Nancy Silverton Says This $18 Kitchen Item Changed Her Life

The world-famous chef on the kitchen gadgets that are worth it, which aren't, and her favorite cooking-centric gifts to give.

By Lily Rose Apr 29, 2024 10:00 PMTags
SHOP Nancy Silverton $18 Kitchen Item Changed Her Life main imageCourtesy of Hexclad and Nancy Silverton

We interviewed Nancy Silverton because we think you'll like her picks. The products featured in this article are from brands that are available in the NBCUniversal Checkout Marketplace. If you purchase something through our links, we get a commission.

Nancy Silverton is a culinary icon. She's always been a force, from her start as the opening pastry chef at Wolfgang Puck's Spago, to creating the cult-favorite artisan bread-baking La Brea Bakery, to her world-famous restaurants Campanile, Pizzeria Mozza, Osteria Mozza, and chi SPACCA. Silverton is also the author of nine must-read cookbooks. Talk about a culinary legend!

E! got to ask the trailblazing chef our burning questions, including which kitchen gadgets are worth it, how to give a great kitchen gift, and the best way to enjoy mozzarella—Nancy says it's "bufala mozzarella with Spanish anchovies," by the way.

The outstanding chef even told us all about an $18 kitchen item that changed her life.

Silverton is no stranger to life-changing advice. In 2023, the Los Angeles-born chef wrote the cookbook The Cookie That Changed My Life. Now she says there are two kitchen items out there that she finds "life changing." The first being the microplane.  

"What I love about it is that it doesn't plug in. I am not a fan of any kind of kitchen gadget that plugs in, so it's right in my wheelhouse," she explains.

"I love that there are so many configurations now to the holes themselves. So there's a small, medium, and large which all have their places. There are also ribbons and slashes. I probably own six of every single kind of microplane and I'm always looking for a better handle and a better weight to them, but they're all great. I use them for anything from zest, to cheese, to grating garlic. I love it all!" she says.

The Osteria Mozza chef also called out her long-time love of the mortar and pestle, dating all the way back to her culinary school days at Le Cordon Bleu in London.

"It's a porcelain-made mortar and pestle. I love making things in mortar and pestles. I use them for making all my pounded sauces, like pestos and nut-based sauces, to green sauces, to using just the heavy bowl of that mortar with a whisk to make any kind of emulsified dressing or mayonnaise-based dressing," she explains.

The chef says the heavy porcelain mortar is actually more ideal for mixing dressings because lightweight mixing bowls tend to "flop around the counter" if not properly secured. However, Silverton, who is one of HexClad's Chef Ambassadors, did call out the HexClad mixing bowls with rubber on the bottom as a "great" option because they don't tend to move.

Silverton is also a fan of the brand's pizza steel, as well as their cooking pans.

"I was always anti-teflon; I only had them to make scrambled eggs in," she reveals. "What's great about HexClad is that even though it's teflon, it's stainless-steel based, which makes a huge difference for conducting heat. I think that they are really terrific, well-made and have a lifetime guarantee, and that's a huge asset when it comes to pans."

Because Silverton is "not a big fan" of things that plug in, when asked what the most overrated kitchen gadget is, she laughs and says, "the electric can opener. Do they even make those anymore?"

However, there is one plug-in item she finds worth it, and if you're looking for a housewarming gift or even a wedding present for someone you love, this device gets the Nancy Silverton stamp of approval. "I'll make an exception, I do love my KitchenAid mixer," she says.

"When it comes to making doughs and batters, it's very hard to get away without having a proper whisk to whisk egg yolk and things like that. It's a great one to gift."

And if you need more gifting inspo, take Silverton's excellent gift-giving advice: "I find all sorts of things I love and I'll give them out."

She calls out her collection of wooden spoons as "a beautiful gift to give someone."

"I really love flat, heavy-duty wooden spoons, or I call them spatulas. I think that those are great gifts. I've recently found a brand of peelers that are really great. I also really love rolling pins that have the right heft to them."

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