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Old 10-07-2010, 12:33 PM   #1
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I want to be an enthusiast

So, here I am at a crossroads in my life. I have gone from detesting being in the kitchen to wanting to cook, to wanting to be the best. I fill my days cooking and baking, and I already asked for recommendations on bakeware (thanks .40!!!!!!!). Now, I want to know... what do I need to do to revamp my kitchen? I know for a fact I need new knives (already looked through that forum so im good there!). I also need new appliances (food processor and blender to be exact). I need some supplemental pots and pans (I LOVE my Paula Dean ones, cheapies but theyre so awesome!).

So my question for you, the real true cooks and chefs, what brands do you like? How much do they run? What life expetancy does your cookware have? How do like them on a personal level? If you could exchange your least favorite piece of equipment, what would you turn it into?

I know its all going to come down to personal preference in the end, but I am curious about what everyone else is using, and what brands you all like. I'll take recommendations seriously and research them, so even if they're a thousand dollars, I'll look into it. May never be able to afford it, but boy am I curious! and thank you all

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Old 10-07-2010, 01:18 PM   #2
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I like kitchen-aid. I love my mixer, but I would skip the can opener. It doesn't really work all that well. I have a great set of Wolfgang Puck pots and pans. I got a great Hamilton beach mixer from Walmart and It has served me well. I also have a little food chopper that I got for $5 that is great. I had a nice full sized one, but it shot sparks and I had to toss it. As for the trade- I would trade my espresso maker. It is a piece of junk. I thought it would be great, and posted it on my wedding registry. My husband's aunts got it and I cannot tell them that it doesn't make good coffee! I have tried everything. the frother makes bubbly milk and that is it. I would love to get this $2000.00 one from Williams and Sonoma, but I think that is a pipe dream for me right now (I'm not working... darn economy!)
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Old 10-07-2010, 01:36 PM   #3
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Kithenaid or Hobart mixer.I have Kitchenaid
Zojirushi rice cooker.
Cuisinart processor
Food Saver Vacuum sealer
Cusinart blender with small processor attachment.
George Forman Grill
Big Slow Cooker
Small slow cooker
Countertop steamer
Turkey fryer-I use mine for fish frys with a big cast roasting pan too.
Vermont Castings 4 burner grill
Cheap butane burner for outdoors and picnics-works for fondue too.
Meat/Deli slicer.
Hand Imersion blender.

This is my collection of small appliances.
Not saying these are the best but they have served me well for years. If I had more counter space I would get a small broiling/toaster oven too.My GE micro/convection is a built-in.I have never used the convection though!

I have a few specialty pans
Stovetop griddle
Wok
Small pitcher pot for melting 1 stick butter
Small frypan for 1 egg or toasting nuts/spices 4''

My everyday set is Emerilware by Allclad
I have a few Allclad pieces too.Gave away my Calphalon and went all stainless 8-9 years ago

I have always had cheap non-stick and replaced them every couple of years.Works for me!
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Old 10-07-2010, 03:57 PM   #4
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Did anyone mention Oxo brand? I enjoyed everything that I got that is Oxo - especially the mandolin, which was about $30.00, parers, etc. I, too, say forget the electric can opener. There are much better ones that last longer, clean up better and work when the power is out. If I were starting out, I'd compile a list of things I was really sure about because some can actually do double duty and not take up so much space.
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Old 10-07-2010, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by liltreesy View Post
So, here I am at a crossroads in my life. I have gone from detesting being in the kitchen to wanting to cook, to wanting to be the best. I fill my days cooking and baking, and I already asked for recommendations on bakeware (thanks .40!!!!!!!). Now, I want to know... what do I need to do to revamp my kitchen? I know for a fact I need new knives (already looked through that forum so im good there!). I also need new appliances (food processor and blender to be exact). I need some supplemental pots and pans (I LOVE my Paula Dean ones, cheapies but theyre so awesome!).

So my question for you, the real true cooks and chefs, what brands do you like? How much do they run? What life expetancy does your cookware have? How do like them on a personal level? If you could exchange your least favorite piece of equipment, what would you turn it into?

I know its all going to come down to personal preference in the end, but I am curious about what everyone else is using, and what brands you all like. I'll take recommendations seriously and research them, so even if they're a thousand dollars, I'll look into it. May never be able to afford it, but boy am I curious! and thank you all

I am young but relatively new to cooking. It is exciting, but really you don not have to have brand named equipment to rustle up a spankingly good meal. Even a humble camp stove can produce some remarkably fine food. It's all about what you think you can achieve, and the rest of cooking you just sort of, grow into.

Circulon black anondised pans for example are very expensive but, an ordinary cheap cast steel omellette pan, or cast iron can produce excellent results, the same. Properly seasoned and cared for, such a pan will last years. One thing I would reccommend is a good can opener which has like a geared wheel so when you set it on the can, it will open any stubbern can with the satisfying ease of clockwork.
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Old 10-07-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by liltreesy View Post
So my question for you, the real true cooks and chefs, what brands do you like? How much do they run? What life expetancy does your cookware have? How do like them on a personal level? If you could exchange your least favorite piece of equipment, what would you turn it into?
Wow ... this is a HUGE category. Books could be written on the subject.

I'm going to address the issue of knives.

There are many brand names out there. The top two German brands are Henckels and Wüsthof. Cutco is an American brand that claims to produce the best knives in the world. (As far as I'm concerned, their claims are nothing more than sales hype since I could just as easy claim to be the best chef in Arizona).

It's easy to talk about the cutting edge of a knife. The problem with recommending a knife is that different people have different sized hands. The knife that fits easily in my hand may not fit easily in yours ... so when it comes to choosing a knife, you want a knife that holds a sharp edge BUT you also want a knife that feels comfortable in your hand.

Part of what makes a knife comfortable is how the handle is shaped to fit your hand. You also need to think about weight and balance. Other factors include the knife's styling and finish.

The only way you can really find the right knife set for you is to handle different knives in a store.

For what it's worth, I like the Henckels Pro S series.
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Old 10-07-2010, 11:02 PM   #7
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The one piece of equipment that I never hope to have to do without is my Cuisinart food processor. I use it every day and sometimes 4 0r 5 times a day.
If I may give you one piece of advice (and it took me years to teach my husband this) buy the best equipment that you can manage even if you have to do without until you save up enough for it. Cheap kitchen equipment is a false economy. You will have to replace it continually and it will never perform as well as quality equipment. Check out second hand stores once you know what the good brands are. I just found two Calphalon fry pans at a second hand store for 6 and 8 dollars apiece. All they needed was a little cleaning. You will never be sorry you bought good stuff if you are sure that you will use the equipment. I personally would never use an espresso maker so would never spend much for one but if you think you will use any one piece of equipment enough to justify the price then get the best you can. If I am not sure that I will use a piece of equipment much I'll look for one at a yard sale or second hand store. Then after I use it enough to know that I really want one I buy a really good brand. Welcome to the world of food!
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:21 AM   #8
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i have contributed 2 assisting Chef in hosting food enthusiasts courses open 2 the public. people would be enthralled when we would cook a demo item, lol. ah, luved those extraneious foods we got 2 take w/ us when those courses were through!. i'm a gonna search 4 my pix from this seafood 1 i taught.
there's a differentiation between a Chef, a cook, an enthusiast, & those that consider making a toasted bagel very complex.
i, personally, dropped well beyond $15-20K into my kitch.
& that was previous 2 Chef schooling & that.
if you've got the dough, purchase from dean/deluca, williams/sonoma. got most of my items from them.
invest in all-clad/calphalon. cladware, that is so very durable! if purchasing teflon, you'll wanna get items for stirring & that that suit that teflon. i, personally, ain't so very into that type of cookware 'ya mentioned. too thin, flimsy, stuff sticks too easily, & that copper-coat is....... stockpots, get those, too! * lids when 'ya could-
i prefer wusthof 4 blades though i own several other sets. a french/Chef's knife, a paring blade, a santoku, & a filet ought get a person through most tasks. check thier tang & that. get a great honing tool, too, & a sharpener. those ain't too cheap, though.
get side-towels, also. many of them.
& several s/s bowls. & a blender, too.
i've a mandoline, a purrt-y pink susan g. komen kitchenaid, a crockpot, a fondue pot, & a fridge/than a vintage half-fridge, though someone offered 2 buy that, so i'm a gonna give that 2 him as a gift~
get a roaster. my dish-ware varies; i've purchased them @ many places.
i've many cast-iron pans. if well seasoned & cleaned properely (kosher alt & avoid h2o & soap on them, that salt cleans them well & rids them of greasiness & that quite well-) i got many @ yard sales.
as 4 food there's too many. get simplistic staple items & then continue on from there~
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Old 10-08-2010, 07:49 AM   #9
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& kitchen shears! those could be used 4 chive, other herbs, phish-ies, scallion.....
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:07 PM   #10
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Old 10-09-2010, 08:23 PM   #11
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I think there are cheaper solutions for the same products other than Dean/Deluca Williams/Sanoma for the exact same product.
I would recommend buying elsewhere.Same goes for Crate and Barrel.Their stuff is good at these retailers but you can do better elsewhere.

I pride myself when I can save a few bucks! More to spend on White truffle Oil and Wine.

Just my 2 cents! (saved)
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:06 AM   #12
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skimping on $$ ain't 4 me! i purchased cheaper items. here's where that got me-

get my jist.......
4 example, i purchased a cheaper can-opener. then got 4 can-openers thereafter, on the cheaper scale; then i got a quality 1~ alas! i could open cans again rather than getting $.85 cans of veggies that were 'bout half an average can-o-veggies, as they owned pop-tops & most ave. ones, they were were 2 be opened via openers! & knives & cookware- similar effect. in retrospect, if getting lower-quality items means buying 4 addt.'l ones, calculate that equation. is there a bargain in that opener that opens foods, or 5 that won't open food~ i took a class on costing in the kitch. i know my stuffs on $$, there~
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:12 AM   #13
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by the way, get someone 2 let 'ya take a demo wustof & take that on an angle 2 a piece-o-paper; notice the way that knife slices through that as though that were butter. then try that w/ 1 of those cheaper knives.

& truffle oils, the vast majority of them, there ain't truffle in them~ they're another type of (cheapo!) oil/flavoring- quintessentially, a misnomer, & therefore, you're getting duped 4 that $$ you're dropping on those
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Old 10-10-2010, 09:55 AM   #14
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I wasn't suggesting on substituting anything.

Williams Sonoma sells a Wusthof Classic 8'' chefs knife for 399.00. It can be found online or at Sur La Table for 149.00 all day long.
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Old 10-10-2010, 11:45 AM   #15
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scored my wustof classic hollow 5-in. blade 4 $80. & an all-clad pot 4 $14.99~ both from williams/sonoma. & my kitchenaid- that was $360, though $50 of that, they donated 2 the susan g. komen fund & there was a gift certificate w/ that, also, redeemable 4 an attachment/other items, on them~ & other items, too they'll oft be on sale. when 'ya moniter sales frequently & know when 2 make pounce on those, then you'll get the high-quality 4 less than you'd figure. the junky items, i won't use; they compromise the quality of your food. plain & simple~
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Old 10-10-2010, 12:17 PM   #16
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I think there are cheaper solutions for the same products other than Dean/Deluca Williams/Sanoma for the exact same product.
I would recommend buying elsewhere.Same goes for Crate and Barrel.Their stuff is good at these retailers but you can do better elsewhere.

I pride myself when I can save a few bucks! More to spend on White truffle Oil and Wine.

Just my 2 cents! (saved)
Let me add my 2 cents to yours, 4me. When I can buy the exact same brands of cooking equipment elsewhere, why would I want to pay the price at these places? If they go on sale at these "foo foo" stores for the regular prices elsewhere, you are ahead an upscale fancy shopping bag.
Not my style at all. Ebay is also another great source for upscale cooking equipment, at sometimes fantastic prices. It pays to shop.
Two expensive items where a brand name really counts is a Kitchen Aid mixer, and a Cuisinart food processor.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:50 AM   #17
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I agree, shop around. You don't need to pay full retail price. Shop online and outlet stores and discount stores (TJ Maxx, Marsalls, etc). If you have a Big Lots they sometimes carry Cuisinart stuff ( I know ours does).
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:41 AM   #18
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i got info on those that i ain't giving.
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:12 AM   #19
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I buy quality when it matters, and cheap if it is something that I know will get very light use or not used often.

For kitchen tools, I really enjoy Zyliss, they seem very well thought out and of good quality, especially their garlic press and can opener.

I don't think that you can go wrong with Kitchenaid and Cuisinart.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:40 PM   #20
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I am willing to pay only what I have to for quality.

That means, I will do my research and find what I believe is the best quality and put it on my wish list. I research prices retail, then I buy my stuff as much as possible second hand for pennies on the dollar. Since I know what I am looking for, I am then armed to recognize the treasure amongst the trash.

I am willing to do the garage sale, thrift shop, church sale, ebay, metal salvage yard [great for hotel pans, commercial Vollrath heavy gauge steel pots & pans, utensils etc.; heavy duty Dexter Russell forks and utensils], used restaurant supply stores, craigslist, or whatever to get what I want for the best price I can.

Did you know that Copco enameled cast iron cookware is even heavier cast iron than Le Creuset? So I have mostly Copco cookware, especially since it is no longer made and cheap to buy at thrift shops, etc.

I will pay more for something special I like -- but I won't pay retail or top dollar! :

2 Chrome KA model G mixers from the 1930's still powerful as day one or a Hobart N-50 5qt mixer ---- What every new KitchenAid dreams of becoming when it grows up!

Vintage cast metal Kitchenaid Mixer attachments -- food grinder, disk slicer, pea sheller, etc.
Robot Coupe food processors - 2 of them including 10 disks & food chute
Vintage 36 by 36" maple butcher block table
Sabatier carbon steel knives & store display case
Marble slab dining table 36 by 54" for pastry
Vintage Crown gas double oven, double broiler, 6 burner range
Vita Mix Blenders
Champion juicer and grain mill
Copco, Descoware, Cousances, and LeCreuset enameled cast iron cookware/bakeware in that order
Vollrath SS stockpots, bowls, colanders, spoons, ladles, dishers, whisks
Lincolnwear Commercial aluminum half sheet pans
Corningwear pie pans, loaf pans, cake pans
Dexter Russell baking spatulas, turners, cleavers, cooking forks
Oxo Good Grips -- many of their items
Thorpe rolling pins


All of these things are to me, "The best of the best" but bought for pennies on the dollar from Ebay to thrift shops to garage sales. I don't care how old an item is, or if it is not in immaculate condition. I care about function.
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