Clean Eating

A TOP CHEF’S TOOLS

Working in a profession­al kitchen requires not only the right skills but also the right equipment. From a versatile utility knife to her beloved molcajete, here are Top Chef Nyesha Arrington’s fave tools no home cook should be without.

- PHOTOGRAPH­Y BY MAYA VISNYEI

Top Chef star Nyesha Arrington shares her kitchen essentials.

IMMERSION BLENDER

Cuisinart EvolutionX Cordless Rechargeab­le Hand Blender

An immersion blender is a game changer in the kitchen and definitely worth the investment. Anytime I need to buzz up a soup or sauce, I drop it in and blend away to a smooth paradise of richness, right in the pot. It doesn’t take up any counter space, and it now comes in cordless versions, which means no more “cord in sauce” accidents. $80, williams-sonoma.com

SERRATED UTILITY KNIFE

Victorinox Swiss Classic Serrated Knife

There are three basic knives everyone should have at least one of: A chef’s knife, a paring knife and a serrated knife. But when it comes to versatilit­y, a serrated utility knife does it all. Whether it’s cutting string to truss a chicken, segmenting an orange or cutting even slices of garlic bread, you will reach for this knife more than any other (trust a Top Chef!). It’s handy, inexpensiv­e and available in multiple colors and sizes. $8, victorinox.com

GRATER/ZESTER

SILICONE TRAYS

DUTCH OVEN

Le Creuset 5.5 Quart Dutch Oven If you do not have a Dutch oven, please go out and purchase this quintessen­tial chef’s tool. (I also recommend a trivet as a musthave to protect your surfaces from the heat of your baking vessel.) What’s special about these cast iron beauties is that they can be passed down through generation­s. Plus they’re versatile, going seamlessly from stove top to oven. $370, williams-sonoma.com

Souper Cubes 1-Cup Tray with Lid – Set of 2

Silicone ice trays have become my secret weapon. Instead of freezing stock in a big container that eats up space, I portion it in ice trays and freeze. This is handy when I need a pop of stock for a simple broth or added flavor in a dish. Same deal for purées: If you have fruits or vegetables that are starting to turn, blend them, portion into molds and freeze. Thank me later! $37, soupercube­s.com

Microplane Premium Classic Series Zester Cheese Grater

My Microplane has literally traveled the world with me. Originally a woodworkin­g rasp, this tool has been adopted by cooks everywhere for its exceptiona­l ability to grate cheese, garlic, chocolate, ginger and citrus zest within seconds. It comes in different sizes to fit the need of whatever you want to shave. When I want to make a quick broth, I can grate all the garlic I want in no time at all without drenching my knife and cutting board in the aroma. $15, microplane.com

MOLCAJETE

Crate & Barrel 8-Inch Molcajete Similar to a mortar and pestle, the molcajete is for grinding spices, making sauces and blending up chef-grade guac. This wider and shallower version is made in Mexico from volcanic rock, which imparts a unique taste that elevates the ground spices and sauces. It’s a fabulous tool that I’ve had in my home kitchen and my restaurant­s for years. $35, crateandba­rrel.com

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