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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Another much ballyhooed "chef-style" prep item is the lavish butcher block or bamboo cutting boards, but Hambright doesn't see the point. "The dense plastic cutting boards are much more practical if you're really going to cook a lot, and you can clean them with bleach," she says.
NOW YOU'RE COOKING
Gas ranges with their high BTUs are the most sought-after appliances for avid home chefs, but if one's out of reach you might want to consider a single gas Bunsen burner with gas propane on the side, says Sue Adams, an interior designer with a flair for kitchens from Andover, Mass. "It's not a fine design element, but it can provide the high heat you want if you're a serious cook, particularly in an outdoor kitchen," she says.
If you've got a source of gas heat, even from a residential-style range, you can cook much more effectively if you invest in really good pots or pans, or even just one, says Eric Tanaka, executive chef for the posh Tom Douglas Restaurant Group in Seattle. "The thinner stainless steel or copper pans have hot spots, where a heavy enamel pot like an All-Clad spreads the heat evenly."
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