Essential utensil | The Coast Halifax

Essential utensil

Q: What do you consider to be the three most essential kitchen tools?

A: First, I’d say you need to have a good chef’s knife. Having one good, sharp knife is better than having 22 not-so-good ones. I’d also recommend a good set of pots. Buying good pots seems like an expense, but it’s better to look at them as an investment. Finally, I’d say you need a good set of measuring cups, measuring spoons and a thermometer. The more sophisticated your cooking skills become, the more important accurate measurement becomes.

Q: I’ve always heard that precision is more important in baking than cooking.

A: Well, measurements and temperatures do need to be exact in baking in order to get the results you’re looking for, which is probably why it’s considered a science. That same precision isn’t required in cooking necessarily, which is why it’s considered an art—but you still need to have the right brush for your canvas to paint a decent picture.

Q: Are there tools people overlook that would make cooking easier?

A: Hand-held immersion blenders are fantastic. They are so useful, there should really be one in every single kitchen in Canada. And then there’s the lonely gravy separator. We’re so concerned about the amount of fat in our food, and this little device makes it so easy to separate pan juices from fat.

Q: In the great cake pan debate, would you pick non-stick or silicone?

A: Definitely silicone. Silicone is inert, stable and won’t deteriorate—unlike the non-stick pans, which are just regular pans covered with a non-stick additive. That additive cooks, wears, peels right off the pan, gets in your food. Silicone is the way of the future.

Q: You’ve been in the cookware sales business for more than a decade. What’s the biggest change you’ve noticed?

A: The biggest trend I’ve noticed is trendiness. Ten years ago, cookware was a commodity, like sports socks. You needed something for your kitchen, you went to the store, you bought it. Now, it’s a fashion business, it’s dynamic, it’s changing all the time.

Q: Do you think that change is in step with the general move towards home-cooking being more popular?

A: Definitely. Just by circumstance, the generations before us were strictly in the business of preparing meals; today, because of the ingredients and the technology available to us, we have the time and the resources to create meals. It allows us to get away from the everyday stresses and routines of life, to relax and create something enjoyable. Cooking gives us a sense of accomplishment. It’s about pleasure.