What equipment does an apprentice chef need?

We’ve all seen shows like Hell’s Kitchen or MasterChef, and at times, it really seemed like hell broke loose. And then, there is Donna Hay, Bill Granger, Jamie Oliver and the like - people who make cooking look like, well, a piece of cake.

So, which one is the real side of the chef coin?

Well, both.

It is no secret the road from an apprentice chef to the chef in charge of a famous restaurant is long and hard, but there are some things that should make it easier. Very often, the speed of work in the kitchen is the determining factor and there is no better ally for that than your equipment.

As an apprentice chef, you will need equipment that’s high-quality, inexpensive, and easy to keep clean. You need to know how to use your equipment to its full potential, how to store it, and how to make sure it complies with health and safety standards. You also need to make sure you choose utensils that are right for you personally.

Choosing knives

A good cooking knife could last you for a large portion of your career! When choosing one, you need to think about:

     Sharpness of   the knife, and what to use to keep it sharp.
     Where your knives will be stored. Often health and safety regulations require them to be kept locked up when not in use, even if they are already in a locked kitchen.
     How many knives you will need. You won’t be able to get by with just one – different blades are used for different tasks.
     How comfortable you are using the knife. Make sure you have one that won’t slip in your fingers. This goes for things like whisks and peelers too – a cook’s utensils are an extension of the hand!

Choosing chopping boards

Chopping boards are vital in a kitchen, but they need to be kept clean to prevent cross-contamination which could lead to illness. You can buy colour-coded chopping boards – one colour for dairy, one colour for meat and so on - so that the possibility of cross-contamination is kept to an absolute minimum. Many kitchens store their boards in racks under labels noting which colour is to be used for which food group.

Choosing thermometers

You can’t be too careful when it comes to thermometers. Most kitchens use a digital probe thermometer to check if food is cooked, as you cannot always judge purely from the colour of the food. Like with chopping boards, many kitchens will colour-code their thermometers to prevent cross-contamination from raw food.

Choosing more specialised equipment

The food industry is constantly innovating to make cooking easier and faster. For example, a salad spinner is designed to take the hassle out of making salads by draining the water from them, a slicer is intended to make cutting food faster, and an immersion blender is designed to help you make soup and sauces quickly and easily. A few things to bear in mind when buying tools like this for your kitchen:

     Will there be any wires attached to the product that may get in the way inside a kitchen? If so, see if your product is available in a wireless version.

     Can the product be colour-coded if needed? Sticking a coloured label on a piece of kitchen equipment usually won’t be an option, as health and safety policies won’t allow it.

     Do you have the storage space for it?          

As an apprentice chef it helps to have a working knowledge of anything and everything you might find in a kitchen. Research and weigh up what you’re most likely to need!

Becoming an apprentice chef is the first step on a long journey, but the proper equipment and the knowledge of how to use it is a very good start.

Find this interesting? Check out these other blogs:
Top 5 Secrets To Becoming A Master Chef
6 Must-have Kitchen Accessories For 2016
Introducing Olympia Kiln

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