Other Prosumer Options: Knives and Gadgets
Restaurant-quality knives and small appliances may cost more than consumer-grade items, but they can be an affordable luxury. Which products pass the pro test?
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Professional baker Peggy Hambright recently purchased a house replete with pro-quality appliances, including a Viking range and Bosch dishwasher — but that didn't significantly improve her ability to cook chef-style meals for her husband and friends at home, she says.
"Even when we lived in an apartment with a 35-year-old stove and fridge, I already had the equipment that's important to me, like a good knife and my KitchenAid mixers," says Hambright, who is also a wedding cake designer and owner of Mag-Pies in Knoxville, Tenn.
Hambright's approach works just as well for those who don't own a single pro-quality appliance and have little prospect of getting one, whether the reason is budget, an immutable kitchen design or impending move. There are plenty of smaller gadgets and cookware pieces that will help you cook like a pro without breaking the bank or remodeling the kitchen, and they'll move with you when you go.
Hambright and other cooking experts share their ideas about the most useful pro gadgets for the home kitchen, how much is too much and which products won't add to your cooking experience.
Knives that cost $500? Hambright knows they exist, but "I don't believe in them," she says.
"I think you can do just as well with a mid-range steel knife, like a [Zwilling J.A.] Henckels, as long as you make friends with someone who knows how to sharpen knives," she says. "It really is more important to learn to sharpen or have it done professionally on a regular basis than it is to spend more. A lot of people are mistakenly buying new knives just because the old ones get dull."
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