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My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials

My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials

When it comes to my philosophy on cooking, there are very few things that you truly need. I subscribe to the belief that your repertoire should include just a small selection of essential tools—a super sharp knife for cutting precision (a chef’s and paring knife are all you need—do not buy a block set. Well, with one exception which I outline below, hehe!), a Microplane for zesting, a mandolin for feathery slivers of anything and everything, a cast-iron skillet, a wooden spoon, and a solid wood cutting block. If I only had these few kitchen essentials, I know I could execute a killer meal.

That said, I’ve selected a few other go-to’s I continually reach for in my kitchen. Of course, you don’t need all of these at once, just buy the pieces as you need them (and as your confidence in the kitchen grows), but above all, have fun with cooking.

My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials
My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials
My Must-Have Kitchen Essentials

This slices vegetables really fine and thin so it's perfect for salads or to garnish a dish. Just be careful with the blade on this one!

wonder valley olive oil

Olive oil is a beloved and staple ingredient of most kitchens—it's a universal life-enriching ingredient after all. This one from Wonder Valley is a blend of Leccino, Frantoio, Maurino, Pendolino, Coratino, and Arbequina olives harvested from the groves in Lake County, CA and certified Extra Virgin grade by the California Olive Oil Council. But above all, it's delicious!

If you're going to invest in knives, buy the ones you're actually going to use. So often, we buy a large set and rarely use all of them. This trio keeps things simple.

Crate & Barrel Microplane Master Series Zester

Probably one of the most-used items in my kitchen, the microplane is the perfect tool for adding just the right hint of zest to any meal or cake recipe.

last light linen kitchen towel

Hand crafted from 100% naturally grown linen woven, sewn, and dyed in France at a century-old weaver—what more could you want from a kitchen towel? They're also piece-dyed and washed to achieve that relaxed lived-in feel we all crave.

I designed this oversized bowl in collaboration with Cameron Bishop of Beau Rush Ceramics to bring the notion of ritual and ceremony home. The handcrafted large footed bowl can transition from the kitchen to the tabletop as a functional and decorative piece.

Hand-carved from sustainably sourced domestic maple wood, this butcher block was designed in collaboration with Black Creek Mercantile & Trading Co. and Athena Calderone to be as beautiful as it is functional. Material rich with a non-toxic finish, this piece offers a solid, end-grain sugar maple cutting surface with anti-slip and non-marring rubber feet. Each block bears a natural character that will lend itself to generations of use.

I'm a sucker for texture and these olive wood spoons make me happy every time I use them.

Nera Matte Black Measuring Cups and Spoons

Have you ever seen something so practical look so pretty? I love utilitarian pieces that are stylish too.

Every kitchen needs a cast-iron pan. Period. The Staub one is a classic and will stand the test of time.

Cuisinart 3-Cup Mini-Prep Plus Food Processor

This is the perfect size for whizzing up herbs or pesto in a pinch and it's easy to clean.

I love to play with contrast in design and this concept comes through in my cooking too. So, of course, when choosing kitchen tools, I love to use products in striking colors that contrast with the food I'm creating.

Kyocera Ceramic Peeler

Why not have a peeler that looks good too? This one is ceramic and it's just under $12.

Nordic Ware Naturals Half Sheet

You can never have too many sheets or trays in the kitchen. I am always going through them but this one seems to last longer than most.

Not only do The Wooden Palate team make my bath tray, but they also create these beautiful wooden salt cellars. It looks good on the counter and on the table.

Crate & Barrel Global Essentials Knife Set

If you are starting from scratch and need a more robust knife line-up, then I do recommend this essentials kit that is crafted in Japan using a manufacturing method inherited from the Samurai sword.

Crate & Barrel Aero Black 5-Piece Flatware Place Setting

I love the minimal design of this flatware and have used it in a few of my tablescape designs. It just goes with everything.

Crate & Barrel Scallop Serving Bowl

These simple stoneware bowls have a dual purpose—they can be used for mixing and serving thanks to their beautiful, scalloped, matte finish. Or use them as stylish fruit bowls.

Marin White Large Oval Serving Platter

We love the organic, curved shape of this artisanal ceramic platter. Use it for everything from appetizers at your next dinner party to a cheeseboard for two on the weekend.

RW Guild Rinka Plate by Kaneko Kohyo

One of my favorite plates at the moment! This beautiful plate has that touch of the hand I crave that's perfectly imperfect.

Every kitchen should have a dutch oven and this one is the leader of the pack. The cast-iron material maintains even and consistent heat for slow cooking, braising, and roasting. Plus, its classic design ensures it looks good on the stovetop when it's not being used. Beauty and utility!

CB2 Crisp Matte Black Dinnerware

When I need a classic staple, I always reach for simple, clean dinnerware like this CB2 crisp black set. It's timeless.

Crate & Barrel Helena Dark Natural Linen Dinner Napkin in Dark Natural

You all know my love for texture and linen napkins are my favorite to design with. These are also a great price

Crate & Barrel Mercer Mini Bowls

Despite their glazed appearance, these white bowls have a slightly off, organic shape giving them that artisanal look I love. (Are you seeing a theme here?)

CB2 Marta Optic Glasses

I've been a fan of the micro-thin Marta glasses for a while now so of course, I love their new optical, fluted textured look.

Il Buco Vita Bevagna Deep Oval Serving Platter

This oval serving platter is great for large dinner parties or group feasts and look just as pretty as part of the tablescape as they do on the counter.

John Boos 18

If you need a heavy duty cutting board, look no further. I love the maple color and texture.

French Antique Marble Mortar and Pestle

Once you invest in a mortar you'll never go back. This vintage French style is a classic with its beautiful marble texture that makes it worthy of display too.

CB2 Grind Black Salt & Pepper Grinder

Every kitchen needs a salt and pepper grinder. I love the wood grain on these.

Burke Decor Taper Candles in Petal

I'm constantly asked about my favorite tapered candles. I love the color of these—they play well with any décor and tablescape setting.

Burke Decor Ceramic Taper Holders

I have used these ceramic holders on multiple table designs but don't wait to use them for a special occasion. I put these on the table for family dinners to create an intimate affair when it's just the three of us, too. Elevate your every day.

Mountain Dandy Hand Cast Resin Champagne Bucket

I love this creative spin on a champagne bucket using resin instead of stainless steel.

Williams Sonoma Non Stick Tart Pan

There's nothing like the golden crust that classic fluted pans like this can give a homemade tart. It looks just as good as it tastes.

I've tried so many loaf pans over the years and this one evenly bakes quick bread, sandwich bread, and pound cakes consistently every time. Oh, and it's a BIPOC-owned company that's made in the U.S. of aluminized steel with their custom nonstick, non-toxic ceramic coating. What could be more delicious than that?

You all know my love for The Wooden Palate runs deep. This stylish statement piece brings a sense of refinement to any kitchen. Who said paper towels couldn't look chic never met this beauty.

Mauviel Copper Saucepan, 2-Qt.

You can't go wrong with the Mauviel copper saucepan. It's an investment piece but it will forever.

Staub ® 7-Qt Matte Black Oval Cocotte

Staub strikes again. This cocotte is a game changer. Once you have it in your arsenal, you'll wonder how you ever did without it.

Fellow Stagg EKG Matte White Electric Pour-Over Kettle

I am always asked about the kettle brand I use and this one gives you all the convenience of a modern kettle with a sculptural, old-school look. Just gorgeous!

I love making bundt cake and this platinum nonstick pan made from durable cast aluminum cooks quickly and evenly to ensure beautifully shaped cakes that require no additional decoration.

If you're looking for non-toxic cookware that looks good while it's working hard, try the Caraway set. It's an investment, but so is your health.

KitchenAid Artisan Mini Stand Mixer with Flex Edge Beater, 3-QT

When I am feeling like something sweet, I bake a cake. This KitchenAid saves my arms and makes everything taste better.

Vitamix A3500 Ascent Series Blender, Stainless-Steel

No kitchen is complete without a blender. I love the Vitamix because it blends everything (and quickly, too).

KitchenAid ® Pro Line ® Series 7-Quart Bowl-Lift Cast Iron Black Stand Mixer

Whip it in style with this professional mixer that brings commercial power to the home kitchen. And I'm just swooning over the matte black color!

I love these fun designs from talented ceramicist, Beau Rush. They add a sense of childhood whimsy to any table.

Aarke Matte Black Sparkling Water Carbonator III

Sparkling water never looked so good. We drink a lot of carbonated water in our house so while it's an investment, the savings long term is worth it. Simply twist a bottle on, press lever, release lever, and twist bottle off for delicious sparkling water all day, every day.

cook beautiful

Of course, I couldn't do a kitchen essentials round-up without including my book, Cook Beautiful. Thank you for your support.

Who said clay pots only had one purpose? When I found these on Etsy I knew they'd make the ideal holders for my kitchen utensils—wooden spoons, whisk, ladle, etc. They all go in these stylish vintage clay pots which save them from being strewn across my countertop or overfilling my kitchen drawers.

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