Cooking

Toolbox: Banned Tools

Six top chefs share the cooking tools they won't allow in their kitchens
Chefs' Banned Tools
Illustration: Kim Graziano/Tasting Table

In 2008, The New Yorker ran a profile of Momofuku chef David Chang that might have passed gracefully into the ether if not for one thing: his offhand takedown of tongs. Chang blasted cooking with tongs as lazy technique and disrespectful to the food and the restaurant. We personally don't have anything against cooking with tongs, but it did get us wondering what other pros ban from their kitchens. Here's what our panel of chef experts have to say.

Microwave
It might be commonplace in many home kitchens, but Marcus Samuelsson of Red Rooster Harlem and the newly opened Streetbird Rotisserie has no love for the microwave. "I don't like it and rarely use it," he says. "Anything that can be cooked in a microwave can be prepared better on a stove or in the oven."

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A Thing for Spoons
Huh? you might be wondering. What's wrong with a spoon? Nothing, Greg Denton, chef and co-owner of Portland's Ox Restaurant along with wife Gabrielle Quiñónez Denton, says. In fact, he considers a good wooden spoon one of his stovetop cooking essentials. It's the fetishization of them that he can't stand: "There was a pretty intense spoon movement a few years ago. I can appreciate having a nice spoon or two, but these days, every young cook seems to have a collection of them. I can get pretty mad when I need a metal or rubber spatula or a pair of tongs and all they have is a collection of antique garage-sale spoons."

Ring Molds
Edward Lee of Louisville's 610 Magnolia can't stand fussy ring molds. "I hate the way they make food look on a plate," he says. "We should be done with them. And if I see them in my kitchen, I'll bend them with impunity."

Garlic Press
"I really don't like them," Alon Shaya, of Domenica in New Orleans, says. "They kill the garlic and squeeze out all of the good juice that's in there."

But Charles Phan, chef and owner of San Francisco's The Slanted Door, takes a simple approach: "I just don't buy the things I hate." Words to live by, friends.

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