We asked some big-name chefs to reveal their favorite pieces of pro kitchen gear they use at home.
It seems like everyone wants a pro-quality kitchen in the home, but what are the pros themselves cooking with once they get off work? We surveyed some of the nation's most innovative chefs and food experts, including a few Food Network show hosts, and received some surprising answers and many clever ideas. Put them to use at your place and you'll genuinely be "cooking like a real chef."
The cooking expert: A long-time food writer and nutritionist, Robin Miller is host of Food Network's Quick Fix Meals with Robin Miller and lives with her family in Arizona. She is a contributing editor for Health and Cooking Light magazines.
The pick: "I adore my KitchenAid food processor. It's not just functional and sturdy, it's beautiful on my countertop — I have it in red."
What I do with it: "I use my food processor for everything in my Quick Fix kitchen, from slicing vegetables to mixing quick breads and sauces. The breads, sauces and salsas that come from my food processor are superior to any that I would chop or mix by hand. I even used it to make margaritas when my blender was out of commission!"
Personal glimpse: "I think my family appreciates the food processor because it slashes my prep time, meaning I can spend more time with them!"
The cooking expert: Shawn Wevikki is the chef at the traditional, English-style Jasper Brewing Company in Jasper, Alberta. The accompanying restaurant features local fusion cuisine.
The pick: "My Teflon nonstick indoor grill."
What I do with it: "I use it to produce a sharp, crisp product with a clean flavor and professional-style cross-hatching. I particularly like the results when I prepare salmon and asparagus."
Personal glimpse: "To be totally honest, about six nights a week I order in to the basement suite where I live. But I like to use pro methods to plate food even when I'm just cooking for myself. The starch on the bottom, the drizzle of sauce across the top? I have a certain passion for harmonizing spices and herbs and for the way food should look."
The cooking expert: Ellie Krieger is a registered dietitian specializing in nutrition and health communications, and author of Small Changes, Big Results. She is also the host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite.
The pick: "My granite kitchen. I got it from a granite wholesaler in Queens and it was installed by my building super."
What I do with it: "I have an open kitchen so the countertop is a part of my living area. It is rich and has real depth and soul to it. And it is virtually indestructible and maintenance-free. When you have children or a high traffic kitchen it is always appreciated to have something that looks beautiful without a lot of care."
Personal glimpse: "Picking it out was a great experience. My sister and I went to the granite lot and chose from all the raw materials. It is amazing how each piece is different, a natural work of art."
The cooking expert: Chef George Duran, host of Food Network's Ham on the Street, was born and reared in Venezuela and attended culinary school at the École Supérieure de Cuisine Française Groupe Ferrandi. He now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y.
The pick: "One of my favorite gadgets in my kitchen is my cutting board holder. Everyone asks me where I got it. And I reply, 'You can't find this in any kitchen supply store. In fact, the only place you can find it is at an office supply store!'"
What I do with it: "It organizes my cutting boards upright so that I don't need to pile them up anywhere. Also, once a board is washed it's easier for them to air dry on it."
Personal glimpse: "I had a friend who was moving and happened to have a couple of them that he was throwing out. I grabbed it and knew exactly how I wanted to use it. Now every time my friend comes over for dinner he regrets having given it away — he wants one, too."
The cooking expert: Eric Tanaka is executive chef for the Tom Douglas Restaurant Group in Seattle, which includes rotisserie offerings at the Palace Ballroom, definitive Pacific cuisine at the Dahlia Lounge and also the Dahlia Bakery.
The pick: "A Staub Dutch oven, a thick-metaled unit that heats evenly and holds the temperature well."
What I do with it: "I use it to prepare stews or a straightforward classic pot roast. For that I use chuck roast, which has a little more fat and tastes delicious cooked in a Dutch oven."
Personal glimpse: "I have two kids, so we have to eat, but after working in the kitchen all day the rule at home is one pot or pan per meal. I'll start something, throw the pot in the oven and then take the kids to basketball or tutoring or whatever we have going on. The Dutch oven holds moderate heat really well and the slow, gentle cooking means the meal is optimal when we get back."
The cooking expert: Ming Tsai is the chef and owner of Blue Ginger in Wellesley, Mass., host of East Meets West, now airing on Fine Living Network, and host and executive producer of the Public Television cooking show, Simply Ming.
The pick: "I really enjoy using my All-Clad slow cooker."
What I do with it: "What sets it apart from other slow cookers is its superior even heating and the shape — it's an oval, which makes it perfect for slow-cooking a whole duck."
Personal glimpse: "Red roast duck is one of my favorite dishes from childhood — my grandfather used to tend to his red roast all day long. With a slow cooker, I can make an entire duck for my family by combining all the ingredients at once and just letting it do its thing. And what's even better, the house still gets filled with that wonderful aroma of red roast, but I don?t have to make sure I can devote four hours in the kitchen."