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Essential Tools for the Everyday Chef Bag

Once you find the right chef bag to transport your tools from one kitchen to another the next step is figuring out what you should pack in your bag. The essentials for wherever your culinary journey may lead. While there is no right or wrong way to pack your chef bag, there are a few basics that every chef, from student to high-end professional should know. Here are just a few of the basic essentials:

Knives

 

When it comes to packing the right tools for the kitchen none is more important than the knife. Without a good set of reliable knives it would be virtually impossible to achieve any culinary goals in whatever kitchen you’re working out of. While you can perhaps get away with having one good knife in your arsenal, if you really want to have a diverse set of knives in your chefs bag here are our suggestions:

                                                        Chef’s Knife

Best Value

Victorinox Fibrox Pro 8-inch Chef's Knife

 

High-end

Yoshihiro Gyuto Japanese 8.25-inch Chefs Knife

 

The Chef’s Knife is the most versatile knives in the kitchen and it is for this reason that no matter your skill level it is an essential tool to have with you. It is a knife that can both slice fruits and chop vegetables with ease, no need to switch it out in between.

Due to its large blade you can expect balanced cuts each every time you use it. This means that you won’t have to worry about ingredients not being cut into the shape you want. Making it a necessary knife to carry in your bag.

                                                      Santoku Knife

 

Best Value

Victorinox Rosewood 7-inch Santoku Knife

 

High-end

Yaxell Gou 6-1/2-inch Santoku Knife

The Santoku Knife is similar to the Chef’s knife in versatility in that it can handle most types of food you will encounter in the kitchen. However, the Santoku Knife is designed more for occasions where you’ll be required to prep large quantities of food, such as a large party or gathering.

Its Granton edge makes it perfect for those rough cuts, which will make slicing any sticky food simple. Then once you’re done cutting you can use the large blade to scoop up your ingredients and put them in a bowl. While perhaps not as much of a necessity it’s still a good tool to consider for your bag.

                                           Paring Knife

Best Value

Victorinox 3.25-inch Paring Knife

High-end

Wusthof Classic 3.5-inch Paring Knife

The Paring Knife can be a chef’s best friend when it comes to mincing small foods such as garlic or shallots. So if you plan on working with those kinds of delicate ingredients then you will want to pack a Paring Knife into your bag.

With a smaller blade than the Chef’s or Santoku Kinfe it is perfect for those precise cuts needed for certain ingredients. Including a Paring Knife in your knife set brings more options to your meals and a level of mastery to your tools.

Boning Knife

Best Value

Mercer 6-Inch Curved Boning Knife

High-end

Wusthof 6-inch Boning Knife

The Boning Knife can be an essential addition to your chefs bag if you plan on handling poultry, meat or fish, on a daily basis. With its long, narrow blade you are able to easily remove bones from poultry with a precision that you may not find with other knives.

Knowing the meat or fish you plan to cook will also help you decide what kind of Boning Knife will work best for you. If you want more control and precision cuts a flexible Boning Knife will work best. If you are needing to cut thicker pieces of meat a stiff Boning Knife will give you the best results. But no matter what you choose, a Boning Knife is a smart tool to have in your chefs bag.

Serrated Knife

Best Value

Mercer Culinary 10-ihnch Bread Knife

High-end

Shun Classic 9-inch Bread Knife

The Serrated Knife is a pastry chef’s dream tool. The jagged blade allows the Serrated Knife to cut foods with hard exteriors and soft interiors, such as pastries, without ruining them in the process.

This is why The Serrated Knife is also called a Bread Knife or a Toothed Blade. Though useful for cutting bread, unless this is going to be a common staple in your kitchen this knife may not be as essential as the other knives mentioned, but still a good tool to have on hand if the need arises.

Knife Sharpener

Victorinox Swiss Army Cutlery Honing Steel, 10-inch

While a Knife Sharpener is not a knife itself, if you plan on even having one knife in your chefs bag this is a must have tool to have packed in your arsenal as well. A dull knife can become dangerous in the kitchen so you’ll want to prevent that by having a knife sharpener to use wherever your knives are.

You have a few options in style for a Knife Sharpener, from a grinding stone, to electric, or a sharpening rod. For the purposes of traveling to a kitchen the sharpening rod will be the most logical. Not only will it sharpen your knives to your satisfaction, but they are the most easy to pack along with your knives in your chefs bag.

Handy Gadgets

Knives may be the most common Chef’s tool, but when it comes to packing your chefs bag they are not the only essential ones. Depending on the occasion you might find yourself needing a few of these handy tools in your chefs bag.

Microplane Zester/Grater

Microplane Classic Zester/Grater

A Microplane Zester/Grater is a perfect tool to have if you plan on adding a little “zest” to your food. Flavors such as garlic, ginger, or lemon can be a great addition to any meal and sometimes you want the flavor without the texture. This is where having a Microplane Zester can help you.

If you have one of these in your chefs bag you don’t have to worry about figuring out how to add lemon without cutting chunks of it with one of your knives. Plus, with the Microplane Zester’s long slender design it won’t take up much space in your chefs bag.

Peeler

Kuhn Rikon Original Swiss Peeler

While a peeler may seem like an item every kitchen will have, you’d be surprised how often that isn’t the case. To avoid having to peel your vegetables with a knife why not simply pack a plastic Y peeler to be safe?

Again, this is a small light weight tool that won’t take up that much space in your chefs bag and you’ll be happy to have it with you.

Spatula

YK GDYORKITCHEN Fish Spatula

A spatula is good to have once you have finished dicing, cutting, zesting, basically prepping the ingredients. You’ll want to have a tool you can actually cook with especially if you have a certain way you want to cook your meal.

There are different choices of spatula available, however, the one most chefs recommend is the Fish Spatula. This is because of its long shape and flexibility when handling food. No need to worry about cooking delicate food with this tool in your chefs bag.

Measuring Spoons/Cups

Prepworks Measuring Spoons

OXO Good Grips Plastic Measuring Cups

Measuring spoons and cups are another item you would expect to find in most kitchens. And while you might work in a kitchen that does, it is still a good idea to carry a simply plastic set in your chefs bag.

This is especially essential if you happen to be cooking somewhere with a different measuring system. This is one of those tools that you don’t want to be caught without.

Miscellaneous Items

The previous items are fairly common kitchen tools as far as chefs go. However, there are a few items that are good to have on hand in your chefs bag that you may not think are important. Here are a couple items that might just be the difference to a great cooking experience in a kitchen.

Notepad, Pens, and Sharpies

While coming to a new kitchen prepared is always important sometimes what is equally important is being ready to go with the flow if something changes. Carrying a notepad with plenty of pens in your chefs bag will help you keep track of your timetable especially if something changes and you need write it down to keep track.

Travel Spice Kit

GSI Outdoors Spice Rocket

A travel spice kit is something you may not think of until you’re in a kitchen and realize they don’t have the seasoning you need. If you plan on cooking a particular meal that calls for particular seasonings, you’ll want to be able to have them handy. In a pinch, a weekly pill container can be used as well, just be sure to seal tightly before placing in your chefs bag.

This isn’t a comprehensive list of kitchen tools. This is simply a list of what we believe are the essential tools you will need in general in a kitchen, whether you are a beginner or an experienced chef. If you start with packing your chefs bag with these essential tools, you won’t go wrong.

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