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The perfect kitchen for less than $200

Posted on: May 10, 2007

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THE question I’m asked more often than any other is, “What kitchen equipment should I buy?”

Like cookbooks, kitchen equipment is a talisman; people believe that
buying the right kind will make them good cooks. Yet some of the best
cooks I’ve known worked with a battered batterie de cuisine: dented
pots and pans scarred beyond recognition, an old steak knife turned
into an all-purpose tool, a pot lid held just so to strain pasta when
the colander was missing, a food processor with a busted switch. They
didn’t complain and they didn’t apologize; they just cooked.

famous TV chefs use gorgeous name-brand equipment, you might say. And
you’d be right. But a.) they get much of that stuff free, the
manufacturers hoping that placing it in the hands of a well-known chef
will make you think it’s essential; b.) they want their equipment to be
pretty, so you’ll think they’re important; and c.) see above: a costly
knife is not a talisman and you are not a TV chef.

Finally (and
this is crucial), the best chefs may use the best-looking equipment
when they are in public view, but when it is time to buy equipment for
the people who actually prepare those $200 restaurant meals, they go to
a restaurant supply house to shop for the everyday cookware I recommend
to people all the time.

In fact, I contend that with a bit of savvy, patience and a willingness
to forgo steel-handle knives, copper pots and other extravagant items,
$200 can equip a basic kitchen that will be adequate for just about any
task, and $300 can equip one quite well.



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