Knives, meat grinders, tweezers. Every chef has a favorite kitchen gadget, and as part of my Dish interviews with many of the Denver chefs who make culinary magic in this city, I asked them about their favorite kitchen tools.
Not surprisingly, knives are sacred (although for several different reasons), and none of our chefs, thank God, admitted to having a love affair with an egg separator. But still, some of their answers (hooks?) may surprise you:
Ian Kleinman The Inventing Room Favorite kitchen tool? Kitchen shank. It makes me feel safe.
Zach Hines OG Burgers Favorite kitchen tool? I don't know if it's considered a tool, but I really like the steam cover for melting cheese: Cover the burger and splash a drop of water down, and it melts the cheese right away. It's always so gooey and drippy in just the perfect way, and I love lifting off the cover and seeing the cheese in its new melty goodness.
Andre Lobato Interstate Kitchen + Bar Favorite kitchen tool? Japanese mandoline. I'm sure every other guy will say his knife, but a knife wound to the finger will never match the grotesqueness of what the mandoline is capable of doing.
Scott Bermingham Snooze Favorite kitchen tool? My knives are essential and indispensable kitchen tools; they're an extension of my hand.
Brad Arguello Uber Sausage Favorite kitchen tool? A shaker tin to make a nice, stiff drink after the work is all done.
Pete List Beatrice & Woodsley Favorite kitchen tool? My meat grinder. I love grinding stuff. We make all of our fresh sausage in-house, and making a good sausage is one of my favorite things to do.
Jeff Osaka Twelve Favorite kitchen tool? I have a few fancy gadgets, including water circulators and a Cryovac machine, but my favorite tool is always my chef knife. It cut me a couple weeks ago because I wasn't paying attention to it. The cut is slowly healing.
Larry Stephen Manna From Heaven Favorite kitchen tool? Hands down, the griddle. We can make tons of pancakes on it, grill meat, sauté vegetables, steam dumplings, fry rice and even use it to warm up soup ― it's really that versatile. We could probably make 80 percent of our dishes using the griddle alone. And the best part is that we don't have a lot of dishes to wash after making a meal.
Sergio Romero La Grand Bistro Favorite kitchen tool: I use giant tweezers instead of tongs when I'm working the line. The allow me to manipulate proteins or a simple piece of frisée lettuce with equal precision.
Jorel Pierce Euclid Hall Favorite kitchen tool? Hooks. It's good to have them around...just in case.
Jim Pittenger Biker Jim's Favorite kitchen tool? Our deep fryer, because, really, is there anything you can't put in the deep fryer? Yes, says my chef, but I don't listen.
Mike Levine Mikes2 Kitchen Favorite kitchen tool? Other than the four wheels on which we roll around, our Cuisinart hand-held stick blender is imperative to making our salsas, aiolis, marinades, soups and sauces. It's quick and easy to use -- and even easier to clean.
Nathan Miller Tasterie Truck Favorite kitchen tool? Scissors. You can open, trim and snip just about anything, from dough to paper to plastic. If I lost my scissors, I'd feel like I showed up to work in just my underwear. Seems like a bad dream to me.
Frank Bonanno Bones, Lou's Food Bar, Luca D'talia, Mizuna, Osteria Marco, Green Russell, Russell's Smokehouse Favorite kitchen tool? Right now, it's my cavatelli machine. All you have to do is get the dough right, and the shape is perfect, and fast, every time.
Check back here tomorrow for the second round of kitchen tool must-haves.