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The well-stocked kitchen


© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 26, 2001

[Times photo: John Pendygraft]
Are these essentials selected by Tyler Florence at your fingertips? If not, you probably are working harder in the kitchen than you need to.
What does a professional chef think we need in our kitchens? On a recent shopping trip to Target, Food Network chef Tyler Florence found these must-haves:

Knives: Florence discourages using a wood block to store knives because it takes up two much counter space and harbors bacteria. He suggests spending a good amount of your kitchen equipment budget on quality knives, ones that have a full tang. The Henckels brand at Target fits the bill.

"It's not the company's four-star line, but as far as qualitywise, I don't see a whole lot of difference," he says. "The steel is probably not as (high) caliber, but if you're just cooking at home, who cares?"

Florence recommends buying the Henckels chef's knife ($39.99), paring knife ($21.99), utility knife ($24.99), carving knife ($34.99), serrated knife ($10.99) and sharpening steel ($19.99).

His tip: "You run a risk of cutting yourself more with a dull knife than a sharp knife because you have to put a lot more force behind it. With a sharp knife you don't have to put any kind of weight behind it."

Sheet pans: "I think you definitely need more than one sheet pan, at least two," he says. "I would get something that has some Teflon." Set of three is $10.

Cutting board: "I recommend plastic," he says. "Who the heck invented glass cutting boards anyway? It tears your knives up and sounds like fingernails running down a chalkboard." A 9- by 15-inch cutting board is $7.99.

Gear for great cooking
Tyler Florence is cooking under TV's bright lights these days but, like any good craftsman, he relies on good equipment to play a supporting role.
Coffeemaker: "A coffeemaker, in my opinion, is really the only piece of equipment that sits out on a counter, so don't get an ugly one," Florence says. He chose a Phillips model with an insulated carafe for $79.99. Note: You can also get something suitable for much less.

Pots and pans: Florence recommends cookware with a heavy bottom and metal handle so it can go into the oven. He liked the Revere Copper Elipse set.

"These are good for a couple of reasons. First of all they have a copper insulated pad in the bottom. It's a thick piece of copper that's going to distribute heat evenly. Secondly, with metal handles you can sear stuff. Take a piece of fish, put in a little oil, sear it and place the whole pan in the oven and let the oven do the hard part."

The $129.99 set includes a 11/2-quart covered sauce pan, a 2-quart covered sauce pan, a 6-quart covered stock pot, an 8-inch open saute pan and a 91/2-inch open fry pan.

Tools: "I like metal. Plastics warps in the dishwasher, and some pieces may bend and break." Florence recommends buying a slotted spoon ($10), a solid spoon ($10), a spatula ($10), a strainer ($10), a ladle ($10) and a whisk ($9.49).

Mixing bowls: 3 stainless steel mixing bowls in different sizes, $7.99, $9.99 and $10.99

Colander: Stainless steel, $16.99

Potato masher: $3.99

Manual can opener: $3.99

Measuring cups: Plastic is okay, he said. That's what he uses at home. Four-piece set $2.99

Peeler: Oxo, $4.99 "These are the best vegetable peelers on the market. The blade swivels, and it's got a nice grip."

Measuring spoons: Plastic $1.99

Pepper mill: $11.99 "Salt and pepper can be your best friends in the kitchen. I like using loose kosher salt that I keep in a small dish."

Cast iron skillet: $12.99. "You can also bake in it.'

White rectangular serving plates: He recommends having four, $8.99 a piece. "I like cool plates. I think presentation is important."

Total for Florence's perfect Target kitchen: $565.25.

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