Pro-Chef Tips For Refreshing Your Kitchen Kit
Pro-Chef Tips For Refreshing Your Kitchen Kit

Pro-Chef Tips For Refreshing Your Kitchen Kit

If the approach of September has got you in the mood for a fresh start, sorting out your kitchen cupboards and investing in some new kits and gadgets is a good place to start. Whether you’re after life-long pans, a new set of knifes or a useful tool, here four pro chefs share their tips for buying the essentials.

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Claire Thomson

Chef, Writer & Cookbook Author

Which pan brands have you used forever?

Two brands mostly – Netherton Foundry for bombproof cast-iron pans and lots of Le Creuset, some passed down from my mum and some new.

Any new favourites? 

Not especially as, with these two brands, I’ve got pretty comprehensive cooking capabilities. These good quality, long-lasting pans are heirloom kitchen equipment and I invest in my collection to stand both the test of time and my relentless use of them at home. 

Any tips for buying a new set of pots and pans?

Buy the best quality you can with the budget you have; better pans will wear well and last longer. A good frying pan is a must, a large casserole pan with a lid for boiling pasta and making huge stews and casseroles and, finally, a medium-sized casserole for sauces and smaller format cookery. To be honest, you can probably get away with just these three pans.

What are your kitchen essentials?

Chef’s Knife: A good sharp chef’s knife is crucial. I have serval Microplanes which I love; a sharp veg peeler and a round-tipped serrated smaller knife are all very handy.

Chopping Board: I have a huge wooden chopping board which I bought for my husband’s birthday from Sytch Farm Studios. It’s a centrepiece for my kitchen. 

Peugeot: I love this brand for its bakeware and pots and pans. Its mills and grinders are a combination of design and ingenuity.


Theo Randall

Chef/Owner of Theo Randall & Cookbook Author

Which pan brands have you used forever?

The pans I use at home are by Smeg, Spring and Bourgeat. They are very well made and are easy to clean. 

Any new favourites? 

I have just finished doing the food styling for my latest cookbook at the Howard Shooter photography studio, which has fully equipped kitchens. While there, I used a brand that I had never heard of called Scanpan. I was very impressed with it, as the pans had a very durable non-stick finish, heavy bases and look great.

Any tips for buying a new set of pots and pans?

It’s very important to buy quality pots and pans so they last. I have had my pots and pans at home for many years and you instinctively know which pan to use when you are cooking. The important thing to look out for is that the handles are riveted onto the pan and not welded. The welded ones are cheaper but will not last as long. The weld always breaks, leaving you with a broken pan that you need to replace. My tip is, buy once but get the best you can afford. 

What are your kitchen essentials?

Pans: You’ll need a large one for cooking pasta, blanching vegetables and making soup. A large non-stick frying pan – one that’s big enough to take a cooked packet of pasta that is easy to toss, so the pan is not over-crowded. Then a few smaller saucepans for boiling eggs, heating up items and big enough to make a Béchamel sauce. And a small non-stick omelette pan. 

Casserole: You need a pan that can be placed in the oven. 

A few knives of great quality: My favourites are by Zwilling or Victorinox because they are affordable and just need a quick sharpen with a steel. Keeping them in a knife block keeps them sharper, as being in a drawer tends to blunt them as they move around and the sharp edges get dull from touching the other knives. 

Good-quality peeler: I suggest one like this by Oxo. Oxo makes great small kitchen essentials. Hand blenders with attachments are great, my favourite is my Smeg hand blender as it has so many useful attachments. And a good selection of stainless-steel bowls in all sizes. The best place to find these is a catering shop like Nisbets.



Roberta d’Elia

Head Chef At Pasta Evangelists

Which pan brands have you used forever?

I absolutely adore Ruffoni pans – my favourite is the copper collection. The pans I always used are Pentole Agnelli, a line of cookware for professionals but good for domestic use, too, for those who love to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

Any new favourites?

Our Place pans – it's one of my new collections in the kitchen, and I love the colours and design. They are made with good quality aluminium and are super easy to clean, even with the stickiest food.

Any tips for buying a new set of pots and pans?

An important consideration when buying new pots and pans is the materials used. High-end cookware often uses a noticeably thicker form of aluminium or stainless steel, which makes the products last longer, if not a lifetime. If you're looking to invest in quality cookware, you may need to buy one or two pieces at a time. Look for special features – for example, some sets are designed for maximum stackability, which is good for kitchens with limited storage space, and some lids lock into place during cooking, which can provide additional security. And finally, if you want to choose high-end cookware, they often have decorative value, so you may want to show them off prominently.

What are your kitchen essentials?

Pots & Pans: First of all, it is good to know that you can find pots of the most varied materials: stainless steel, aluminium, non-stick material, iron, copper, terracotta – each material is suitable for a particular type of use or cooking of food. 

Gadgets: You’ll also need tools such as a knife, scissors, can opener and ladle – then you’re ready to create your favourite meal.


Stuart Ralston

Chef/Owner Of Noto & Aizle

Which pan brands have you used forever?

I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to cast-iron pans. The thing about a cast-iron pan is that it will last for ever – made from the hardest steels and forged at high temperatures, they hold the heat like no other pan, meaning you can cook things like steak at a constant high heat without a drop in cooking temperature. My pride and joy are my Griswold pans. They are collectors’ items now, made by a company that started in America in 1865 and wound down in the late 1950s. They do need a little love and care every couple of months but, if they’re looked after, they retain a non-stick layer and never rust.

Any new favourites?

My newest favourites are All-Clad – trust me, these are robust and a solid build. They retain the heat really well and, crucially, are easy to clean. 

Any tips for buying a new set of pots and pans?

Refreshing can be quite expensive, so do keep a budget in mind. When it comes to pans, you get what you pay for and they will last longer. Go with trusted brands, the original casserole pots by Le Creuset last a lifetime. 

What are your kitchen essentials?

Japanese Mandolin: A mandolin is used to slice vegetables uniformly wafer thin – it’s basically a narrow board with a super sharp blade in the middle; it cuts down on knifework but use it with caution for safety reasons. 

Thermomix: I use a Thermomix all day long. It’s a very powerful blender that can also weigh ingredients and be programmed to cook things too.

Kilner Jars: We use Kilner jars for storing pickles, preserves and fermentations, but they are great for storage at home too. The air-tight seal keeps the contents free from oxygen, so they last longer and are really good for storing sourdough starters.

Spiraliser: This is another good tool to cut down on knife work and get consistent results. A spiraliser creates spaghetti-type shapes from vegetables and gives a different texture to everything from a potato to a radish.


Pre-order Stuart’s new book at

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