One of the upsides of being a Chef's wife is that, little by little, I have amassed a kitchen filled with super functional tools that I love. My husband has lovingly stocked our kitchen with professional grade tools that are practical for home cooks like me. I realized, after many messages from you, chers amis, that my list of essential kitchen tools could be of use to you. Having the right tools makes cooking so much easier and relieves a lot of the stress of cooking. Here is my list of complete Le Chef's Wife Essential Kitchen Tools.
These are the workhorses of my kitchen. While some items are surely an investment, I always choose quality over quantity and will keep an eye on sales for months before making a big splurge. I found some of my best pieces when browsing the aisles of my local TJ Maxx. Keep your eyes peeled!
Our Home Kitchen
Having a small-ish kitchen with no pantry space means that I have to be so intentional with everything that enters my kitchen. With limited counter space there is no room for gadgets or tools that are not going to get consistent use. Instant Pots and Air Fryers have not entered my kitchen, not because I don't love the idea, but simply because I just don't have the space.
Like many people this year I have been spending A LOT of time in the kitchen and have grown fond of my tools. Like everything, cooking becomes much easier when you have the right tools.
** it is worth mentioning that we have an induction range at home so all of the below pots and pans are compatible with induction heat**
Le Chef's Wife Essential Kitchen Pots:
Le Chef swears by Le Creuset for our home kitchen and I love how bright and colorful they are. I fell in love with our current home partly because of the open shelves in our kitchen. My Le Creuset collection found its home!
16 QT Le Creuset stock pot - my freezer meal batch cooking workhorse. You can fill a freezer with the contents of this pot. Bonus - the pot also fits in our dishwasher!
8 QT Le Creuset Stock pot - I use this pot for making Potage aux Légumes or for cooking pasta.
While we are on the subject of making soup- this Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender is one the workhorses of my Kitchen. I have been using this exact one for almost 10 years - and I make a lot of soup!
Cast Iron Pots:
Here again we have Le Creuset but Staub is also an excellent choice.
5 Quart Oval - I probably use this heavy bottomed cast iron pan the most. We have had it for over 8 years! A small chicken tucks in nicely for roasting and I can make several meals worth of my favorite Easy Bolognaise Sauce on the stove top.
5.5 Quart Round - My second most used - the size is great for hearty soups and sauces that you want to have leftovers of. This Pot is perfect for making French Onion Soup!
3.5 Quart Sauteuse - Perfect for a weeknight meal. Chicken thighs or Rice pilaf cook beautifully in this dish that I bring right to the table - it is so pretty!
If you are wondering what size of Le Creuset pot you have at home, I found this article on Le Creuset sizing guide references to be very useful. If you flip over the lid on your pot you will see a number that you can cross reference on this guide.
The easiest way to purée soups is with an immersion blender - so much neater than pouring soup into a stand blender! This is the Kitchen Aid Immersion Blender set I have used for almost 10 years now.
For everyday use Le Chef swears by All Clad. The price tag can be very daunting but you can often find sales. The first time I made eggs on my non-stick All-Clad was a revelation. The best non-stick I have ever cooked with.
We own the 12 inch and 10 inch pans (we bought both during big sales).
For special occasion and presentation pans we use Mauviel. I love the old-school artistry of these pans.
Again, All-Clad. Stainless steel is so resistant and also dishwasher safe. I use this pan for boiling eggs, cooking rice or small quantities of pasta for my daughter.
For everyday oven use, we use stainless steel sizzling platters all the time! The size is perfect to bake fish, cook sausages, roast carrots, finish a steak or heat up those chicken nuggets the kids are asking for! I particularly love that they fit easily in the dishwasher.
My Kitchen Aid is named Cerise. That should probably tell you something about how much I love her. Le Chef gave me Cerise for Christmas 2019, an act of foreshadowing for the year if ever there was one! I really wasn't a baker until 2020, but now I bake baguettes every weekend and delight in creating layer cakes for special occasions.
We have the KitchenAid Mini because it fits neatly on our countertop. I have never needed a bigger size so I would definitely suggest the mini if space, or budget, is limited.
Le Chef's Wife Essential Kitchen Tools:
You don't need to be a pastry professional to get good use out of the scale. I started using mine for measuring out yeast for baking baguettes and then realized that it opened up an entire new world of baking and cooking to me. I can now follow European recipes that use weight measurements! This is the Escali Pastry Scale I have at home. It works like a charm.
I love this brand of French glassware. These little glass bowls, in varying sizes are my key to a good "mise en place". I pre-chop my ingredients and separate them into these bowls so I know which ingredients to add and when. I also love to use them when cooking with my three year old daughter - no need to worry about her getting the measurements right, she just needs to dump the ingredients in the bowl! Duralex ramekins are super sturdy and can also withstand heat - such as when making chocolate mousse in a bain marie...mmmmm.
I have this set of 6 3.5 Inch Duralex Bowls and also varying sizes of the bigger bowls which also double as my salad bowls.
My husband swears by these glasses. They are quintessentially French and immediately bring back grade school memories for him. (look closely - you will notice a number on the bottom of each glass - at lunch time it is the kid with highest number that would get the most dessert!) The little Espresso glasses are so cute and we use these tumbler glasses for everyday. I have seen these glasses bounce back from my tile floor more than once and they have never broken. The small Duralex Picardie Tumblers are perfect for kid's drinks.
Le Creuset Stoneware Coffee Mugs
We have had our Le Creuset mugs for over 8 years and we use them daily! I Love the Marseille Blue collection.
It makes a difference to have a strong, large sturdy cutting board. I love this one because it fits into the dishwasher and doesn't warp. This is the number one requested link from viewers of my stories on Instagram. The grooves around the side also help to keep my countertop clean.
I place these rubber rings under the cutting board to hold it in place. This is one of Le Chef's #1 tips for cooking - always secure your cutting board!
One of the most important items of Le Chef's Wife Essential Kitchen tools list: Knives!
Le Chef's Knives are twenty five year old Sabatier Knives, hand forged in France. They are so precious to him and I wouldn't dream of touching them. Chances are that if I did actually use them I would chop off a finger, they are so sharp!
When choosing knives for me to use everyday Le Chef wanted knives that would perform well, be super sturdy and also have a safety guard. He hand selected the following knives out of the classic collection from Wusthof:
4110 Classic Serrated Utility Knife (I use for slicing bread primarily, baguettes specifically)
4066 Serrated Paring Knife - 3.5 Inches (perfect for cutting tomatoes, grapes, olives, etc)
4066 Classic Pairing Knife - 3.5 Inches (used for cutting fruit, small vegetables, meat etc)
4582 Chef's Knife - 6 inches This is my most used knife! Highly recommend. I like how light and agile it is comparatively to bigger knives, yet it still is very useful for everything I need to do in the kitchen.
Anything by USA Pan
For Mother's Day my husband bought me a small collection of pans to accompany me on my baking journey. Once you see how easily muffins pop out of the USA Pan muffin tin you will never go back. This cake pan has been one of my go-to's for brownies, cobbler, clafoutis and lasagna. This loaf pan is currently in my shopping cart too.
Professional kitchen tongs
My husband bought me my first pair of tongs and I haven't gone back. I use them for flipping meats in the pan, grabbing pasta out of the pot, or moving hot trays around in the oven. In my experience, the simpler, heavy duty professional stainless steel tongs work best.
I use this for everything and feel like such a Chef each time I do! My Microplane is perfect for zesting lemons into a cake batter, Orange peel to enliven a beef stew, parmesan on top of pasta or almonds on top of my favorite salads.
Pyrex Measuring Cups
I use the 1 cup all the time and recently was gifted the 4 cup measuring cup and it has been a game changer for making soup. Until I am the fortunate owner of a "pot filler" spout over my stove (a girl can dream...) having a big 4-cup measurer minimizes my trips to the sink and back while cooking my weekly pot of soup.
What is the kitchen tool that you swear by? I would love to hear from you! Are any of the items on Le Chef's Wife Essential Kitchen Tools list your favorite too?
Le Chef's Wife
** This post is not sponsored. All items listed are indeed my own. However, this post includes affiliate links which means I receive a small commission from qualifying purchases, at no cost to you. I hope you find the information I compiled useful and I thank you for supporting my business**
ABOUT LE CHEF'S WIFE
Bonjour! I am Anina Belle. I translate the fancy cooking of my Michelin-star trained French Chef Husband, Le Chef, into easy to make dishes that busy people with no culinary training (like me!) can make at home. We have two young kids (5 and 2) and I have a full time job in hospitality in addition to this blog. I strongly believe that even busy people deserve to eat well at home.
You can get a detailed tour of our kitchen in The Washington Post. We were also recently on the TODAY SHOW for our recipes of French Onion Soup Gratinée and Moelleux au Chocolat. You Can watch our full segment here:
Hello, Le Chef's Wife,
I'm wondering what is the name of the stainless steel trays which you used for baking fish in your Alliance Francaise cooking video? I meant to look right away, and now I don't remember what exactly you called them. All of the ideas in this post are so helpful; I really appreciated reading your compilation and pondering my own kitchen. Thank you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment. I am so happy to read that you enjoyed the cooking demonstration. The little platters I used are called Sizzling platters. Here is the link to the ones I have : https://amzn.to/3teBttG They are also linked in my Branzino Recipe post https://lechefswife.com/easy-branzino-with-vierge-sauce/
Let me know if you have any other questions!
Using a perfect knife is crucial in any kitchen. I really like your classic collection of knives. Thanks for sharing this great article with us. Keep sharing more!
Dear Elena, Thank you so much for your kind comment! I am so glad you found the article useful. Have a wonderful day!
Would you let me know what salt & pepper you use?
Hello Yvonne, Thank you for your question - we use le saunier de camargue fleur de sel and whole peppercorns.
Wonderful artical you have written.All of the ideas in this post are so helpful in kitchen to use and make work easier and smoother.Perfect collection of kitchen tools specially knives its amazing.
Thank you very much for your kind comment - I appreciate it.
I love your website and I know I'll be back often. Your kitchen (and your family) are lovely.
One thing, though. There are several typos in your essential kitchen tools page:
Duralex Glasswear - should be Glassware (and thank you for the info about the numbers! I love learning things like this!)
Classic Pairing Knives - should be Paring
Sorry - I'm a librarian. I can't help myself. Please feel free not to post this on the comments page. It just seemed the only way I could contact you.
Thank you so much Nora for pointing those spelling errors out! I appreciate it 🙂 Further proof that I do not use AI to write my blog posts! Truthfully I am often writing my posts very early in the morning before my kids get up so I appreciate you letting me know if you see any errors. Thank you for taking the time to comment. Have a wonderful day and happy cooking!