiphin Moore is responsible for some truly cracking Thai cooking. Photograph: Eduard Paul Schiopu.

"My favourite kitchen tool is my pestle and mortar – I've had it for over 25 years, so it's very precious to me! I make just about everything in it, from curry pastes to bases for sauces, because you just can't get the same aroma and flavours using a food processor, and it allows for more control over consistency."

Matthew Scott and Eddy Tejada, HOT 4 U

IMG 7380 copy
You can find HOT 4 U (and the "nana spanker") serving food at The Plough in Homerton. Photograph: Caitlin Isola.

"In our kitchen, our most crucial bit of kit is a massive palette knife with a rosewood handle that has been passed through generations from Matthew's grandmother. That tool is now coined as the “nana spanker”. We use it to pull our mushroom XO flatbreads from the raging hot pizza oven, we use it to override our gas cut off switch if we’re really in the weeds mid-service, and it’s occasionally used to spank our KP Pierre upon his request. He’s into it. It’s also nice to see something generational end up here with us now. An inspired beginning still putting its users to use. Thank you to the strong women in our families for always inspiring, nurturing and encouraging. Nana spanker all the way."


Joshua Owens-Baigler, co-owner of Angelina and Golden Gai

Josh Owens Baigler Angelina Golden Gai CREDIT Anton Rodriguez
Angelina's fusion of Japanese and Italian cuisine is one-of-a-kind. Photograph: Anton Rodriguez.

"I think my favourite essential tool has to be the mandolin. It’s such a simple piece of kit that makes laborious cutting tasks precise and quick. Think about super-thin dauphinoise potatoes or beautiful fine disks of radish for a spring salad. I think cutting thin and even is such a good aid to more precise cooking. Please be careful of your fingers though, it’s so efficient I have had a few accidents as a result!"

Karan Gokani, founder and director of Hoppers

Karan 7152

"It’d have to be my first traditional aluminium hopper pan from Sri Lanka. I bought it on my first trip to Sri Lanka at a shop in Pettah market. I use it to make Sri Lankan-style hoppers (bowl-shaped fermented rice and coconut pancakes), egg hoppers, and milk hoppers at home, usually over the weekends. Shops nowadays usually stock the shallower non-stick hopper pan that’s great for novice cooks and a lot easier to use but they don’t make hoppers anywhere close to the original. I first saw the aluminium pan at a friend's home and realised then how and why the Sri Lankan's got their hoppers beautifully golden, deep bowl-shaped, soft in the middle and crisp on the edges. I knew I had to get myself one to take home. The pan needed to be seasoned well and it took a while to get the hang of using it correctly. Having finally done this, the pan occupies its own shelf in my kitchen and no one but me is allowed to use it!"

Aadit Shankar, co-founder of Atcha

Aadit Shankar Atcha

"My favourite kitchen tool is a good old wooden spoon. The one, the only, the original. Sounds boring – but bear with me. They don’t scratch non-stick pans. They can be used for lid venting to allow a little steam to escape: just lay it across the pan to leave a little gap. Also good for pasta drying if you make your own pasta. If you want to check if your oil is hot enough for frying – you can dip the bottom of the handle in, and if it bubbles, it’s ready. Slicing Hasselback potatoes? Put them on a wooden spoon and it won’t cut all the way through. Finally, great for smashing ice for cocktails and also doubles up as a fake mic on karaoke night (we’ve all been there)."

Marie Mitchell, chef, writer and co-founder of Island Social Club

Island Social Club Chiron Cole Photography 3705
Marie Mitchell has done some truly wonderful things at Island Social Club. Photograph: Chiron Cole Photography.

"My fave kitchen tool is a good old pestle and mortar. Why? Because they're sexy. I'm a big fan of spice, which I would need to be since I have many curries in my arsenal. Spices aren't created equal and, though it's a little more time-heavy, crushing your spices whole and using them fresh will really elevate a dish and I'm all for things tasting better. Though I'm not sure who out there wouldn't be! They're also a decorative piece in any kitchen, some reflecting the histories or cultures you've purchased them from. Deeper and/or larger ones can be used to make dips and sauces in, too, making them one of the most versatile tools in my opinion. There's also something beautifully ritualistic about using them. It's simple, old school cooking.”

Loic Leguay, Executive Head Chef at Bone Daddies Group

Loic Leguay Bone Daddies

"A clay pot is my favourite at-home tool. I love a bit of slow-cooked food. To me, it’s the best, as it's a really easy way to cook meat perfectly and it manages to pack in so much flavour, too. To get a better result, a little bit more like a pressure cooker, I seal the lid to the pot with a mix of plain flour and water. C'est magnifique!"

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