My Favorite Tools and Books

I am like a kid in a candy store when I go into a kitchen store, and there are a lot of unconventional kitchen gadgets that I enjoy.  Here is a list of my favorite gadgets to use and books to reference.

My newest toy, and not just for brewing coffee.  The Vacupot is a great little brewer to have on your table or to serve coffee or tea table side.  There is an alcohol burner at the base that heats the water and creates a vacuum and sends the water into the carafe above where you would have whatever you wanted to brew.  After the vacuum releases, the brewed liquid returns to the base and is ready to serve.  I plan to use it for a few table side appetizer specials in the restaurant after I play with it a little more.  Available at Amazon.

The Smoking Gun from PolyScience is one of my favorite gadgets.  I can produce a nice smoked lettuce salad, or smoked scallops after they have cooked; this gadget can help you make a great table side show.  I have also used this in the dinning room to set a different type of scent in the air, whether it be applewood, hickory, cherry or your favorite smoked wood.  These are available at Williams-Sonoma.

22qt pressure cooker made by Presto, great for stocks and expedited cooking.  I have recently purchased this and have not experimented with it fully, aside from making great stocks and, of course, canning.  Available on Amazon or at Bi-Mart.

Never have a kitchen without one of these, they are so versatile that I use one at least once a day.  Non-stick, heat and cold resistant, these silicone mats are great for and not limited to baking, drying apple chips, or creating sugar pieces.  Amazon carries the silpats as well as many other suppliers.

The Vitamix is an extremely powerful blender the will liquify anything you put into it.  I use one of these everyday and I have one in my home.  It is great for smooth soups blended drinks, making purees, and sauces.  A little spendy but in my opinion well worth it and they can be found on Amazon.

This book provides answers to why food does what it does when cooking.  No school or culinarian should live without this book set.  The Modernist Cuisine is quite expensive and is a 40 pound, five book set, a little cumbersome but well worth it.

I do not go anywhere without this book, this is my go to reference book when it comes to menu writing.  This book will show you the most popular food pairings, but don’t let that stop you from getting creative.  The Flavor Bible is a great buy for any culinarian.

I love the mandolin and use it at least once a day in the restaurant, it will slice vegetables as fast as you can move your hand back and forth, but be cautious they have been known to remove small portions of fingers that get in the way.  You can get them at JB Prince.

By far the coolest pasta extruder and or device related to pasta that I now own.  Expensive but worth the investment if you enjoy making pasta at home.  It comes with two cutting dies that will get you a fat spaghetti type noodle also called bigoli, and another called gargati which is pasta with a hole in the center.  This device can be ordered from Pastabiz.


  1. I just got book 2 of the Modernist series from the library. The pics are awesome and provide a lot of insight and understanding to the processes. I was watching his Google talk and apparently he actually cut pots and all that stuff in half to get those kinds of pictures. Amazing. I also find that Mhyrrvold makes the explanations of the processes very accessible. I mean, there are a few necessary explanations that can’t really be converted to layman’s terms, but for the most part I find it an awesome and very approachable book. I have also found that Ideas In Food is a great read for understanding food additives, such as maltodextrin, gellan, etc.

    This is quite a groovy blog. Good work.

    1. The books are awesome! A lot of great info, I feel sometimes that they miss on the basics of cooking because of all of the new technology, my biggest case is confit products, but otherwise great books to have and make sure to sign up for their blog and get new recipe updates.

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