Kitchen Essentials for Home Cooks and Food Lovers

Kitchen gadgets and accessories are usually high on the list of most wedding gift registries, but they’re especially in demand these days as couples spend more time preparing meals at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

We asked four experienced chefs across the country to share some of their go-to wedding gifts. Here’s a sampling.

Ms. Yeh is the host of the Food Network series “Girl Meets Farm.” She is a Juilliard-trained percussionist and the author of the cookbooks “Molly on the Range” and “Yogurt.”

Vitamix 5200; $449.95

Mr. Torres, a.k.a. Mr. Chocolate, is the founder of Jacques Torres Chocolate, which has seven retail locations in New York. He was the star of the PBS series “Dessert Circus with Jacques Torres,” the host of the Food Network series “Chocolate with Jacques Torres,” and an author of “Dessert Circus.” Most recently, he was the head judge on the Netflix baking competition, “Nailed It!”

Ms. Adams is the founder and author of the cookbook “Grandbaby Cakes,” which offers her grandmother’s generational recipes with a modern spin. She is a cast member of the Cooking Channel’s “Unique Sweets,” and is part of the Today Tastemakers on the “Today Show.”

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Amazon Discounted Kitchen Essentials from Le Creuset, Cuisinart, and Calphalon in Honor of Prime Day

Courtesy of Amazon

Because many of us are spending more time at home due to the global pandemic, we’ve all had extra time to experiment with new recipes. And as we approach the holiday season, there’s a good chance we’ll all be spending even more time in the kitchen. That means that there’s no better time than right now to stock up on new gadgets to help make all that cooking and baking even easier. After all, Amazon Prime Day is your best opportunity to invest in top-of-the-line products—so many excellent kitchen essentials are currently available at shockingly low prices.

Prime Day officially started today at midnight and runs until tomorrow at 11:59 p.m. PT. Within the 48-hour time period, Amazon Prime members can shop over one million deals on just about every category on the site. If you’d like to get in on the fun (think exclusive deals and free two-day shipping) without fully committing to a membership ($119 a year), you can sign up for a free 30-day trial.

Whether you want to upgrade your cookware or plan to try frying your Thanksgiving turkey this year, we’ve shuffled through the thousands of Prime Day deals to find which kitchen items are worth adding to your cart.

Related: 10 of the Best Amazon Prime Day Deals to Shop Right Now

Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Rectangular Griddle

This cast iron griddle requires no seasoning because of its enameled coating (which also evenly distributes and retains heat). Not limited to just pancakes and eggs, it can be used to sear steaks, bake desserts, and cook vegetables. What’s more, it comes in several vibrant colors great for holiday gift exchanges.

Shop Now: Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Griddle, from $89.99,

Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven with Convection Cooking

With temperatures ranging from 150 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this toaster oven can be used to cook and bake most anything you would prepare in a regular oven. It offers enough space to bake a 12-inch pizza, cook four pounds of chicken, and toast six slices of bread.

Shop Now: Toshiba Digital Toaster Oven, from $58.49,

Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven

This best-selling Dutch oven is extremely versatile, allowing you to cook both on the stovetop and in the oven. You can broil, braise, bake, fry, and roast all your favorite recipes inside this Dutch oven, then bring the entire dish straight to the table.

Shop Now: Lodge Enameled Dutch Oven, from $49.99,

Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick 8-Piece Cookware Set

If you’re due for a new cookware set, look no further than this superior collection. Complete with two fry pans, a saucepan with cover, a stockpot with cover, and a deep skillet with cover, this eight-piece set has everything you need to whip up a delicious meal. Plus, each piece is made with a three-layer nonstick interior, is oven-safe up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, and can be cleaned in the dishwasher.

Shop Now: Calphalon Premier Hard-Anodized Nonstick

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Prime Day Kitchen Essentials Deal: Save Up to 43%

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Pamela Shamshiri’s 7 Kitchen Design Essentials

Great barstools

When it comes to kitchen stools, it’s important to get it right. Shamshiri swears by the popular BassamFellows Tractor bar stools. The Square Guest stool by BDDW is another favorite. “This has become our new go-to stool because the legs don’t splay out,” she says. “Kids have an easier time with this one. It’s very indestructible and it’s more comfortable than it looks.”

Statement tile

Throughout Studio Shamshiri’s kitchens, you’ll see tile being used over and over again, in numerous forms, colors, and applications. In a Manhattan loft, BDDW tiles add a handcrafted touch. Shamshiri is also a big fan of zellige tile—“it’s one of the oldest processes as far as making tiles,” she explains. “There’s something appetizing and yummy about that.” 

Floors are another opportunity to create a striking tile moment. One project shows a black terra-cotta tile floor, while another features reclaimed cement tile in a white-and-yellow checkerboard pattern. Both materials were purchased from Exquisite Surfaces.

The appliances here are concealed behind walnut surfaces.

Photo: Stephen Kent Johnson

Hardworking, integrated appliances

When it comes to appliances, Shamshiri has a handful of go-to tricks. One is integrating appliances to match the look of the surrounding cabinets. “If we want an industrial element, we embrace the stainless,” she says. “But normally we like things warm—most of the time we’re integrating.” When the firm does so, it tends to use Miele appliances, “because of the way they do their ventilation—it’s at the back and not at the top or bottom, so you can really achieve the seamless look,” she explains.

Another appliance feature she sees coming up more and more: steam ovens, or combination convection and steam ovens. Her favorite sources are Miele for the former and Thermador for the latter. “That is a welcome introduction to our kitchens, and I think it’s great—anything cooking with water seems to be healthier and a great advancement,” she says. Finally, Shamshiri explains that fridges designed specially for growing herbs and keeping them fresh are something that many clients are requesting these days.

Painted cabinets

A colorful cabinet look is Shamshiri’s signature. “The trend right now is painted kitchens,” she says. “We get a lot of people asking for Plain English kitchens.” Whether painted in a dusty yellow, a matte black, or a pale blue hue, the cabinets pop up over and over again in Shamshiri’s portfolio.


Last but not least, Shamshiri loves a good skirt. The feature is not just decorative; it has the added benefit of hiding unsightly items under a sink. “That skirt hides a lot of things going on back there,” she says of the one installed in her studio’s kitchen, which was cut from a piece of textile lying around the office. Luckily, skirts are very on-trend too.

BDDW bar stools appear in a midcentury-modern residence.

Photo: Yoshihiro Makino

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Ends tonight! Save up to 80 percent on kitchen essentials at Wayfair

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Your kitchen will look straight out of a magazine. (Photo: Wayfair)
Your kitchen will look straight out of a magazine. (Photo: Wayfair)

As the days get colder, we’re all going to be transitioning back to spending more time at home. While that’s great for finally catching up on your reading list and Netflix queue, it’s also a moment to lean into all those hobbies you discovered this year. The sourdough starters in your kitchen are ready and waiting, and wouldn’t an upgrade to your kitchen inspire you to get back in there?

Wayfair is here to help. The home decor retailer is slashing prices by up to 80 percent on thousands of items, including kitchen accessories — so once you’re done giving your home a proper update, you can treat yourself to a stunning new Le Creuset. But don’t delay—the deals end tonight!

Check out our top kitchen finds from the sale below.

This rust-resistant set comes with a full set of micro-serrated knives. (Photo: Wayfair)
This rust-resistant set comes with a full set of micro-serrated knives. (Photo: Wayfair)

Whether you’re a home chef or only cook when forced to, this set has all the knives you’ll ever need. It includes 3-inch and 4-inch parers, a 5-inch serrated utility, a 5-inch HE Santoku, an 8-inch bread knife for making quick work of the loaves you’ve been whipping up, an 8-inch chef knife, six 4.5-inch steak knives, kitchen shears and a 13-slot hardwood block to house them all.

Shop it: Henckels Silvercap Micro Serrated 14-Piece Knife Block Set, $100 (was $280),

Give your favorite recipes a healthy upgrade. (Photo: Wayfair)
Give your favorite recipes a healthy upgrade. (Photo: Wayfair)

So you’d like to ease up on the fried food habit? Here’s the solution and nearly 1,000 reviewers vouch for it. This elegant little air fryer will look great on your countertop and help make your favorite tasty recipes healthier — you’ll be shocked by how much less you’re using your oven once you put it to work.

Shop it: Cuisinart AirFryer, $100 (was $185),

Every chef needs a cast iron skillet in their arsenal. (Photo: Wayfair)
Every chef needs a cast iron skillet in their arsenal. (Photo: Wayfair)

Professional chefs and home cooks alike know the importance of a good cast iron pan. You can cook just about anything in it, but it’s especially great for meat. This version comes pre-cured, with ergonomic handles (these pans can be heavy!) and in multiple sizes.

Shop it: Starcraft Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Non-Stick Skillet, $22 (was $50),

Vitamix Explorian Series E310 Blender (Photo: Wayfair)
Vitamix Explorian Series E310 Blender (Photo: Wayfair)

This next-level blender is so iconic, it’s become a household name among health-conscious consumers—or just anyone who uses a blender often enough to want one of the best brands on the market. This baby comes with a jumbo 48-ounce container to whip up as much goodness as possible, whether it’s for blending in bulk, mixing for an entire family or tackling an extensive party menu. Consider this powerhouse your sous chef.

Shop it: Vitamix Explorian Series

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Small quarters means more attention to kitchen essentials

We’ve been gearing up for our fall RV trip and for the resident cook that means getting the kitchen dialed in.

Take it away, Chef Leslie!

One of the biggest shocks about downsizing from a full kitchen to a tiny setup was the large number of tools I had to leave on the shelf back at home. I thought I couldn’t live without them.

Guess what? I’ve adapted. Less isn’t exactly more, but it’s just fine to streamline what’s in the single cupboard and the lone drawer where the cooking essentials live. These are the tools I can’t do without in our RV.

Cast iron skillet: I’ve worn out plenty of non-stick pots and pans over the years, both cheap and spendy, but when it comes to durability, nothing tops my trusty cast iron skillet. This MVP sears salmon fillets and braises chicken in wine. It’s key in creating fluffy pancakes and eggs fried sunny-side up, crispy around the edges. I’ve even baked cakes in it. Our special bond goes back more than 25 years when I found it at a second-hand shop on the Oregon Coast. Ah, sweet memories.

Staying sharp: There’s a butcher block filled with knives back in my full kitchen, but the go-to slice-and-dicer is an eight-inch chef’s knife, followed by a paring knife. Those are no good, though, unless they’re sharp. Enter the amazing Wüsthof hand-held sharpener. It’s a bit bulky, so it’s tucked under the couch until it’s needed. I take a couple of passes with a dull knife through this affordable gizmo and I’m back in action.

More than a peeler: Speaking of sharp, my trusty vegetable peeler has been drafted into duty far beyond scraping carrots clean. I put it to good use making zoodles, ribbons of veggies like summer squash standing in for noodles. When it shaves Parmesan over a Caesar salad and turns citrus peels into flavor-packed zest, that peeler is almost like a hand-held food processor.

Magnifique coffee press: Someone in our traveling twosome cannot function without the morning caffeine kickstarter, so we invested in a top-notch coffee maker. The Espro P7 has two built-in microfilters to create a smooth cuppa. The double-sided stainless carafe helps keep it hot until that certain somebody’s eyes are wide open and his adventuring spirit wonders: “What trail do you want to explore today?”

Electric kettle: Ever since a long-ago trip to England, we’ve been fans of heating water in a kettle that’s plugged in. Don’t forget to occasionally descale the kettle with a vinegar solution, especially after staying in a place with hard water.

It’s the champ: Absolutely couldn’t be happier than when cooking outdoors on the excellent George Foreman Smokeless Grill. Yes, I love the flavor imparted by charcoal and wood chips, but this grill offers the ability to control the heat. I’ve made neighbors jealous frying bacon, burgers and chops, the savory fragrance perfuming the air. It also puts a pretty char on veggies and has even been pressed into

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