Our Favourite Chefs Dish on the Gear You Need to Step Up Your Home-Cooking Game

Spend some time watching a master chef at work —  passion, talent, and skill all mixed together in equal measure — and it’s easy to pick up a deeper appreciation for the fine art of food prep. A lot of the time, that translates to us wondering what exactly that crazy slicer tool they keep using is, and why we don’t already own one. To find out more about which cooking essentials (and we do mean essentials) might be missing from our cabinets, we reached out to five food-industry pros from across the country to ask about their most beloved must-haves. And guess what? There’s not an InstaPot in the pack.

“A Mortar and Pestle.”

– Daniel Costa, Corso 32 in Edmonton


“It’s my favourite way to mix together pestos, vinaigrettes, and marinades. Opt for one of the fairly large stone ones so that you can really bash your ingredients and release all of their flavours.”

Our pick: Black granite set by David Mellor

$85, davidmellordesign.com



– Melanie Witt, Savio Volpe in Vancouver


“I picked up my wooden-handled one from the historic Shigeharu Cutlery in Kyoto. I find that triangular shaped ones can scale around the collar with a little more precision than square-headed scalers.”

Our pick: Yamasho brass scaler

$10, amazon.com



— Brandon Olsen, La Banane in Toronto


“I picked up my vintage silver one at an antique store and use it all the time. The important thing is to find one with a wide mouth — that way, it’s ready to scoop up a lot of butter and pour it all over your meat or fish.”

Our pick: Stainless steel spoon by Rösle

$50, amazon.com



– Connie DeSousa, Charcut in Calgary

“There are a lot of great uses for it — it’s so much more than just a cheese grater — so it’s best to invest in a variety of sizes: one for finely grating nutmeg or garlic, and another for making thick curls of chocolate.”

Our pick: Microplane 46020 Premium Zester

$20, amazon.ca


– Renée Lavallée, The Canteen in Dartmouth


“Go with the Japanese brand, Benriner, for slicing potatoes, thinly shaving hard cheeses, and julienning vegetables. Just watch the blade — most of us who use these have cut the tip off a finger at one point or another.”

Our pick: Benriner slicer

$60, amazon.ca