Tool's Gold

Your essential kitchen starter kit, for serious cooks and beginners alike

Whether you're cooking in a sprawling, granite-filled chamber out in the suburbs or a "cozy" nook in the city, the kitchen is where good things happen. Recipes are tested, skills are mastered and delicious meals are born.

The kitchen means something different to all of us. For some, it's a place that satisfies hunger, where meals are thrown together after a long day then quickly devoured, possibly while standing at the counter. For others, it's a place of art, discovery and experimentation, where we follow in the footsteps of Julia Child and live a life of hot pans, warm ovens and sharp knives.

Wherever you fall on the cooking spectrum, you have to start somewhere. Moving into your first apartment, buying your first house or finally doing a major kitchen overhaul: We want to help you find your essentials.

Enter your basic (but comprehensive) kitchen starter kit. If you find yourself within the category of eating to live, start with the essentials and fill up your kitchen with the things you'll use over and over again. But if you're like us and live to eat, splurge on the toys and tools you'll need to begin a lifetime of cooking. Either way, you'll be set up for success.

If You Eat to Live

Photo: Courtesy of Taylor Precision Products

Oven-safe sauté pan: it's shallow enough for frying an egg but deep enough to make a sauce

10- or 12-quart pot: make soups and stews, or boil water for pasta

Meat thermometer: quickly and easily tell if your proteins are safe to eat, especially if you aren't experienced in the kitchen

Sheet pan: roast vegetables, make cookies or even prepare an easy sheet tray meal
Chef's knife: many cooks argue it's the only knife you truly need, and we agree  

Cutting board: this will keep your countertops safe and clear

Colander: drain pasta, wash salad and use for other easy meal prep tasks

⑧ Measuring spoons & cups: because sometimes you shouldn't just eyeball it

Can opener: when you have to get into a can of beans, it's really the only option

Spatula: not just for pancakes, we swear

If You Live to Eat

Photo: Courtesy of Lodge

Dutch oven: cooks rave over them, and whether you're making a stew, a sauce or anything else, you'll be able to taste the difference

Cast-iron skillet: because nothing beats its sturdy heft or well-seasoned surface

Grill pan: especially if you don't have access to a real grill for summertime favorites

Roasting pan: because holidays, special occasions and cravings for a juicy beef roast are bound to come around

Nonstick skillets: stock up on a few of varying sizes (trust us, you'll use them)

Blender: the really good ones can be pricey, but you'll be amazed what these babies can do

⑦ Full knife set: it's worth the investment (even if it's not the most expensive set out there) if you're planning to prep a lot of meals in your kitchen

Stand mixer: because the baker inside you is screaming for fluffy buttercream and perfectly whipped egg whites

⑨ Cake pans: because . . . cake

⑩ Silpat: a baker's secret weapon, and it's worth owning